For the last decade, I’ve had an umbrella over my head as a medical trainee. I stretched my wings and learned to apply new knowledge and procedural skills to clinical situations of varying complexity with the guidance of my attending physicians. Although I’ve had the last two months off to relax, I had some butterflies about transitioning to attending-hood this week.

Between medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine, I spent eight years training in the Texas Medical Center. Naturally, it became my home. However, now I’m working at a hospital where I never rotated using a medical record I’ve never used working alongside anesthesiologists, surgeons, perfusionists, nurses, and residents who don’t know me. I have to consciously stop myself from saying “I’m Rishi the cardiac anesthesia fellow.”

After losing my proverbial training wheels this week, I’ve already been involved with cases ranging from complex vascular and structural heart to transplants as an attending cardiac anesthesiologist. I reminded myself that despite some degree of imposter syndrome, I am qualified for this role. I’ve always found a way to get along with new colleagues by identifying what things matter to them and compromising to feasible extents. I’ve always put my patients’ safety and education of trainees first, and those ideals have never led me astray.

Reflecting on the last week, I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by supportive colleagues who helped me get oriented and situated with the workflow. They introduced me to every staff member I encountered, and welcomed me with warm arms. The camaraderie between the surgeons and anesthesiologists was also great to see, and I feel like I’m fitting in rather well thus far.

I’ve been humbled and privileged to learn under leaders in their respective disciplines over the course of my training. They have shown me that it’s perfectly okay to say “no.” They have shamelessly said “I don’t know” despite being the “go to” figures. Above all, they have always been supportive of their trainees and colleagues. These virtues have been far more important than medical knowledge in the latter parts of my training, and I hope they’ll shine through me as I embark on this journey. 🙂

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