Attending physician

I haven't written much about being an attending. Partly that is because I don't want to reveal who I am, but also, I feel like being an attending is a hard thing to get a good grip on. In some ways, it feels fantastic to be done with training, but it seems like it's actually quite a bit more stress.

As a resident, I had interns below me and attendings above me. There were tons of people whose job it was to question every decision I made. There were other residents around who could provide some input. As an attending, it's just me. There's no one else. It feels quite odd not having to run my decisions past someone else. After my first clinic, I grabbed one of my colleagues and talked about my patients. "Why are you telling me this?" he asked. It just felt so alien to make a decision and not have it questioned.

I feel like an acrobat without a safety net. I know what I'm doing. Heck, I'm board certified. But being an attending is an isolating experience. I miss having someone tell me that I'm doing the right thing. Now, I have to question my own decision making. I sit at home at night asking myself, "Did I really need that stress test?" Worse yet, I've already had a couple mortalities, and I can't blame anyone but myself.

But for those of you slogging through residency, let me tell you that on balance I am very glad to be an attending. All this time, all the work, and now I am the one calling the shots. That has a price, and sometimes I don't call 'em right, but now they are my mistakes to make, and that is both scary and wonderful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming back. I've missed you.