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Quoted: career choice for heavy sleeper

Discussion in 'Confidential Consult' started by Tildy, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Tildy

    Tildy 12 yrs old, feels like 84 Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 7+ Year Member

    Anytime one has a health condition that might affect a career choice, seeing a physician about it is a good idea. Otherwise, assuming no obvious cure, we'll see what others have to say. Remember, SDN is not for giving medical advice.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
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  3. shopsteward

    shopsteward 7+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2010
    Walking the dog
    Your dilemma is whether to go into something which is a lifelong dream or something which is, at best, "moderately appealing". For most people, employment takes up a huge proportion of their lives, and doing something they don't like or are unsuited to is the cause of a lot of misery for a lot of people. What job can you see yourself being content with for 40 hours a week, 48 weeks of the year and up to 40 years?

    For just about any job or career I can think of, you will at some point need to be able to set an alarm and get out of bed at a particular time of day. If that's a problem, it's a problem for more jobs/careers than being a doctor.

    If your sleep problems amount to a disability which can't be alleviated by treatment, and the disability would make shiftwork and overnight call a problem, you could look into whether there are laws on disability and education/employment which would require reasonable adjustments to be made for you.
  4. O2Doc

    O2Doc 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2011
    I honestly don't see how someone with a condition as described above could make it through residency, provided effective treatment isn't found.

    Being a doctor wouldn't be an issue. There are 9-5 with no call options in medicine. But getting through residence? What is he has to assist in surgery late in the evening, if he falls "unconscious"? What if he's the senior covering the floor when a patient goes into a crisis, and he doesn't wake to the pager?
    I can actually see him getting through med school under some kind of disability provision, but in residency he's an employee responsible for patients' lives. There's only so much leeway that can be given, and complete abdication of patient responsibilities after x and before y o'clock is unlikely to be allowed.
  5. Smurfette

    Smurfette The blonde among the blue. SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    I think you need to see a physician and be evaluated. If there is a treatable cause to your problem, then you can plan accordingly and see how your condition changes with treatment.

    Aside from that, if you are such a heavy sleeper that you cannot be aroused, that would be a major problem for many specialties, especially when on call or when chronically late for work. I would also expect that if this was constantly an issue for a resident, a PD would insist on a medical evaluation in order for the resident to keep their position. As the above poster suggests, if you have severe issues with sleep, it may be hard to maintain any job. The bottom line is: see a physician now and figure out what's going on BEFORE you burn bridges.
  6. dragonfly99

    dragonfly99 5+ Year Member

    May 15, 2008
    Go see a sleep specialist and find out what the heck is wrong with you before you make important career decisions. Disagree with shopsteward about the "reasonable accommodations" thing - technically that may be the law, but if you can't handle some sleep deprivation, the chances of you making it through medical training are crappy. However, you really don't know what's going on with you or whether it's correctable. Go see a sleep medicine doctor.

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