My struggles with imposter syndrome

I’m experiencing imposter syndrome while writing a post about imposter syndrome.

It’s scary to be real and vulnerable, but I know I am not alone in this. Soooo here it goes. My thoughts about writing this post about imposter syndrome as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner: People are going to think I’m a fraud. NPs are going to judge me for not having it all together. Who am I to help other NPs with burnout? Am I capable of making a difference in APRNs lives? I am not good enough to be writing this post. I am silencing these thoughts by writing this post anyways.

I have struggled with imposter syndrome. Like really struggled. When I first started my career in nursing the fear and insecurities were crippling. I second guessed every single clinical decision. I excessively looked up and pestered my charge nurse with questions I already knew the answer to. I spent so much time and effort stressing out about my limitations and negative beliefs, it ultimately led to my burnout. It has taken me a lot of personal development work to learn how to control the imposter syndrome. And as you can see, it has never 100% gone away. I still have these limiting beliefs from time to time but am able to manage the fear and insecurities. If you have ever had similar thoughts, it’s likely you’ve struggled with imposter syndrome.

What is imposter syndrome?

  • Limiting and negative beliefs that hold us back from living out our true potential
  • Second guessing our clinical decisions and lacking the confidence needed to practice as a nurse practitioner
  • Inability to accept a compliment or take credit for our successes
  • Feeling like a fraud or imposter and fearing someone will figure you out
  • Feeling like you’re not good enough and everyone is smarter than you

Here are three tips I have used to control these negative thoughts.

1. I do it for other people. When I contemplated creating The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner, I held myself back because of fear. What would people think about me? What if no one reads my blog posts? What if I fail at this? What if………

One of the factors that gave me the push to keep going is for the nurse practitioner who is struggling right now. For the APRN who is so burned-out they are ready to leave healthcare. For the NP that is physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted. Someone out there needs to hear what I have to say. I can make a difference in someone’s life. If you struggle with feeling confident as a nurse practitioner, think about your patients. Continue to show up in a positive way because your patients need you! Taking the pressure off myself and doing the work for other people has really helped me control the imposter syndrome.

2. Knowing I grow from challenges. Tough times are part of life. Hard times are inevitable. Once I realized that difficult situations and experiences help me grow as a person, it was easier to get through the challenges. Nobody likes to struggle because it’s hard. But we have done hard things in the past. We graduated nursing school and passed our boards. We got accepted into NP school, somehow made it through the clinicals and course work, passed the certification exam, and got licensed as an APRN. Looking back, I am now aware of the growth throughout my career in healthcare. I am able to control the imposter syndrome because I survived the tough times. I realize that I am capable of caring for patients because I have met the necessary requirements. I have embraced the uphill climb and grown from the struggles. The more experience we have getting through the challenges, the easier it is to keep going. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

2. Create an awesome list. When I was really struggling with imposter syndrome, especially starting out as a new grad NP, I created an awesome list. I wrote down everything I have accomplished and made me feel proud. My awesome list includes graduating with a MSN while raising 2 young kids, paying off my student loan debt, and finishing a full marathon. I also have work related accomplishments like the time I got a heartfelt thank you from a patient’s spouse, or the time I received a compliment from my colleague, or the time I diagnosed an aortic dissection and saved the patient’s life. Anytime I start to feel insecure or unworthy of practicing as a NP, or being a human being for that matter, I look at my awesome list. Give it a try and review the awesome list whenever needed!

I hope you can work towards managing the imposter syndrome. As you can see, it is not an easy or perfect process. But, it can be done!

I created Control the Imposter Syndrome to teach other NPs how I have been able to manage the negative thoughts and insecurities. I want to share my story with anyone who needs to hear it! Check out Control the Imposter Syndrome for more information. Currently offering this online course for only $27! Don’t wait to get your life back!

 

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, conquer burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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erica@burnedoutnp.com

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