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Blog Feature

By: Kevin Asp on July 20th, 2016

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AAST Member of the Month: Tracy Kopp

Sleep Technologist Advice

DSC_0130_1.jpgLaura Linley, AAST President presents the Roseann Zumstein Memorial Scholarship at the 38th Annual AAST meeting!

Meet Tracy Kopp, the AAST member of the month!

Every month, the AAST will highlight the accomplishments of one of our talented members. Want to nominate someone, or yourself, as the AAST's member of the month? Fill out our form by clicking on the image at the end of this article!

headshot-2.jpg1. Where are you from and where do you practice today?

I was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa.  I moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin after graduating from a respiratory therapy program, and have been employed at United Hospital System ever since.  I enjoy my work and I've been blessed with great coworkers!  Our lab is a four bed hospital-based sleep center.

2. How did you get involved in sleep medicine?

At one time, our PFT lab and sleep lab occupied the same area. and I was intrigued by the science of sleep, and when an opening became available, I was happy to apply.

When I was in school for respiratory therapy, so little was known about sleep disorders.  It was exciting to see how quickly the field was expanding!

3. What are you doing today in sleep medicine?

I've had my RPSGT credential for over 10 years, and last year I earned my CCSH credential. Like many technologists, I wear several hats in the sleep center.

I still stage and score PSGs and assist with clinic visits, but a lot of my time lately is spent developing the sleep educator position in my sleep center.  I'm fortunate to have our hospital administration and management value the importance of that role.

Currently, I monitor all our new CPAP patients from the time the machine is ordered, through set up, and the 90 day adherence period and beyond.  I personally meet with any patients who are experiencing barriers with their therapy; whether it be mask fit/leak, sleep hygiene issues, or understanding their disease and the importance of their treatment.

I've created PowerPoint presentations for community outreach regarding sleep health, and will be attending several corporate health fairs this fall.  We are in the early stages of developing a screening tool for all our inpatients as part of a disease management program. Many patients with co-morbid conditions are underdiagnosed with sleep issues, and identifying and treating those patients have been proven to reduce hospital readmissions.  I think sleep disorders get boxed in to just being about "sleep quality," and not enough is addressed about how much poor sleep affects the whole body.

4. When did you become a member of the AAST?

Three years ago, and I will continue to renew my membership.

5. Did anyone encourage you to become a member at any point?

Two of my co-workers were already members, and they appreciated the several ways they were able to obtain CEUs and stay current on the changes occurring in sleep medicine.

6. Benefits of being a member?

Besides the reasons stated above, I think belonging to a professional organization of your peers lends credibility to the profession.  In addition, the board of directors is filled with a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon.  When I attended the annual AAST conference in Denver this year, I was impressed with the amount of work the AAST puts into the organization for its members.

7. Importance for technologists to join AAST?

There's power in numbers.  We need to demonstrate the value of our roles in sleep.  The field of sleep medicine and the technologists involved need to stay current with the changes in both sleep and healthcare in general.  The AAST works hard to facilitate as these changes occur and assist technologists to perform these new tasks.

Want to nominate someone you know as our next member of the month?  Click on the button below to nominate someone today!

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