Anyone else ever struggle with confidence?

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7 years 5 months ago #32663 by Surgres15
This is hard for me to talk about, but I am midway through - and I am feeling incompetent and surgically unskilled compared to my class. I have never been in trouble or written up, never missed a major diagnosis, get along quite well with all my coresidents, and I do my best to be conscientious and honest and cautious at all times. But I still have doubts about my abilities. I sought feedback from a few attendings, and they all said that I am a bit behind compared to my coresidents, but that they are not worried about me because I have insight into the fact that I am deficient in some areas, and that they feel I will eventually turn into a good chief. They also said it is not a question of me being hardworking, and that I have a very strong work ethic. While comforting, it has done little to alleviate my doubts and worries - as I want to get better ASAP, both to provide the highest quality of patient care, to alleviate my own stress level, and so that I am well respected around residency. Eventually, my goal is to end up the kind of surgeon I would take my parents to. I feel like my coresidents are gradually getting there and I am not. And to be brutally honest, on occasion I even feel dumber than the juniors.


There are lots of stories on the internet about people going through this intern year. But I was wondering if
a) anyone has gone through this so late in residency, and if they were able to develop their confidence and skills by the time chief year rolled around. My motivation is definitely present to work even harder than I have been - but I want to know if it is even possible by hearing about people who have successfully developed their confidence later in residency.
b) was wondering how people not only developed their confidence, but also let it show outwardly so others (including attendings and chiefs) had confidence in them as well. Is there a point in residency where one's "image" is is so far gone that it's hard to redeem? I feel grateful that I have the reputation of being hardworking, but I also want to have the reputation of being solid.

My doubts about my abilities are coming from four main places:
1. Other co-residents seem to have the confidence to take a basic surgical case now skin to skin. I do with some cases, but not nearly with the number of cases my coresidents do. I definitely feel better when a chief is around. At this point, I feel like I should gradually be transitioning to independence, as opposed to always looking to chiefs for guidance. I have a very good relationship with my chiefs, but they have said (not to my face, but I heard from others) I am not great in the OR and that I appear lost sometimes. I do not at all blame them for saying this; I just want to use it to get better.
I usually spend at least an hour or two a night reading for cases the next day. One thing I have noticed is that when I do get an answer wrong or reach for the wrong tool in surgery, I get flustered a little thinking the attending thinks I'm stupid, and that makes me even more flustered. It's like a vicious cycle and I really want to beat it. In half jest, sometimes I feel like a beta blocker before surgery might be a good policy for me in addition to the patient.
2. At grand rounds I seem to be wrong when I get pimped a lot more often than my coresidents. Or, I may have the right answer but it is not at the tip of my tongue. When the correct answer is said, 80 percent of the time I do understand and remember the answer instantly and feel stupid for not being able to articulate it myself. But this concerns me for when it comes time for oral boards.
3. The feedback from attendings I discussed above. Their words are comforting, but I guess I worry about myself. I worry about being a chief and not knowing what to do. Even now, sometimes I am very tentative when I have to teach a med student or a junior. Teaching is an enormous responsibility, and I want to do it right.


Thank you in advance for your
time and feedback. It is genuinely appreciated, even the brutally honest feedback. If you don't feel comfortable posting here PMs would be welcomed too.

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7 years 4 months ago #32710 by KPMegaMan
You are in. Just own it now. The are many people who would love to be in your position. I know from experience and have seen people humiliated and bullied out of residency programs because of others dislike. Keep up the good faith and dont let thirst for knowledge waiver. Enjoy the journey. Because the grass is brown in many others situations. Message me and I can tell you of the US Army's scandal.

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7 years 4 months ago #32749 by RisenStar88
check your PMs

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