Why Medical Residents Should “Choose Sleep” for a Dream Career

Sleep medicine is a rewarding specialty that enables me to make a significant difference in the lives of my patients.

If you are a medical resident considering your future career path, I encourage you to apply for a sleep medicine fellowship. Sleep medicine is an intriguing field with long-term growth potential and the opportunity to positively impact the health of a huge population of patients. By diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, I am directly improving patients’ health and quality of life, and the restoration of healthy sleep often allows my patients to feel like new.

There is an increasing demand for sleep physicians because millions of Americans suffer from chronic sleep diseases that can harmfully affect their overall health. For example, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to increased risk of heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and depression if left untreated. As awareness of sleep health increases, millions of new patients will be seeking evaluations and treatment for potential sleep disorders in coming years.

As a new sleep medicine physician, I had the opportunity to practice in diverse settings; opportunities abound in teaching hospitals, community hospitals and independent sleep centers, allowing sleep physicians to cultivate a work schedule that best fits their lifestyle. Also, sleep doctors can expect a call schedule that is quite manageable, as most overnight sleep studies are either monitored by trained technologists at an accredited sleep center or self-conducted by patients in their own home.

Another great thing about sleep medicine is the constant collaboration. Sleep specialists work closely with physicians from other disciplines and lead sleep teams of other health care providers — including nurses, physician assistants, psychologists and technologists. I have found ample opportunities to collaborate and treat patients in a coordinated effort using a variety of the latest technologies. These collaborations are always eye-opening and educational.

So, the choice is yours, and the options are plentiful to pursue your dream career, just as I did. There are 83 sleep medicine fellowship training programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). For more information, I encourage you to download the free eBook available at www.choosesleep.org. You also can learn more about the match process for sleep medicine fellowships from the National Resident Matching Program.