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Survey Shows Quarter of Doctors Struggles with “Imposter Phenomenon”

If you are a physician who is feeling as though your accomplishments are inadequate and your successes are undeserved or due to chance rather than personal effort, skill, ability and competence, you are not alone.

It’s called the “imposter phenomenon” and research shows physicians are more likely to experience it than other professionals. In fact, nearly one in four physicians report frequent or intense experiences with it, according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Perhaps more importantly, the study found that the imposter phenomenon in physicians is associated with higher odds of both burnout and suicidal ideation. Physicians experiencing imposter phenomenon also have increased odds of lower professional fulfillment.

The study authors called for system-level efforts in the medical profession, health care organizations and individual physicians to address the professional norms and characteristics of organizational culture that contribute to the imposter phenomenon.

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