I’m happy to tell all my readers that I just found out that I passed the sleep medicine board exam that I took last October. It was both challenging and rewarding, as I had just changed over to academia, and I was working full time. I’ve debated for years whether or not to take this exam, since obstructive sleep apnea is a very small fraction of the content of the test. However, by taking this test, I feel more well-rounded and more confident that I can better help people with obstructive sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome.
For those of you who didn’t know, until 2007, the board exam was administered by the American Board of Sleep Medicine. After 2007, it stopped giving the exam and a new board was created under the auspices of the American Board of Medical Specialties, an umbrella organization that covers most major medical specialties. Five specialties joined to co-sponsor this board: neurology & psychiatry, family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics and otolaryngology (ENT). Each member board administers the same sleep medicine exam test to their own candidates, but only after general certification is obtained. Beginning in 2007, this test was given every two years—2011 was the last year in which candidates could take the exam without doing a one year fellowship, as long as you demonstrated that you’ve seen a minimum number of sleep patients and interpreted a certain number of polysomnograms.