Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in the Healthcare Industry

There are 20 million people employed in the healthcare industry. It’s one of the most fast-paced, competitive, highly-skilled industries out there. So, good for you if you’re a part of it. Many healthcare employees would agree that getting to where they are wasn’t easy.

This is especially true for those that struggled with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is when people feel like they aren’t as skilled as other people think, and that’ll soon be exposed.

This is common among healthcare workers because it’s such a tough industry to break into and excel in. But if imposter syndrome wins, it will present challenges for your career. So, here’s how to ensure that it doesn’t.

Develop Strong Relationships With Coworkers and Leadership

The thing about imposter syndrome is it’s all in your head. In other words, imposter syndrome persists because of what you’re telling yourself. If you can surround yourself with supportive coworkers and managers, they can help you fight that negative self-talk and reinforce what’s true about your talent, belonging, and skillset.

You can develop genuine relationships with coworkers and leadership by:

      • Not gossiping
      • Participating in facility events
      • Sitting with different people at lunch
      • Volunteering with your team
      • Showing empathy and gratitude
      • Socializing and making time for your coworkers
      • Taking advantage of one-on-one time with your managers

Work on Your Relationship With Yourself

Working on your relationship with yourself is critical for overcoming imposter syndrome. The more you love, respect, and appreciate yourself, the less likely it is for imposter syndrome to set up a home in your head.

Focus on developing authentic self-esteem rather than false self-esteem. With false self-esteem, the beliefs that support that self-esteem aren’t real. On the other hand, authentic self-esteem is when you genuinely feel good about who you really are and your accomplishments.

You can bolster your authentic self-esteem by:

      • Facing fears
      • Practicing positive self-talk
      • Creating a self-care routine
      • Managing your holistic health
      • Developing healthy relationships
      • Not comparing yourself to others
      • Setting realistic expectations and goals
      • Working on personal and professional development

Dig Into Mental Health Care

It will be difficult to overcome imposter syndrome if your mental health isn’t stable. You cannot fend off intrusive imposter syndrome thoughts and behaviors if your mind isn’t clear and positive.

It’ll also be hard to manage the high-stress healthcare environment. Jobs in healthcare are the second most stressfulafter those in arts, entertainment, and recreation. You can navigate stress and imposter syndrome by prioritizing mental health care.

Do mental health check-ins regularly. Ask yourself how you’re doing emotionally and mentally, and be honest in your analysis. Once you know where you are, you can create a clear direction for moving forward, whether through therapy, counseling, time off, more socialization, or another form of care for your mental health.

Grow Your Skillset

You can quiet your imposter syndrome by growing your skillset. Learning new skills, applying them to your work, and seeing the results can boost your confidence. It’ll also further convince you that your talent is real and your healthcare career isn’t a fluke.

Take advantage of professional development opportunities at your facility. Learn from your coworkers and managers. In addition, consider traditional education to advance your skillset in the medical field.

Do What You Thought You Couldn’t

One of the best ways to prove to yourself that you are who you say you are is to do what you thought you couldn’t. In other words, face some fears and try some new things. There are a lot of opportunities to do this in your healthcare facility.

For example, you could speak up in team meetings. You could give your coworkers or managers a hand with something that isn’t in your usual work duties. Leading a volunteer project is a great idea. Or you could ask your manager for more responsibility to really see what you can do.

Learn the Back Stories of Those You Look Up to

Everyone has someone they admire, whether a celebrity, parent, manager, coworker, friend, or someone else. But, as wonderful as their lives look now and as talented as these people might be, it probably wasn’t smooth sailing getting there.

They, too, had internal struggles like imposter syndrome and external circumstances that made the journey to success difficult. Sound familiar? You may be going through what those you look up to went through.

Understanding the backstories of your mentors and others you look up to may give you some comfort in your fight against imposter syndrome. If they overcame it, then so can you.

Fight Negativity With Everything In You

Imposter syndrome is tough enough to deal with on its own. Don’t crowd yourself with other negative forces and make things even more challenging. Instead, fight negativity with everything in you.

For example, any time a negative thought pattern comes up, counter it with a positive mantra. If a coworker is constantly gossiping and causing drama with others in the workplace, distance yourself from them. When someone tries to project their fears onto you, don’t absorb them.

Surround yourself with positive coworkers, managers, friends, and loved ones. Feed yourself positive talk and experiences. Do everything you can to uplift yourself in every situation.


Working in the healthcare industry is no joke. But don’t let the fast pace, competition, and demand scare you into feeling like you don’t belong there. You do. Be sure imposter syndrome doesn’t win with the advice above.

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.   
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.