Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Grant Activity: Current Activity Impacting Communities

Physician, heal thyself? Why more young doctors are depressed

February 18, 2016 | The Pulse
By Neda Freyha

It's late afternoon at a busy medical clinic in Baltimore. Dr. John Allen sits at a small desk by the window. Pale yellow sunlight streams in. A can of diet soda rests on the windowsill. He scrolls through his patients' test results on his computer screen and picks up the phone.

"Hi, it's Dr. Allen, just wanted to go over the results of your recent hand X-ray. Good news – there's nothing broken."
Allen is in the second year of his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Maryland. He remembers his first year out of medical school, his intern year, was terrifying.
"It's extremely intimidating for someone to look at you and say 'Dr. Allen, or Dr. Such and Such' and you ARE their provider," Allen says. "They don't realize that this may be your first day on the job and that you are not sure yourself that you're their doctor."
'I remember feeling... like a huge failure'
This feeling of being an impostor is common for a new physician. After four years of medical school, intern year is the first time a doctor is actually on the job. As John gained experience, he took care of a patient who impacted him deeply.

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