In the Moonlight: Q&A With Michael G. Eden, RPSGT, RST
Michael G. Eden, RPSGT, RST, has been working in sleep medicine for 23 years and became an RPSGT in 1998. Eden has worked for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario as a task force member, creating legislation for all sleep clinics in Ontario. He has been on the executive board of the Canadian Sleep Society and chairs the Education Committee. Eden has been on the Scientific and Technologist Planning Committee for both the Canadian Sleep Society and the World Sleep Society, planning international meetings. He has been on the CEC Committee for AAST for the past two years. Recently, he was elected to the AAST Board of Directors. It is his pleasure to serve the sleep community in any capacity, but education and patient advocacy are key elements to his work.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to work as a clinical psychiatrist or as a medical doctor. My schooling took me in a totally different direction. My university (Brock University) has a great research lab, so the professors and students in the lab changed my direction and career choice.
Why did you decide to become a sleep technologist?
In my undergraduate program, I worked with many great professors who guided me into the field of sleep medicine. I decided I wanted to conduct research and become a technologist. As a research participant to complete my undergraduate degree, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to be involved with a facet of medicine that had a profound and immediate impact on patients’ lives.
Where was your first job in sleep technology?
The first non-university lab I worked at was in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Soon after, I secured employment in Toronto and spent many years in the downtown core before settling in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area. I set up my own laboratory in 2006 in the small community of Cobourg.
Why did you become an AAST member?
I became a member of AAST when it was called the APT (Association of Polysomnographic Technologists). I joined to network with other PSG technologists and to gain information to write the BRPT exam. I met a lot of people and made some great friends to share valuable information through the AAST.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
Dr. Bob Ogilvie at Brock University (and a past president of the Canadian Sleep Society) was my initial influence. He taught me about sleep and technology. My current influence is from being a patient advocate. Patients encourage me to use my knowledge to educate people about sleep.
What is the most challenging part of your profession?
The most challenging part of the profession is the noncompliant patient. It can be a challenge to help those who feel they do not need it. I’m sure everyone has had numerous patients that state they “Don’t know why they are here.” Many of these patients are resistant to treatment options. I try to persevere and get the patient to at least try a modality of treatment that they would gain benefit from.
What do you like most about your profession?
I love having an immediate effect on the patients that come through the lab. They are usually sleeping well for the first time in their lives, and they tell me how much energy and stamina they now have. It is quite rewarding to see that.
What do you do for fun on days off from work?
I am married and have two kids. They are my joy. I enjoy going to NBA and NHL games in Toronto. I love to read and watch documentaries and, of course, “Game of Thrones.”
What is the biggest change you have seen in the profession since you started?
The biggest change I have seen is the introduction of advanced PAP titration devices. Most technologists fear autoPAP (APAP) and/or assisted servo ventilation (ASV). With the right education and patient population, these devices have helped many more patients in the sleep labs
Any words of advice for people who are new to the profession?
Make sure you say “yes” to any educational opportunities granted you. Whether it be to attend in-service and/or national/regional conferences, or to present at a local community center. As a patient advocate, I am a lifelong learner. I hope all technologists feel the same need to educate and teach others within or outside our profession.
What are you professional goals in the next five years?
I am involved with the CSS, AAST and World Sleep Society (WSS). All of these associations are looking at new and innovative ideas to teach and learn. I hope to be very involved with the process at all of the associations.