Friday, 15 August 2008

A crisis of confidence


I’m having a bit of a crisis of confidence at the moment. It’s just over a week since I changed jobs and it’s becoming blatantly obvious that all the other ST2 and CT2 anaesthetists here (i.e. those employed at the same level as me) are actually much better than me. They’ve all done lots of anaesthetics in various foreign countries before coming to work here and thus, they’re all much more experienced than I am. They’re happy to do neuro-axial anaesthesia, paediatrics and central lines completely unsupervised and I feel I’m quite a way off that stage yet.

I know that it’s not a fair playing field and that, despite being employed at the same level, they’re far more experienced than me… but I can’t shake the nagging feeling that I am currently way behind “the competition.”

The fact that it’s dawning on me what a colossal task I’m facing when I sit my exam in October isn’t helping. Perhaps it’s because I’ve just come off a long shift and am feeling a bit tired and emotional, but – right now, my confidence is lower than it’s been in months.

8 comments:

Flossy said...

Are they really that experienced or are you just more honest?

madsadgirl said...

We all have to start somewhere. You are aware of your limitations and know when you need assistance. And, perhaps more importantly, you are willing to learn and to commit yourself to a steep learning curve as you showed by passing your Part 1 early and at the first attempt. It obvious from the things that you write in your posts that you love what you are doing, so just believe in yourself and I'm sure that you will prevail.

Oliver Smith said...

As you have said they are much more experienced than you. If you want to know where you are then you've got to compare yourself to someone of a similar age who has done similar things in the past. What you're trying to do is compare apples and oranges: it doesn't work!

delta dawn said...

stop looking at the competition! focus on yourself -- what you've achieved so far, the knowledge you've worked so hard for, your abilities, and only then have a rational and pragmatic look at what you need to work on WITHOUT thinking "so-and-so can do such-and-such already & i can't, panic panic!"

as madsadgirl said, you are aware of your limitations and know when you need help and that is a very important thing, better to ask for help than to go in overconfident.

so what if they're more experienced? you've worked damned hard to get where you are so don't belittle yourself.

Anonymous said...

Unless I've misunderstood the position you're in totally, they were always going to have more experience than you so naturally they have more (confidence in their) skills. Flip side of this is, by the time you've got their experience, odds are you'll be as good or better.

Jo said...

{hugs} Don't think of it as a 'competition' - you are all on the same team! You have done so much in a year, and you will go from strength to strength in the coming months :-)

Dr Michael Anderson said...

Thank you all for your kind words and advice. Since I wrote that post I've caught up on my sleep and am feeling much better about things now. Sometimes i think I just need to get over myself!

Anonymous said...

As an ITU nurse, I can assure you that many of these 'confident', scalpel and tube wielding types cause us great concern when they fail to realise the limits of their own competence. Not wishing to rise above ourselves - nurses have the luxury of watching complex procedures undertaken by the bedside all the time - with enough understanding of the procedure to assist where necessary - but also over time enough experience to tell when something is not going well.

A few gentle hints, like 'shall I see where the consultant is, in case we need him?', get greeted with a determination to carry on regsrdless - proving a point? - who knows - but difficult and tense atmospheres persist. These are the ones who will get noticed by the senior nurse, who will have no qualms telling the consultant exactly what they think!!

Knowing your limits, having a desire to improve and not being afraid or too proud to ask from help, is a huge reassurance to all that have to work within the team.

Good luck...