What is it about?

The experience of uncertainty is common for many health professionals, including psychologists. Most research on uncertainty has focused on professionals in the early stages of their career. Less is known about the experience of uncertainty for professionals who are late in their career. In this article, late career psychologists share their stories of uncertainty over the course of their career. They discuss what uncertainty looked like, and how it changed, over their early, mid and late career.

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Why is it important?

Uncertainty in psychologists is important to understand because it impacts healthcare professionals coping in their role. For example, healthcare professionals who struggle with uncertainty have been shown to be more anxious, more stressed, and at greater risk of burnout. It also impacts the way they work with the clients they support. For example, healthcare professionals who are accepting of uncertainty are more likely to be honest with clients when they are unsure and more likely to involve clients in decisions about their treatment.


This article is the result of my personal experience with uncertainty and curiosity regarding the experiences of others. The insights from this study helped to normalise my own response and gave me hope that my feelings of uncertainty may abate and be effectively managed throughout the duration of my career. It is hoped that this research will assist others in increasing their awareness of their experience of uncertainty and help develop tools to allow for an acceptance of uncertainty and the ability to sit in the space that in my own experience, was a place of considerable discomfort.

Emma Fewings

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: “It hasn’t gone away after 30 years.” late-career Australian psychologists’ experience of uncertainty throughout their career., Professional Psychology Research and Practice, April 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/pro0000511.
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