TastefullyBlue

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May 12, 2012
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Hi,

I'm curious what life is like as a sleep doc, and have a few questions.

What are the hours? Typical family practice hours?

Do sleep medicine docs do research quiet often? I think there are some things that could be studied on why we need sleep, and why we can't produce whatever during the day, etc..

Are most cases sleep apnea, or are there more interesting cases?

Would it be wise to be a sleep & family doctor?

How competitive is sleep residencies?

Are there plenty of opportunities to practice?

Thanks,
TastefullyBlue
 

neurologist

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Hi,

I'm curious what life is like as a sleep doc, and have a few questions.

What are the hours? Typical family practice hours?
First of all, many (probably most) sleep doctors are not exclusively sleep docs; they incorporate sleep into some other subspecialty practice, usually pulmonary, neuro, or psych, some ENT. I don't know of many (any?) family practice/sleep docs. Thus, your schedule is going to be more or less that of a typical practitioner in your primary specialty. For those who are doing 100% sleep, yeah, it's pretty much a daytime gig with little call or weekend work; maybe an occasional night in the sleep lab for training techs or troubleshooting.

Do sleep medicine docs do research quiet often? I think there are some things that could be studied on why we need sleep, and why we can't produce whatever during the day, etc..
They can, usually if they are in an academic setting. I guess some private practice docs may do some research if time permits.

Are most cases sleep apnea, or are there more interesting cases?
Sleep apnea and insomnia are the most common issues. Every once in a while you get less common stuff. Whether or not that's "more interesting" depends on your perspective I guess.

Would it be wise to be a sleep & family doctor?
Wouldn't be a bad idea in theory, but, as I said above, I don't know of any.

How competitive is sleep residencies?
Very. But I suspect they will become less so as reimbursements for sleep studies drop and it becomes less of a money-maker.

Are there plenty of opportunities to practice?
They're out there, but as I noted above, relatively few are for 100% time doing sleep; most potential employers want you to split your time between sleep and some "general" neuro/pulm/psych/ENT etc.
 
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TastefullyBlue

Flows Slave
May 12, 2012
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thank you very much for the responses..

I'm slightly interested in sleep medicine, but less so in the interest of sleep apnea stuff.. I know sleep apnea is beginning to become a bigger thing in areas of transportation, and such so...

I'm thinking sleep should be something I venture on the side of in the future when I have the chance.. I suppose even a family doctor, or another specialty could do research on the side about sleep.

I'm into things we don't know extensive knowledge of as far as other specialties.. I like the idea of neurology, and sleep medicine, but after reading about the hours neurology puts in I am less interested/excited about that field.. I guess if I was raised near a world class research center, or something I would have more interest in making a big discovery in the research side, but I ideally would like somewhat of a outside life camping, biking, etc..

Thanks!
 

michaelrack

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If you are interested in research, you will most likely need to be at an academic center.

I know sleep docs who do 100% sleep (including one with a family practice background). I also know sleep docs who combine a sleep medicine practice with their primary specialty. A combination practice is probably the hardest for psychiatrists.
 

ellwoodis

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Beadle showing the prevailing ignorance being taught to the public and the nursing community.
 

smq123

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Beadle was also a spammer.

So feel free to discuss the actual topic at hand.
 

grt398

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Is it possible to set your own hours if you were doing mostly sleep? For example, could you see patients in the afternoon from say 12pm-5pm and then interpret studies from 5pm-10pm rather than starting working at 8am?
 

michaelrack

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Is it possible to set your own hours if you were doing mostly sleep? For example, could you see patients in the afternoon from say 12pm-5pm and then interpret studies from 5pm-10pm rather than starting working at 8am?
It depends on your employment situation. Personally, I do clinic approximately 1.5 days a week- clinic needs to be during regular business hours. I read sleep studies whenever I want (sometimes at midnight).

I own my own practice (and am a part-owner of the company that owns the sleep labs). I set my own hours.

That may not be possible if you are an employee.
 

grt398

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It depends on your employment situation. Personally, I do clinic approximately 1.5 days a week- clinic needs to be during regular business hours. I read sleep studies whenever I want (sometimes at midnight).

I own my own practice (and am a part-owner of the company that owns the sleep labs). I set my own hours.

That may not be possible if you are an employee.
Thank you very much. That's exactly the info I was looking for.
 

Faebinder

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Most sleep specialists are reluctant to let go of their primary specialty because of the fear of the future. The future of the subspecialty is cloudy a bit but so was the future of many subspecialties in the past. We'll see.....
 
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AquaticSunrise13

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First of all, many (probably most) sleep doctors are not exclusively sleep docs; they incorporate sleep into some other subspecialty practice, usually pulmonary, neuro, or psych, some ENT. I don't know of many (any?) family practice/sleep docs. Thus, your schedule is going to be more or less that of a typical practitioner in your primary specialty. For those who are doing 100% sleep, yeah, it's pretty much a daytime gig with little call or weekend work; maybe an occasional night in the sleep lab for training techs or troubleshooting.



They can, usually if they are in an academic setting. I guess some private practice docs may do some research if time permits.



Sleep apnea and insomnia are the most common issues. Every once in a while you get less common stuff. Whether or not that's "more interesting" depends on your perspective I guess.



Wouldn't be a bad idea in theory, but, as I said above, I don't know of any.



Very. But I suspect they will become less so as reimbursements for sleep studies drop and it becomes less of a money-maker.



They're out there, but as I noted above, relatively few are for 100% time doing sleep; most potential employers want you to split your time between sleep and some "general" neuro/pulm/psych/ENT etc.
Sorry to re-bump such an old thread, but I am also curious about going into sleep medicine, but with less interest in sleep apnea, as that is the most common diagnosis you will be dealing with. If you're more interested in exotic sleep disorders such as sleepwalking/talking, patients who suffer from constant conscious muscle paralysis episodes (happened to me a lot when I was younger), and REM sleep behavior disorder, what would be the best avenue to pursue in order to be exposed to/work with such patients? Academic center/clinic? What would be the difference in salary?

I know the typical routes as you mentioned, but would probably want a split of like 70% sleep and 30% neuro, while making 300k pre-taxes and want to know if this is realistic (I live in California and would ideally like that setup here since I grew up here). I hear that neurology residencies are some of the hardest, however, not to mention the material is difficult to grasp so there's not much encroachment and many people don't go for the field (additionally, its listed as number 18 on the specialty list in terms of pay). At the same time though I do love the brain and love learning about neuroscience/sleep as those are my favorite areas of interest, but practically it has been mentioned that neurology is more "like internal medicine for the brain", which is sort of off-putting as its hard for me to pinpoint what I would enjoy the most in a practical sense vs theory.

I would appreciate some help with these questions and hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.
 

Bobblehead

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Don't do sleep if you're not interested in managing sleep apnea. That will be 90% of your practice. Some of those patients may have other diagnoses such as insomnia or parasomnias but you will be managing mostly sleep apnea.

Also noting that your profile indicates you're not in medical school yet, it is very early for you to decide on sleep medicine. I expect the specialty will look substantially different by the time you're in a position to decide on a sleep fellowship with regards to reimbursement, testing protocols, etc.
 
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