I am a doctor – but I’m still in my training program, which means that I can’t practice independently. I’m a fellow so I have more training than a resident and I am board certified in my primary specialty but I’m in fellowship for advanced training. My fellowship ends in 3 months. My year has had a number of unforeseen events culminating in the pandemic that we’re all experiencing. My specialty is not emergency medicine or internal medicine and my department has decided to have trainees study at home instead of being in clinic to protect us. My attending is still operating but with such a limited schedule that they are operating independently and all residents and myself (the fellow) am doing distance learning.
Today, I got a call from my attending who got a call from the chair of the department asking if I would work in occupational health in their office screening people. I am really upset about this because I am honestly afraid to be at work and felt relieved that I was told to work from home. Today was only my second day at home. And they are asking the faculty for volunteers and didn’t ask any of the trainees except for me. I ultimately told my attending that I feel like I’m in a vulnerable position and I have to say yes but if they’re bringing me back to clinic then I’d rather be with her doing what I’m supposed to be training to do. She said she agreed and she still believes that she should be protecting her trainees and so if that’s the situation then I shouldn’t have even been asked and she turned it down for me.
I just don’t feel even close to neutral about this. I still have this ball of horrible negative emotion in my stomach that is a mixture of shame, anger and fear. I know that life is 50/50 and that I don’t have to feel great about this situation but I want to not feel so bad about it. How do I create an intentional model to help me get there?
C: Only trainee asked to volunteer in occupational health
T: I don’t want to go.
A: Feel like I need to go. Want to talk to husband about it. Ruminate over right decision. Ultimately tell attending that I’m not comfortable.
R: I don’t go
C: Same as above
T: They shouldn’t ask me if they’re not asking other trainees.
A: Perseverate. Look for all the other ways that things have been unjust this year
R: Still believe that they’re doing me wrong by asking me.
C: same as above
T: I am ashamed that I don’t want to go help
A: Want to talk about it but feel embarrassed and don’t want people to know. Feel like an imposter. Question why I became a doctor.
R: Still feel shame.
C: Same as above
T: I should have agreed to go b/c I feel badly about not people pleasing
A: Perseverate. Debate calling and saying I’ll go. Turn into victim/villain situation in my head and feel like I need to go b/c I’m the victim and I have no choice
R: (Not sure the result here besides just feeling bad but can’t figure out what to write that feeds back to that T b/c I’m not going to call and agree to go)
C: same as above
T: I am able to make decisions for myself and don’t need to worry what others will think
** I guess here is where I’m stuck. I want to stick with the decision that I made and feel okay about it because I’m not people pleasing and I’m doing what I want but I also don’t want to feel shame and guilt about it and when I think that thought I still feel the shame and guilt. Maybe it’s still too soon and I haven’t processed those feelings yet?
Any advice would be so helpful. Thanks in advance!