An Interview With Debbie Guerrero – AAST’s 2018 Professional Development Service Award Winner
Debbie Guerrero is currently the program coordinator and full-time faculty for the CAAHEP-accredited Sleep Technology Associate Degree Program at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois. Debbie developed and started the then certificate PSG program in 2002. She served as the president of the Illinois Sleep Society; was a board member for the CoA PSG, where she continues to volunteer as a site visitor; and is currently a reviewer for the upcoming edition of “Fundamentals of Sleep Technology.” Debbie is proud of her sleep technology program graduates and the positive impact they have within the sleep community in the Chicago area and beyond.
How do you feel knowing you’ve won this award?
I am very honored to have won this award. The sleep technology field has so many dedicated professionals who contribute to the society and the profession; it is humbling to even be considered.
How has being a member of AAST helped enrich your career?
AAST has enriched my career on several levels. First and foremost, AAST is an instrumental voice for our profession, helping to solidify our place in the healthcare arena. Everyone involved in sleep benefits from AAST. The organization’s educational materials are a main source of professional growth and development for me and are an excellent resource for our students. My involvement the “Fundamentals of Sleep Technology” textbook has been a very educational and rewarding experience.
What would you say to encourage a friend to join AAST?
It is essential to stay on the cutting edge of sleep. Take advantage of all the resources AAST has to offer. It is important to become a member of THE professional organization that is dedicated to our future. We need a visionary, unified voice that has a seat at the table.
Education is clearly very important to you, why do you think continuing education can enrich someone’s career?
Continuing education is essential! With new technologies, increased medical complexity of patients, and a focus on outcomes and patient self-care models, we need continuing education to remain competent. A second year student just excitedly told the class that her lab is going to start seeing Inspire-implanted patients. We need to embrace the changes that lie ahead rather than fear them due to lack of knowledge and preparedness.
How has advocating for, and continuing with your own, education helped you personally?
Professional growth is selfish, in a way. I’ve met many great sleep professionals as the president of the Illinois Sleep Society. I’ve witnessed the selflessness of sleep docs and techs working together to provide world-class conferences for our sleep community. My experiences as a site visitor and board member for CoA PSG opened my eyes to the vast diversity in educational delivery of sleep technology programs. Attending the first annual AAST conference gave me a sense of pride; it was a great opportunity to learn from the best, and network with colleagues from across the country.