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By: Monica Roselli on March 4th, 2022

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The Importance of Certification in Clinical Sleep Health: A Q&A With CCSH Credential Holders

CCSH | A2Zzz

The Certification in Clinical Sleep Health (CCSH), offered through the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT), showcases the knowledge of those who manage patient care as health care providers and educators. In addition to meeting specific educational/clinical eligibility requirements, individuals must hold a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification or its equivalent, adhere to the BRPT Standards of Conduct and pass the CCSH examination.

AAST Managing Editor Monica Roselli recently spoke with four sleep professionals who have earned their CCSH credential, Betsy Dauphin, RRT, CCSH, Andrea Early, RPSGT, CCSH, Cheryl Memmini, RRT, RPSGT, CCSH, and Salvatore “Sam” Sarullo, RPSGT, CCSH, on what having the credential means to them, the impact it will have on the sleep industry and advice for those looking to sit for the CCSH exam.

What does a typical day look like for you and how do you utilize your CCSH credential in your day-to-day work?

Betsy Dauphin (BD): I work with BetterNight, a national durable medical equipment (DME) provider, so my focus is mainly on compliance with positive airway pressure (PAP) devices, rescuing PAP failures to alternative therapies and acting as a research coordinator on clinical studies. My CCSH credential and education have prepared me to better understand sleep-related breathing disorders and other issues surrounding sleep and whole-body health. It's through coaching that patients achieve sustainable compliance.

Andrea Early (AE): My day consists of educating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients on use, purpose and function of PAP devices. I troubleshoot machine pressure intolerance and effectiveness, machine malfunction, mask fit issues, non-compliance with therapy, insurance and reimbursement issues, and review sleep study results and how poor sleep impacts overall health. I also collaborate with physicians on patient treatment needs and modifications to current treatment.

Cheryl Memmini (CM): I am a clinical sleep educator for a health system’s own DME. I do patient education for patients diagnosed with OSA and central sleep apnea (CSA) as well as PAP setups, follow-ups and troubleshooting.

Salvatore "Sam" Sarullo (SS): My typical day involves working with patients, and family members, regarding diagnostic testing and education. The education piece not only encompasses procedural testing but almost always leads into general sleep hygiene. The CCSH education has helped me identify what patients are experiencing and how I can intervene and play a supporting role with direct or indirect influence.

What benefits do you see in obtaining the CCSH credential? How has having the credential benefited you and the work that you do?

BD: Learning about different sleep disorders and how to treat them is very beneficial when working in the sleep industry. Having the CCSH credential has benefited me by helping me educate patients about their disease, why treatment is needed, adverse outcomes if untreated and explain treatment in ways they can understand. The CCSH credential also helps me educate and inform coworkers and staff on how other issues outside of sleep-disordered breathing may affect patients and their adherence to PAP therapy.

AE: The CCSH is helpful in becoming well rounded in all aspects of sleep from medications and behavior modification to PAP treatment and alternatives. This credential reminds me to stay up to date on all new trends in sleep, too.

CM: The CCSH credential is beneficial because it shows that the practitioner has studied a specific area (education of sleep disorders) and is qualified to provide this important information to patients and the general public. It has benefitted me specifically with getting the patient education process implemented as well as helping me to learn to focus on each patient as an individual with their own life circumstances, learning style and adaptability to new ideas/change.

SS: The benefits are tremendous. It shows you have a growth mindset and are passionate regarding patient outcomes. It prepares you for expanding into additional sleep medicine roles (i.e., inpatient OSA screening, DME, and clinic) which I’ve had the pleasure of supporting with seamless transition and confidence.

To learn more about the value of the CCSH credential, read the full interview  in the 2021 Q4 issue of A2Zzz.