A reader asks:
I'm a current first year (almost second year) internal medicine resident and I'm currently looking into the possibility of sleep medicine as a fellowship choice. Everything I learn about sleep medicine sounds great and I find myself very interested in the subject of sleep and sleep disorders, so I think it would be a great choice for me. I was wondering if you could give me any pointers about the process of applying to sleep fellowships, doing rotations, building my application and so forth. Also, what sort of career options are there for internists who do a fellowship in sleep med? Any good textbooks that you would recommend me starting with?
I previously posted a little about sleep fellowships here.
As an internal medicine resident, elective rotations that would be helpful include pulmonary, psychiatry, neurology, ENT, and sleep medicine (if available). The ENT rotation should include a large outpatient component in which you learn the head and neck exam as well as gain expertise in evaluating and treating sinus problems.
Sleep medicine fellowships are becoming very competitive, especially for those who have only completed a general Internal Medicine residency. Research, especially something related to sleep, would be helpful in getting accepted to a sleep fellowship.
Join the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Books that I recommend include Sleep Medicine Pearls by Richard Berry, MD. Unfortunately, the current (2002) edition obviously doesn't include the new AASM sleep scoring/staging guidelines.
I also recommend getting The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events.
Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine is the standard textbook. I would recommend waiting until the new (5th) edition comes out in several months.
Journals you should be reading include Sleep and The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which are availabe with membership in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Non-members can read older articles free on-line.
I have posted regarding career options previously in this blog, and will do so again later this month.