How to Be The Best Sleep Technologist: Qualities & Standards
What does it take to not be just a good technologist, but the best sleep technologist?
When we think about the exceptional technologists we have met in our careers, a lot of things come to mind: knowledgeable; engaged; generous; a team player, but also a leader; produces quality work; has high standards; is adaptable, efficient; and able to communicate effectively just to name a few.
So what exactly does that all mean? How do you become someone like that? And what ties it all together?
KNOWLEDGE AND ENGAGEMENT
A good technologist has a well rounded knowledge base and is familiar with all aspects of the field, even in the areas they are not called upon to do and know regularly. However, an exceptional technologist has that knowledge and a hungry desire for more. They know their stuff and they also know their limits. They also know that they need to keep expanding their knowledge and continue learning. Things are always changing and they want to know what’s next. They seek out new knowledge with a hunger because they are engaged in their career.
These are the technologists that belong to professional societies, go to meetings, read the latest news about sleep and talk to others about what is going on.
Exceptional people also know they cannot know it all. They are aware of their own limits and will actively look for someone who does know about those areas. They have no problem reaching out to experts. Because of their involvement and participation in professional societies and networking at conferences, these are the technologists who easily know just who will have the answer and where to look. They have no problems with going and finding an answer for something they are not as knowledgeable about and accepting that, because they are humble.
A TEAM PLAYER YET A LEADER
Being able to work within a team is essential in today’s multi-disciplinary healthcare environment. A good technologist works well within a team. They get along well with the rest of the staff and are great at pitching in and helping out.
Exceptional technologists understand that all shifts and duties are equally important and needed. They understand that there is no “us and them” but they are a part of a whole, even when they are working alone. An exceptional technologist is able to effectively coordinate with those on other shifts.
The default attitude of an exceptional technologist is that if something is not right it is a matter of training and communication not lack of care on the part of anyone. They also accept that sometimes things just happen and don’t look to lay blame.
Great technologists are generous with their knowledge and are always willing to share that with others. They do not resist explaining or clarifying, and often produce helpful documentation for others. A good technologist will pitch in and do things, but an exceptional technologist will teach others how to do things themselves in an open and non-judgmental way. They lead others to knowledge, improved quality, and growth in their careers.
Exceptional technologists are interested in the whole of the company, and tend to be frequent advocates for cross training. These technologists don’t want to be the only one that knows something just so that they can be involved in all of the high-profile tasks. They are not interested in taking all of the credit either.
QUALITY, HIGH STANDARDS, ADAPTABLE AND EFFICIENT TIME MANAGEMENT
A good technologist will produce and meet the standards and quality metrics that their company expects and in a timely fashion. Exceptional technologists exceed them routinely because they have higher standards for themselves.
Wherever they go, they raise the standards, for themselves as well for as others. These are the technologists that put out the highest quality studies. For example, they have a grudge against artifact and make sure they do an excellent set-up right from the beginning in order to avoid any artifact in their recordings. When artifact does happen, they are right in there fixing the actual source of the problem, not just ignoring it. They care. They care because that is their standard and therefore they fix the source of an issue whenever possible. They work smart and efficiently by doing things correctly from the get go.
They are able to manage their time and complete their work within the time allotted and frequently with time to spare. Yet they are adaptable. They are also pragmatic and find that balance between getting it done right and getting it done.
They have good judgment based on their overall knowledge and ability to see things from different angles and the perspective of the team. They also know that within a team, sometimes you need to sacrifice your personal productivity for the overall team’s productivity.
Effective communication generates a desired effect and should not create conflict. It is the glue that holds the team together, solves problems, deepens connections, and helps with decision making.
A good technologist can explain things, but an exceptional technologist can distill the complex into simple, memorable terms that others can understand. They know when to drop the technical jargon and say what they mean in a few words.
Exceptional technnologists understand different cultures and adapt to them. To be an effective communicator you need to combine nonverbal communication, attentive listening and the capacity to recognize both your own emotions and those with whom you are communicating.
Many of our patients are sleep deprived, grumpy, fearful, and feeling vulnerable and sometimes, even our co-workers feel this way. These exceptional individuals clarify, simplify, coordinate and work with others in a non-judgmental way that is respectful of differences.
Exceptional technologists are genuine and instill trust. They are dependable and compassionate. What ties it all together? Passion. A strong passion for their profession. They love what they are doing, and it shows.