Striking the Right Balance in Medicine with Dr. Keith Armitage
17 min

Keith Armitage, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Dr. Armitage has been leading the Internal Medicine Residency Program at University Hospitals for over 25 years as the Program Director and is internationally recognized for his work to advance the field of resident education. He is a former President of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine and a recipient of the prestigious Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach award by ACGME. Last year, he was awarded a Mastership in the American College of Physicians for his extraordinary career accomplishments.

There are many fine lines in medicine. As physicians, we need to walk those lines with both competence and grace. Today, Dr. Armitage talks about the fine line between being self-critical and having self-doubt. He explains that while it’s important to be self-critical to be able to reflect on our performance, we must not let doubt paralyze us from performance. When it comes to reaching out to mentors, he shares a fine line between being confident and feeling entitled. While we should not hesitate to reach out to faculty for advice as it is part of their duty, we must do so with respect and gratitude.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Being self-critical, to a degree, is a stimulus for growth. But you must also work through feelings of imposter syndrome to avoid feeling paralyzed by self-doubt. 2. There is a fine line with mentorship: You should feel both confident and grateful in your mentoring relationships, but never entitled. 3. Residency is very competency based—but there is another component that defines an excellent resident: Being able to enjoy the journey.

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