Sleep (Polysomnographic) Trainee

This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive and may require modification to meet federal and state regulations. This document is intended to serve as a template and be modified to meet individual employer needs.

Position Summary

A sleep trainee develops competency in and performs basic sleep testing procedures and associated interventions. The sleep trainee works under direct supervision of a sleep technician or a sleep technologist.

Sleep Study Preparation and Set-up

  • Develop skills in collecting, analyzing, and integrating patient information to identify and meet the patient-specific needs (physical/mental limitations, current emotional/physiological status regarding the testing procedure, pertinent medical/social history).
  • Develop skills in determining final testing parameters/procedures in conjunction with the ordering physician or clinical director and laboratory protocols.
  • Learn to review pertinent information from the patient’s history and verify the medical order.
  • Follow sleep center protocols related to the sleep study.
  • When patient arrives, verifies identification, collects documents and obtains consent for the study.
  • Explain the procedure and orients the patient for either in center or home sleep apnea testing (HSAT.)
  • Provide age appropriate patient education.
  • Learn to select appropriate equipment and calibrate for testing to determine proper functioning, and make adjustments, if necessary.
  • Develop skills in the application of electrodes and sensors according to accepted published standards.
  • Learn to perform routine positive airway pressure (PAP) interface fitting and desensitization.

Sleep Study Procedures

  • Learn to follow procedural protocols [such as Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), parasomnia studies, PAP and oxygen titration, etc.] to ensure collection of appropriate data.
  • Learn to perform appropriate physiological calibrations to ensure proper signals and make required adjustments.
  • Learn to follow “lights out” procedures to establish and document baseline values (such as body position, oxyhemoglobin saturation, respiratory and heart rates, etc.).
  • Learn to perform data acquisition while monitoring study-tracing quality to ensure signals are artifact-free. Identify, correct, and document artifact.
  • Learn to document routine observations, including sleep stages and clinical events, changes in procedure, and other significant events in order to facilitate scoring and interpretation of polysomnographic results.
  • Learn to implement appropriate interventions (including actions necessary for patient safety and therapeutic intervention such as positive airway pressure, oxygen administration, etc.).
  • Learn to follow “lights on” procedures to verify integrity of collected data and complete the data collection process (e.g. repeat the physiological and instrument calibrations and instruct the patient on completing questionnaires, checking for completeness, etc.).
  • Develop skills in scoring sleep/wake stages by applying professionally accepted guidelines.
  • Develop skills in scoring clinical events (such as respiratory events, cardiac events, limb movements, arousals, etc.) utilizing American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) standards.
  • Develop skills in generating accurate reports by tabulating sleep/wake and clinical event data.
  • Develop skills in demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize and provide age specific care in the treatment, assessment, and education of neonatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult, and geriatric patients.
  • Develop skills in demonstrating the knowledge and skills necessary to perform portable monitoring equipment preparation and data download.
  • Develop skills in performing patient education and instruction appropriate for home sleep apnea testing.
  • Learns and applies prescribed cleaning and disinfection procedures.
  • Learn and apply monitoring of patient safety and adherence to patient safety protocols.
  • Learn and apply adherence to AASM scoring parameters.
  • Learn to identify artifact, inadequate signals, and equipment failures and generate an accurate report.

Service Management and Essential Skills

  • Comply with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and standards regarding safety and infection control issues.
  • Learn to perform routine equipment care and maintenance and inventory evaluation.
  • Maintain current CPR or BLS certification.
  • Develop or demonstrate computer skills appropriate for the position.
  • Develop or demonstrate effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Develop or demonstrate appropriate social skills.
  • Develop or demonstrate customer service skills.
  • Develop or demonstrate critical thinking and ability to work with minimal supervision to analyze complex situations and apply policy.
  • Develop or demonstrate teamwork skills.
  • Follow HIPAA and privacy policies.
  • Demonstrate ability to follow direction.
  • Develop the ability to respond to sleep patients’ procedural-related inquiries by providing appropriate education utilizing sleep center specific protocols.
  • Adhere to sleep center policies and procedures.
  • Participate in the quality assurance program.
  • Learn to inspect and maintain sleep study related equipment and inventory.
  • Comply with professional standards of conduct.

Education and/or Experience

High school diploma or GED, plus six months of direct patient care experience or one year of postsecondary education.


Current enrollment in an accredited educational program leading to a certificate or associate degree with an emphasis in sleep technology.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to walk; sit; and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds, frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds, and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. In the performance of this job, the employee may be exposed to chemical vapors such as cleaning and disinfecting solutions. There may also be skin contact with these substances. The employee may also be exposed to infectious agents including blood-borne pathogens.