Benefits of Joining State and Regional Sleep Societies
Where do you get those CEC hours that work best for your budget and schedule?
By Joanne Hebding, RPSGT, RST and Brendan Duffy, RST, RPSGT
This article was originally published in the June 2015 edition of A2Zzz. Click here to access the original article and others.
Sleep technologists need a minimum of 50 continuing educational credit (CEC) hours in sleep related education every five years in order to recertify their credential. The decision we all face is where we get those credit hours that will work best for our budget and schedule.
Some technologists have the ability to attend the Association of Professional Sleep Societies meeting (APSS) held once a year in different cities across the country. This meeting offers a large variety of topics and venues as it encompasses the associations for sleep researchers, sleep medicine dentists, sleep medicine physicians and sleep technologists. This national sleep gathering also attracts a large number of vendors showcasing their latest products.
Only a small percentage of all sleep technologists are able to attend APSS, so how can they complete the annual educational credit hours needed? Is there a local sleep organization closer to home? Where exactly can a technologist get specific and current information about state licensing, conferences, insurance reimbursement changes, updated AASM information, and develop a network of peers in a certain state? Who can you reach out to if you want to relocate and need to know the specific licensing requirements, legislation, and sleep policies for your new home state?
Reach out to the AAST
Aside from reaching out to the AAST via their web homepage or the AAST Facebook site there are many individual state societies that have been established to allow members to correspond, meet and lobby on behalf of their members. Some of these societies are very active and have robust offerings, while others appear to be dormant.
Some of these inactive sleep websites were originally set up as an information hub to obtain state licensure information for polysomnography. Once the goal of state licensing was accomplished, it appears that some sites are relatively quiescent. This appears to be the case, for instance, with the New York State Society of Sleep Medicine website.
Post information on a state or regional site
Posting information on an official state or regional website does come with some rules and regulations. The official societies do have to be diligent about what can be posted on their websites.
It is always good etiquette to contact an official listed on the website and ask to post information or contact their members prior to doing so. Many organizations welcome additional educational or job opportunities in other areas for posting and some have rules governing surrounding areas that may be in conflict with their state.
Know the difference
An official state website differs from sleep medicine related social media sites that are not state/regionally based, do not have membership dues and do not offer educational opportunities. The absence of these items may indicate these are not official open societies. Social media sites have the sole purpose of letting members be social and network with other members.
One resource that has gathered a comprehensive listing of the many State Sleep Society websites is the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and their webpage explains what function these local societies serve for the dental community.
About State Sleep Societies
In recent years there has been a significant expansion in the number of state and regional sleep societies. By uniting together, sleep professionals are able to benefit from relevant educational opportunities and advance the sleep field at the local level. This unity also provides collective strength when advocating for the sleep field through interactions with legislators and policy makers.
In many states these societies were formed to address specific regulatory and legislative issues affecting the profession of sleep technology. As a result, dental sleep medicine has not been a major area of focus for most sleep societies.
However, state and regional sleep societies offer dentists an outstanding opportunity to network with sleep physicians and sleep technologists from local sleep disorders centers. Dentists also can help educate sleep professionals about oral appliance therapy and the role of dentistry in treating sleep-disordered breathing.
This AADSM directory is provided as a resource to help connect you with your state or regional sleep society. The AADSM encourages members to look for opportunities to become more involved in local sleep activities.
As you can see from reviewing the offerings, in addition to individual states, there also are several regional societies such as the Southern Sleep Society, or the Northeast Sleep Society, which also are excellent resources for information, educational conferences and networking opportunities within a specific geographic region.
Why reach out to state and regional sleep societies?
If you take a few moments to review these various websites, you will see they vary with some being very basic and some providing very thorough detailed offerings. A sleep professional would be well advised to reach out to their local society to take part in the many undertakings that are offered. If your state does not have a sleep society, or has one that is not active, this is a great opportunity to organize the sleep professionals in your area and provide the direction needed to stimulate activity within your state. If you live in an area close to several state lines, it is always advantageous to be aware of the other society’s activities as you might be interested in what a neighboring state society is offering.
The field of sleep technology needs great volunteers on the national, local and regional levels. Volunteers reap many benefits such as sharpening organizational and networking skills. They are able to connect with new allied healthcare professionals, perhaps take part in or initiate exciting sleep research projects, learn new job skills that will last forever, and advance their career.
If you want to have fun, learn some new information, or find some wonderful PowerPoint presentations, take some time to visit these many state websites and review what some wonderful volunteers have done in each state. If you want to contribute to these great societies, consider volunteering your time and expertise!