The practice of sleep medicine requires humane, informed and open discussions with patients about their symptoms, disease and course of treatment. Effective and empathetic listening skills including the use of verbal and non-verbal communication skills will be demonstrated.
Sleep physicians work with several other members of the sleep healthcare team to achieve optimal outcomes for patients. Our Sleep Centre uses a multidisciplinary approach and patients will see several health care providers throughout their evaluation and treatment. The Sleep Fellow will consult with other physicians and health care professionals and contribute effectively to the team’s objectives and management plan. An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other health care providers is required for effective leadership and participation within this model of patient care.
Appropriate health care resource utilization is integral to the practice of sleep medicine especially in a time of changing resources, guidelines and protocols. As a manager the sleep fellow will incorporate quality assurance and resource allocation into daily activities. The Sleep Centre’s wait list time is long (up to one year) and this provides an excellent incentive and opportunity to consider alternate care models and/or triage systems for our patients.
The sleep fellow must recognize his/her overall role within society and his/her ability to influence public policy as well as individual patient care. The physician must be prepared to advocate for patients and for communities. Physician advocacy for individuals and for communities is often required with regard to securing funding and qualification for CPAP, BiPAP and supplemental oxygen therapy.
Sleep Medicine is a relatively young field with significant gaps in knowledge and thus many opportunities for research. The sleep physician will demonstrate awareness of the current state of knowledge and ask questions where data is lacking. A commitment to life long learning in this rapidly evolving field is essential. Ongoing journal clubs, research and teaching opportunities will enhance this competency in our fellows.
As a sleep physician, there is a need for commitment to professional standards including ethical practice. In addition, the sleep fellow will demonstrate an understanding of provincial legislation for reporting of unfit drivers.