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Challenging Cases And Self-Doubt

It’s only Tuesday, and I’ve already seen several challenging cases this week. So much so, that I can’t sleep. I keep reviewing salient details and email communications in my head, worrying over what I may have missed, or how I may have come across. Did I screw up? Is this patient going to be okay? Does the specialist think I’m a dumbass? 

I’m far, far more secure in my clinical skills now than I was five years ago, but these nights still happen, when I give up on sleep and wander down to the kitchen for glass of warm milk with honey. Writing always helps to calm my spastically distracted thought process.

I know that this professional insecurity is commonplace, and that I am not alone. Somewhere right now, there are other clinicians fretting: the radiologist mentally reviews images that maybe do represent cancer; the psychiatrist rewinds the conversation that maybe will lead to an emotional unraveling; the surgeon flashes back to the operation that maybe will not solve the problem.

I’m tempted, now, to log into the electronic records and delve again into the clinical details, but I know that’s not healthy. Not at 1 a.m. when I’m exhausted. Better to sleep on it, and revisit things with the freshness of morning and a rested mind.

And so, feeling better, I sign off.

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3 replies »

  1. thanks for modeling vulnerability AND self-care in one brief post!
    it’s okay to doubt ourselves. and when we do, we should drink warm milk and honey and practice our own form of self-care (for you, as for me, as for Victo Dolore–writing) then go back to bed!
    i hope the morning brings clarity on the case–or the weeks and months ahead.

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