Starting clinics was a daunting endeavor for me. I have spent the last three years sitting in a classroom, learning as much as I possibly could about animals of all species. However, when it came time to transition to the practical application of that information in a clinical setting, I felt a daunting sense of inadequacy begin to steal away my confidence regarding what I know.
As I began my clinical journey, I found that this little voice of doubt was overpowering my ability to believe in myself. Instead of allowing myself to excel and learn from my experiences, I wallowed in all of the things that I felt like I was doing wrong. When a resident or clinician asked me about my thoughts or inquired about a condition or pathology, I responded with uncertainty instead of trusting in what I knew. Most of the time, I was actually right, or at least on the right track, but I didn’t feel that way at all.
Finally, after two or three days of ending sentences that should have been statements with question marks, one of the residents told me something that I should have been telling myself: SAY IT WITH CONVICTION. Four words that have made all of the difference in the world. I am at a point in my education where I need to allow my knowledge to stand on its own and that means I need to say things with certainty. If I’m not confident in myself and what I think, why should any client, patient, clinician, resident or colleague have confidence in me? Having conviction gives my knowledge the strength it needs to be a source of empowerment for others. I believe that my knowledge has power and I want the rest of the world to see that too.