Spiritual Letter to A Young Doctor:
For Medical Students, Interns, Residents, Fellows, and Junior Faculty
Matthew 28:18 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me..."
As you go on throughout your stages of training, there will often be challenges and moments of self-doubt.
For everyone, it is at some stages more than others.
If you're a medical student who was out of medicine or academia for a while, you might feel like an imposter. You may have 'imposter syndrome'. Yes, that's actually what it's called. That feeling you have every time your colleagues mention something that you feel like you've never learned. Yes, that feeling of not even striving for honors, just striving to BE. A. MEDICAL STUDENT. AT ALL. Yes, that's normal, but nobody talks about it.
Just accept you know relatively nothing, and that it's ok. Commit to an answer, even if it's wrong. Nobody truly deep down expects you to know much of anything. There's a lot to learn.
If you are an intern, you're probably excited that now you get a pager, and you get to know almost EVERYTHING going on with the patient. Enjoy that feeling while it lasts. Remember that feeling when it seems that everything is out of your control and nothing seems to be going right.
For you too, just accept you know nothing, and that it's ok. Commit to an answer, even if it's wrong. Nobody truly deep down expects you to know anything. Especially in your first few months. During those first few months, everything is the senior resident's fault anyway. A good senior resident will have your back.
If you're the senior resident and something got missed, that's ok too. It happens to all of us. That's why there are the faculty attending and the pharmacist, and everyone else on the team to look out for you. Just keep pressing on. The team will be there for you.
If you're junior faculty, you're probably trepidated that now the buck stops with you. Well, does it? You have an entire institution of people who've got your back.
You too, just accept you don't know really everything, and that it's ok. Commit to your decision, even if it feels shaky. Call a colleague, and get their opinion. Nobody truly deep down expects you to know everything. There's still learning and growing to do.
No matter in what stage you find yourself, it's ok to cry. It's ok to want to give up. It's ok to not want to go back. Just cry it out. Talk it out. Pray it out. Remember who called you to it, and go back anyway.
Yes, that's all normal, but nobody talks about it.
Don't be the person that doesn't talk about it. Let a current student, intern, resident, fellow, and/or faculty colleague know. Give a rising trainee or faculty member a heads-up. They will appreciate it.
Now, you might want to grab your Bible for the next section.
Let each person you come across know that you have found that how you trust the Lord determines how you get through.
How you trust in Him is so beautiful, and should be what you fall back on always, as He is your rock, your redeemer, and your shield. When those moments come, and they will, remember... How you trust Him enough to believe the big vision He has for your life in the first place. How you trust Him enough to believe that you shouldn't give up. How you trust Him enough to climb the mountain for you and take you along with Him. How you trust Him enough to choose the right programs for you. How you trust Him enough to bring you through. It doesn't matter how big or how grand the vision or passion is. There is only one reason you can achieve it. That reason is found in Matthew 28:18. That's most of all the important reason. Then there's Matthew 28:19-20, Jer 29:11-13, Psalm 139:1-18, and Ephesians 6:11-20.
When those moments of self-doubt and inadequacy come, recognize that what's happening is found in Ephesians 6:11.
Hold 1 John 4:4 close in your heart. 😘🤗💖👏🏾🙏🏼☝🏽🎉🏩💒
Dr. Brown published a portion of this in the Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) Student and Resident and Fellow Newsletters in 2017.