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Blog Feature

By: AAST Coordinator on June 26th, 2017

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Five Reflections from the 39th AAST Annual Meeting

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Five Reflections from the AAST Annual Meeting

Now that the 39th Annual AAST Annual Meeting is a wrap, attendees are still buzzing about the education, networking and skills building they obtained during their time in Boston, June 4-6.

 Some of the most valuable insights are the ‘inside perspectives’ from those who attended sessions, walked the show floor and networked with peers. We caught up with five AAST members to get their key takeaways from the event.

More than a Meeting

Andrea Ramberg is the Clinical Sleep Health Educator and Coordinator with Centegra Health System. For Ramberg, the Annual Meeting represented so much more than just the classes offered. She says, “It is about being surrounded by your peers in a field that you love, and the discussions that come from sitting in those courses after the lecture is done. The courses offer a platform to get the discussion flowing, and from there new ideas are born.”

Furthermore, Ramberg views the AAST Annual Meeting as a way to collaborate with like-minded individuals. “Each of us came into the field with a unique set of skills and background, yet share a common love for sleep. The magic lies in when we bring it all together. Each generation in the sleep field has something unique to share, from the veterans to the newbies. By attending these meetings, we are helping to bridge the future for sleep, not simply just learning new material.”

A Rewarding Atmosphere

Sarah Brennrcka, RPSGT, Lead Sleep Technician with Centegra Sleep Services, describes the environment of the event as one that is “truly rewarding” for professionals in sleep. She believes this is due in part to the fact that you are surrounded by many like-minded individuals who all share a collective passion for the field of sleep.

Beyond the connections, it is also about the education that she can apply directly to her role as Lead Sleep Technician. “One of the most valuable sessions I attended was David Wolfe's discussion on sleep forensics. I found his discussion regarding Parasomnias very interesting and he did a great job engaging with the audience,” says Brennrcka.

Sessions that Hit Home

As Maggie Mott, a Sleep Lab Manager with Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian MS, looks back on her time in Boston, many memorable experiences and influential sessions stand out. However, one session in particular truly hit home for Mott: Addressing Quality Measures and Their Effect on Reimbursement by Kathryn Hansen.

“This session allowed me to rethink how my lab is working through our quality measures and tie this process in with my career goals, while enhancing our patient experience,” says Mott. “After the session I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Hansen and discuss this, which excited me even more! I cannot wait for the next national meeting!”

Take-Home Experience

Chief Polysomnographic Technologist Lauren Dempsey RPSGT at the Institute for Sleep/Wake Disorders (ISWD) took away something special from her time in Boston. Aside from valuable interactions with colleagues, was some practical knowledge and training that she hopes to apply to her practice immediately.

“I would have to say the session titled ‘Establishing a Sleep Program from in-patient-to-home’ was very valuable. We have been trying to initiate such a program for the last two years,” says Dempsey.

Keep Coming Back for More

For Chad Whitleff, the Sleep Services Supervisor for the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, 2017 marked the 23rd year in which he has participated in the AAST Annual Meeting. And much like in years past, 2017 provided unique opportunities and inspiration that have Whitleff looking forward to keeping his attendance streak going strong for years to come.

“My experiences have always been invaluable for connecting with colleagues, finding jobs, keeping current, and discerning where the profession is going,” says Whitleff. “This year I was especially impressed by the solid educational presentations. Information overload at the conference was mitigated by interactive audience surveys and engaging practical content, such as a panel on advancing your career to remain competitive in sleep technology.”

In all, the AAST Annual Meeting was a huge success with many positive discussions about the profession and the future of the association.

Look for these and other exciting talks from the AAST Annual Meeting appearing on our on-line learning library soon, as well as some announcements regarding the future of the AAST Annual Meeting.