Survey Evaluating Sleep Education Catalyzed Change in Residency Training


Background: Despite the high prevalence and negative effects of sleep disorders, sleep issues often remain unexplored during medical encounters. Research has shown that primary care physicians regard their knowledge as inadequate. Objective: We investigated residents’ perceived adequacy of sleep education and level of competency in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. Methods: A questionnaire via Survey Monkey was administered to senior residents in University of California, Davis (UCD) from family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, and psychiatry to assess perception of their knowledge and training of sleep disorders. Likert scale ratings were used, from 1 (not adequate/competent) to 5 (extremely adequate/competent). Non-parametric statistical methods were used to evaluate differences in survey responses among specialties and assess the correlation between survey responses. Results: Only 33 residents responded with a 29.5% response rate. Neurology residents routinely rotate with a sleep medicine attending and subsequently reported the highest self-competency, adequacy of training, hours of didactics received and frequency of asking patients about sleep. All other residents reported receiving insufficient sleep medicine education. The combined mean score was 1.5 across the specialties regarding adequacy of sleep education in their respective medical schools with 31.3% reporting no sleep medicine training. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that there is a perceived deficit in most residents’ training and competency regarding sleep disorders. These results prompted 2 of the 4 residency programs to change their educational structure with electives in clinical sleep medicine. We believe that this paper illuminates potential need for increasing sleep medicine education throughout various levels of training. Nationwide educational research is needed to promote ACGME to incorporate the fundamentals of sleep medicine into core curriculum. Current Knowledge/Study Rationale: There are no studies, to our knowledge, directly measuring residents’ perceived adequacy of sleep medicine education provided and their perceived level of competency in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate both the amount of time and quality of sleep education provided to residents as insufficient knowledge in addressing sleep problems may reflect gaps in educational requirements and standards within residency training. Study Impact: This study revealed a perceived deficit in most residents’ training and competency regarding sleep disorders. This study stimulated half of the UC Davis residency programs evaluated to offer electives in clinical sleep medicine suggesting that the study highlighted need for additional educational opportunities in sleep medicine.

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Stamm, D. , Taylor, S. , Nguyen, U. and Hardin, K. (2015) Survey Evaluating Sleep Education Catalyzed Change in Residency Training. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6, 444-450. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2015.67058.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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