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Imposter syndrome; why is it so common amongst nurse researchers and is it really a problem?

Gill, Paul 2020. Imposter syndrome; why is it so common amongst nurse researchers and is it really a problem? Nurse Researcher 28 (3) 10.7748/nr.2020.e1750

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Background: Imposter syndrome appears to be a common problem amongst nurse researchers and within academia more generally and often has a considerable impact on those affected. However, it is unclear how or why nurse researchers are affected by this phenomenon and/or whether feeling like an ‘imposter’, in this particular context, is actually problematic. Aim: To critically explore the concept of imposter syndrome amongst early-mid career nurse researchers. Discussion: While there may be several specific reasons as to why imposterism is common amongst nurse researchers, evidence suggests that such feelings are also ubiquitous in other academic disciplines across the higher education sector, particularly amongst early-mid career researchers. It can cause a variety of problems, including feelings of anxiety, selfdoubt and inadequacy, and therefore has significant potential to adversely affect personal and professional development. Conclusion: Imposter syndrome can be deeply unsettling, particularly at times of specific exposure or peer review. However, it is relatively normal, even for the most experienced, successful researchers, to feel like this. Furthermore, in appropriate measures, related feelings of selfdoubt and critical self-reflection are actually essential to the research process and can help to moderate the potential for making significant mistakes. Implications for practice: Imposter syndrome is common in academia, especially amongst doctoral and early-mid career researchers and recognising this is an important first step in mitigating related feelings of inadequacy. However, when managed appropriately, imposterism can play an important function in helping to facilitate scholarly activity and ongoing personal and professional development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: RCN Publishing
ISSN: 1351-5578
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 21 April 2020
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2021 09:10

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