In the Moonlight: Kristina Weaver, RPSGT
Kristina Weaver, RPSGT, is the neurodiagnostic manager for Parrish Healthcare’s Sleep Disorders Center. She has been involved in sleep medicine for 13 years. Prior to that, she was a paramedic. Weaver is the coordinator of Brevard AWAKE. She also serves as the past president of the Florida Association of Sleep Technologists and is on the AAST Board of Directors.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
The only job I have ever had out of the medical field was a life guard in high school! I have always wanted to do something in the medical field. My original goal was nursing. I’ve been in the medical field since I was 17.
Why did you decide to become a sleep technologist?
I was a paramedic and so burnt out from the ER and the unknown of going into patient’s homes. I actually just stumbled across the position and applied for it having no clue what a “polysomnographic technologist” was. I wanted something different while I finished school. What made me want to stay in the field of sleep medicine was in the beginning of my career, I did a sleep study on my dad. He had severe sleep apnea and also had arrhythmias (one round of Vtach and a seven-second sinus pause). He refused treatment. A year later, he died of a heart attack in his sleep. That’s when I knew that as a sleep tech I could make more of a difference in the sleep center than in the ER or on a nursing floor. Heart attacks are a leading cause of death in the United States. We can truly help!
Where was your first job in sleep technology?
My first job was at Health First in Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2005. I went from the ER to their sleep center. What a change!
Why did you become an AAST member?
You know the saying, “It takes a village”? Well, the same goes for our sleep community. We are at a vital time in our profession to prove we can make a difference. No longer is medicine a fee-for-service type practice. Sleep medicine falls in the prime state of the preventative healthcare sector. AAST is here for education and networking and to help us strategically thrive in this new way of the future of medicine.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
Jeremy Bradford, an old boss of mine. Through his mentorship and motivating me, I was able to think creatively and start our sleep navigator services eight years ago. This drastically changed my career and has saved many lives. He is an amazing mentor who allowed me to create something so successful within our organization that it is now being done at many other organizations. I can never thank him enough for believing in me and his trust.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
When you hear someone say, “Oh, they just died in their sleep,” that’s it. Or you hear a hospital code at 3 a.m. and hear the patient had a heart attack and died. We need to help our community connect the dots. I could say also insurance companies-- they can be challenging.
What do you like most about your profession?
Making a difference with so many patients and my staff. It’s awesome when a patient calls you up and tells you they had the best night of sleep of their life. Or when we see a hospital patient stop getting readmitted once their severe sleep apnea is treated.
What do you do for fun on days off from work?
I love to jog and surf with my family. I have two young kids and an amazing husband.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the profession since you started?
It’s so cool how much sleep awareness there is out there now. You see schools, trucking companies, sporting teams and employer groups asking for sleep help. We never saw that years ago. We need to keep this momentum going.
Any words of advice for people who are new to the profession?
Always act like your loved one is the patient who you’re treating! You would want someone with passion and the knowledge to care for them. You be that person for all of your patients. And, of course, always think outside the box.
What are you professional goals in the next five years?
I have a little over a year left to finish my master’s in healthcare administration. I am looking forward to moving onto my doctorate eventually. My goal for the next five years is to be able to contribute to more research in sleep medicine and chronic care management.