Dr. Tom Colletti
Approximately one out of three individuals in the medical field suffer from imposter phenomenon (IP). Individuals with IP are driven to perform out of fear of being discovered to have a lower ability than their peers. These individuals also tend to have distorted fears of failure. While IP is not found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is associated with increased stress on the individual. It is also associated with an increased propensity for depression and anxiety. The Physician Assistant (PA) profession sees similar rates of IP. It occurs both in the professional stages of PAs and during both the clinical and didactic years of PA education. It has also been found to be more common in younger professionals than the more experienced, thus putting early career PAs at more risk. Solutions for combating IP are limited in the literature but can include mindfulness techniques, discussing thoughts and feelings with trusted colleagues, and choosing supportive work environments.
Lewia SD. Impostor Phenomenon and the Physician Assistant. University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository. 2020; 2(3).
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