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Switching Specialties/Imposter Syndrome

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Hi there,

Trying to get a feel for what it is like switching specialties- not so much finding a job rather what it felt like to start over in a completely new field and feeling like you know nothing. I currently work in general surgery. I have a great gig with two awesome SPs, no call. My gripe is that while I am really good at breast cancer and gallbladders, I don't manage patients on the floor and don't see consults in the ER so it's not super high acuity work making decisions. I am very reliant on my surgeons and would say I am not very independent (which is good because I have the support, but bad because I've lost that muscle). I've been doing this for six years- first job out of school. The time is coming where my husband and I are planning to move and I DOUBT I'd ever find a job like mine. I love surgery and don't want to leave it, but I know there's a possibility I may have to switch specialties. I just hope I can stay in surgery in some capacity. I am nervous about transitioning to a different environment. I feel like I've forgotten everything from school besides what I use on a daily basis. Ugh. The anxiety. Any thoughts/experiences appreciated! 

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I've never switched specialties that drastically, but I have branched out into things I knew a bit of.  Getting into eating disorders treatment was the biggest shift, but there are a couple of good books, and I had a great team to work with.  It's, ironically, the only time I've been a PA on a real, honest-to-goodness team--with psychiatry, counseling, dietitians, yoga teacher, art therapist, program facilitators... But I digress. Surgery is not so much a team sport.

Re-studying everything is a non-starter, but you can review one thing at a time.  I'm a big fan of picking up a part time job here and there, but not everyone is geared for that.

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I tried it once and just didn't like it. I have been in primary care for my whole career in some form or another and went into neurology. I felt like a dope and quit after a few weeks. I'm sure I would have gotten the hang of it with time but it was just such a culture shock. It just wasn't for me.

I know plenty of people who have done it successfully.

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