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Blog Feature

By: Kevin Asp on July 17th, 2015

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5 Traits The Best Sleep Technologist Have In Common

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Always wondered what the best sleep technologists have in common?

In our previous blog post, we discussed the top 5 reasons why someone should become a sleep technologist. But what makes sleep technologists suitable for the important role they play in your practice? The best sleep technologists have these five traits in common that set them apart from others. How many of these traits can you identify with?

1. They pay attention to detail  

Successful sleep technologists have the ability to pay attention to detail. This skill is required for almost every task they undertake. It helps them:

  • Determine whether a patient is eligible for a test.
  • Find out if a patient is uncomfortable during a test.
  • Decide whether a home test will be suitable or not. Some patients may request tests at home. In that case, the sleep technologist will have to assist the physician to decide whether the patient is a suitable candidate for a home test.
  • Take notes and maintain records of all the important data from every study. In addition to this, they will also have to present observational reports. This requires sleep technologists to pay attention to patient behavior at the time of test. 
  • Determine whether a test has been successful. The sleep technologist takes several factors into consideration when determining this. For instance, a patient may have been unable to fall asleep for long during a study. Instead of suggesting that he go in for a second study, the technologist will have to consider the results from the physician's interpretation of the first test. 
  • Quickly pick up on issues with the equipment during a test. Sleep technologists also have the skills to understand where an issue stems from and how to trouble-shoot it.
  • Maintain a detailed log of all the events and interventions conducted in the laboratory.

2. They are compassionate 

Every day, technologists deal with patients with sleep conditions that make them difficult to handle. With compassion, they can better deal with such patients. Some patients present a number of problems stemming from sleep conditions. Some are fatigue, cognitive impairment, lapses of memory, impaired judgment, malaise, tremors, hallucinations and confusion. 

Even when a patient is being difficult, a compassionate sleep technologist can understand the reason behind it. This will allow him to interact with the patient and provide care without being judgmental. A compassionate sleep technologist can make a patient feel understood. This can go a long way in making the patient feel comfortable with the technologist. Research shows that some patients refuse to go for sleep study or treatment if they feel that a technologist is judging them. 

3. They have technical know-how

Sleep technologists have the technical know-how required to conduct sleep studies. They generally have to pass a certification examination to be hired by an accredited sleep center. Here are some of the technical aspects that registered sleep technologists have to know:

  • Administering a standard polysomnography test.
  • Using specialized equipment for assessing vital body states and functions like oral and nasal airflow, electric potentials from eyes, brain and skeletal muscle activity and esophageal pH.
  • Making observations based on a number of parameters pertaining to the wakefulness and sleep states of the patients. 
  • Performing tests to determine cognitive status of patients who experience clinical seizures.
  • Recognizing a crisis in the laboratory or an emergency health issue in patients and responding to them. For instance, a sleep technologist will know how to assist with or perform basic CPR if required. The technologist will also be aware of the standard protocol to be followed even after a crisis has passed. 
  • Ensuring that instruments and all equipment is performing properly before being used for a test. 

4. They have great administration skills

Sleep technologists generally have good administration skills. They should be able to remain in control of a situation and handle multiple tasks simultaneously. They meet patients and interact with them on a regular basis. When patients or physicians request information, technologists should be able to provide it. Depending on the situation, the data may have to be retrieved from a system or generated afresh. The technologists also have to know how to use a filing system for storing important information.

5. They have great communication skills

Of all the characteristics a good sleep technologist displays, the ability to communicate effectively is the most important. Sleep technologists should have good verbal and written communication skills. There are three groups of people with whom a sleep technologist interacts on a regular basis at a sleep center. They are - patients, primary healthcare providers and other sleep technologists.

With primary health care providers, sleep technologists may need to discuss the core issues diagnosed in a sleep study. They may have to make recommendations based on the diagnosis. Sleep technologists have to communicate with peers when they work together on a case. They also have to inform patients about the steps in the sleep study and related interventions. Sleep technologists will also have to reassure patients about the fact that sleep studies are safe.

 

Sleep technologists, what traits do you think are most important for the technologists in your sleep center to display?

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