How the role of a sleep technologist has evolved
The American Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) Board of Directors released a report in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM), The Future of Sleep Technology: Report from an American Association of Sleep Technologists Summit Meeting, which provides recommendations for transforming the field of sleep technology. In particular, focusing on identifying new roles for sleep technologists, and determining appropriate education to prepare technologists for the future.
The Changing Role of the Sleep Technologist
Changes in the way sleep disorders patients are diagnosed and treated, along with a changing focus in medicine from diagnosis to outcomes, is providing challenges and opportunities for sleep technologists. Recommendations from the summit included increasing education and demonstrating competency in more roles than overnight monitoring and record scoring.
The challenge for us as a professional association is to define these new roles for sleep technologists and provide the education that our membership will require to flourish in these new roles.
Online Education by the AAST Addressing the Role Changes
This year the AAST offered the Sleep Care Manager Course for the first time. The course was developed and offered in response to the significant changes in the field of sleep medicine and technology that we have seen over the past several years.
If you were not able to attend the course, the entire Sleep Care Manager Course is available online as a series of online modules that include CEC credits. The first module on Career Management is offered free for AAST members and non-member technologists. This module provides an overview for technologists of all levels of where we are now and where our field is headed as healthcare and sleep medicine and technology evolve. The module also addresses the resources that AAST has developed to provide information and education for the sleep technologist, appropriate to the changes that are occurring in the field. In addition, an organized plan for career development that focuses on new competencies, additional training and higher education is provided with this free module.
We are also presenting this special issue of A2Zzz, Education: Your Key to The Future. Inside you will find helpful articles on everything from the AAST Sleep Technology Summit, to Advances in Sleep Technology, to Preparing for and Taking Advantage of Industry Conferences, to an overview of online degree programs and much more.
Another excellent source for information for sleep technologists is the AAST website. We have a career section which includes a job board, a video about what the sleep technologist does, scope of practice, core competences, technical guidelines, the AAST’s Position Statement on Education, job descriptions, educational resources and recertification information.
The AAST will be presenting a course in 2015 titled “Beyond OSA: Diagnosis, Comorbidities and Therapy of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.” This course will focus on advanced therapies for sleep disordered breathing. The course will be held in Branson, MO on October 9-10, 2015.
Sleep technologists of the future will need a higher level of both education and skills in order to provide value to potential employers and to be competitive in the job market. As the premier allied health membership association for professionals dedicated to improving the quality of sleep and wakefulness in all people, be assured that the AAST is dedicated to exploring new opportunities for education and career development to help sleep technologists grow and adapt to new roles and realities.