Even after four years of medical school, I feel like I know very little.
And I've forgotten at least half of what I used to know.
That's what residency is for. To re-establish and build up the knowledge base that eventually will become second nature.
But everyday, I feel overwhelmed. I feel that I just don't know enough. I'm not always sure how to approach a patient's problem.
It probably doesn't help that this under current of anxiety is coupled to my personality. I'm not a very outgoing person. When I'm with a group of people and someone else is willing to lead (or even dominate) the conversation, I'm more than willing to let them. I'm not a person who will chime in with a thought or opinion. (Note: this is referring to public settings, not interactions with my family, since in those cases I'm more than willing to blurt out my opinion at any time.)
I'm worried that this combination often comes across as a lack in confidence.
I watch my fellow residents (and as much as I hate to admit it, the medical students working with me.)
Everyone acts so much more confident than I feel. So much more sure to make suggestions or even act on decisions.
However, I know for a fact that most of them do not know more than I do.
When we undergo "pimping" sessions, I am able to answer more questions than most. (For the lay person, to "pimp" has no sexual connotation in the medical field. It refers to attendings or senior residents asking questions with the sole purpose to show a junior resident's or medical student's weaknesses in their medical knowledge. It is a very unpleasant experience.)
I did extremely well in medical school and received very high board scores. I spend a lot of time studying.
So, by my calculations, I know at least as much as most the people around me.
So why does everyone else appear so much more confident? Even the medical student who can't come up with a decent differential diagnosis?
They're faking it.