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  • julianosko

Imposter Syndrome in IMGs

Hi there! This is Malvika. I am currently a Junior doctor in Urology in the NHS. I have a keen interest in helping IMGs with their mental health whilst they strive hard to achieve their goals. This blog is straight from my heart and I hope it would help my fellow IMGs.

What is imposter syndrome?

“Individuals feel fraudulent within their profession upon registration and can exhibit signs of anxiety, depression, and fear.”

Impostor Syndrome is usually associated with high-achieving individuals and is particularly common among health care providers early in their careers. It can happen at any time to anyone despite doing well and progressing in the right direction.

As an IMG, who has migrated from miles across the globe it is only fair to think that these feelings will be amplified manifold. This blog would help you identify if you are going through the same and techniques to overcome Imposter syndrome.

How does it impact your career?

As a newly qualified or registered doctor, it is absolutely normal to feel like you know nothing and it might be difficult to find your feet. Imposter syndrome is quite different from this initial phase of butterflies in your tummy. It is the constant nagging feeling of self-doubt, generalised anxiety, lack of self-confidence, low mood and frustration at trying to meet very high self-imposed standards which would ultimately lead you to play it too safe at work. This directly impacts your everyday work and would not let you get out of your comfort zone to explore your full potential.

'Impostor syndrome has been well documented in the health care profession. Approximately 30% of medical students and residents identify as impostors, with higher rates among women and international medical graduates. Impostor syndrome tends to rear its head at the beginning of new jobs, new projects, or new careers.' - Source

Techniques to overcome imposter syndrome

Easier said than done, however, I have listed below a few techniques that are proven methods to help ease your way out of this.

1. Reflect

The first step is to identify if it is merely nervousness as you have started the new job or if the hesitation and anxiety grow with each passing day. The next step is to look out if a specific job/person(s) is the cause for you to feel this way. Ideally, it is worth checking at the end of the day and reflect how you felt about that day.

2. Talk to someone

Once you have identified that what you are experiencing is indeed imposter syndrome, talking to someone you trust would be the next best approach. This could be your friend/colleague/supervisor. You will be surprised to know that almost everyone has been through this at one point in their career and they may be able to give you further tips and help you overcome these thoughts.

3. Focus on progress and not perfection

As you have started a new job, you might find the need to prove yourself to your peers and supervisors and achieve perfection from the very beginning. After all, we have always been told that the first impression is the best impression. However, the smartest way to go about it for your personal well-being and growth is to let your team know that you are open to learning and would like to learn something new every day. This would let them know that you work well as a team and also that you are willing to get out of your comfort zone slowly and steadily. The added benefit would be setting small goals and not pressurising yourself which would ultimately let you learn the right way of working in the NHS.

4. Never compare yourself

So you are an IMG, and you might have heard stories from your seniors and colleagues who recently joined the NHS that you might have to behave in a certain way or speak in a certain way to be accepted by your team. You will often find yourself comparing yourself to others doctors and their skills, the way they communicate or the knowledge they possess which can lead to low self-confidence and self-doubt. This is something every doctor feels regardless of whether they are native to the UK or IMGs. One quick healthy tip would be to learn from the doctors their ways of doing the jobs. This would help you learn to work efficiently in the NHS and also helps to maintain a healthy relationship amongst your team members.


  • Imposter syndrome usually presents as feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness

  • Progressing to a new role can bring with it a period of discomfort and self-doubt

  • Newly qualified doctors who progress in their field often experience imposter syndrome

  • Acknowledging and getting help sooner and talking to someone about it will often help overcome Imposter syndrome.

Want to know more?

I hope my post help IMGs to better understand their struggles and the ways to overcome them. Good luck and best wishes to you all.

Best wishes,

Dr Malvika


If you have any questions feel free to ask on the TrewLink website, I would be happy to help.

If you found our blog articles helpful, please share them with your IMG friends & colleagues who may also benefit from reading our blog.

Written by Malvika

Edited by Julia

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