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Blog Feature

By: Kevin Asp on October 5th, 2015

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Best practice tips on managing your sleep center

Sleep Technologist Advice

managing your sleep center

Review our best practice tips and considerations for managing your sleep center

As many sleep technologists know, working a night shift can be uniquely challenging. In fact, according to 2004 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 15 million Americans work full time on evening shift, night shift, rotating shifts, or other employer arranged irregular schedules.

But what can be more challenging than working a night shift once in awhile is actually managing a sleep center where supervising night shift workers is central to the role.

So the American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) asked Kevin Asp, CRT, RPSGT and Elise Maher, RPSGT what their best practice tips are for managing a 24-hour business. Kevin has worked as the CEO of several sleep clinics nationwide and Elise worked for more than a decade as the Regional Technical Director for Sleep Health Center, and managed a network of sleep centers.

These are the best practice tips they recommended:

managing your sleep center

1. Make sure to hire the right people who can work independently

During the interview process Elise said she looks to hire people who can show that they are initiative-driven and have been promoted at one point at their previous occupation.
"I look for people who have been promoted within a particular company, especially since this means to me that at some point someone put trust in them to have extra responsibility," she said. 
Kevin also said he looks for people who have a strong ability to troubleshoot independently and work well without direct supervision.
"My interviewing style can be considered to be a little bit different, as I am trying to sell myself to them more than the other way around," he said. "I'm looking for someone who is passionate in what they are doing and I don't really like seeing job paradoxes in candidates where I know someone has been a veteran in the industry, yet hates what he or she is doing- I'd rather hire someone less experienced but with a huge willingness to learn on the job."
managing your sleep center

2. Have regular meetings for both day and night staff

According to Kevin, it's always great to make sure that your staff feel like they are a part of a team and can have open and honest dialogue about some of the challenges within the sleep center.
"Try and communicate in the best way you can what some of the barriers would be among staff who work in your sleep center during different times of the day," said Elise.
Of course even scheduling that meeting can be difficult, especially since it can be challenging to decide on whether you should schedule the meeting in the morning or late at night. 
In Elise's case, she said she used to schedule staff meetings for 6:30 p.m. and to make it easier for some employees, she utilized web conference technology to make sure people could join from their homes and other places. 
managing your sleep center

3. Have accountability measures within your sleep center to monitor staff effectiveness

One of the biggest questions sleep center managers often have is: How do I make sure my staff is doing a great job when they're not being directly supervised?

"In our sleep centers we have patients rate the work of the sleep technologist before they exit the center," Kevin said. 

In fact, Kevin has a survey available to patients where they can rate their sleep study experience on everything from cleanliness to titration processes. This method has been highly effective for Kevin's facilities where he feels that the survey gives patients an opportunity to give feedback to sleep center managers.

Elise said her sleep centers also utilized a grading program for each study they conducted. Each study allowed managers to give feedback to sleep technologists that would be published and available for view on an intranet site. 

"Publishing the results of a sleep study grading fostered a sense of competitiveness among technologists who wanted to do great work, and it was also a great learning opportunity for all of us," said Elise. 

One last tip Elise said she would give sleep center managers is to take some time to actually work as night technologists alongside other night technologists during their shifts periodically. This way sleep center managers can appreciate the unique challenges and breadth of work that comes with working as a night technologist.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can manage your sleep technologist career? Download our webinar on managing your career! 

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