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From the President - A2Zzz Volume 21, Number 1

Posted by admin on Mar 1, 2012 12:25:00 PM

As leaders we must always be ready to seize the moment: Everything rises and falls on leadership. Each of us in some way is a leader or teacher. Whether you are a sleep center manager or a sleep technologist, an experienced technician or a brand new trainee, each of us is leading someone – a coworker, a colleague or a patient.

As a manager or a sleep technologist, the effectiveness of your work will never rise above your ability to lead or influence others. Effective leadership skills determine your success in your workplace at any level. I also think that 99 percent of all employees want to do a good job. How well employees perform is simply a reflection of their development as a leader.

How are leadership skills learned and leadership potential maximized? I believe it is through education. As a manager, I know that staff education is vital to the success of my team. I also understand that “people do what people see,” so as a leader I feel it is important to “lead by example.” I have strived to be an effective and positive role model. I routinely work with my staff to find ways to add a little education in to the daily work environment.

As the AAST president, my passion has always been focused on education. Over the next few years the AAST is committed to the development of new educational opportunities for sleep technologist at all levels of experience. One of the goals I have set for myself as AAST president is to try to provide more online education on the AAST website for the technologist and the manager. My vision is to give the membership innovative opportunities for education at a reasonable cost. I am pleased that the AAST recently launched two new learning opportunities, the “Case of the Month” and the “AAST Journal Club.” You can look for new monthly installments in each of these series when you visit the AAST Online Learning Center. These on-demand, online learning modules are an affordable and convenient way to educate yourself on a variety of topics while earning continuing education credits.

Over the last few months the AAST board of directors has been working to develop our new Strategic Plan. A draft of the plan was posted on the AAST website in February for member comment. I am grateful for those of you who took the time to review the plan and provide feedback. Your input will be discussed as we finalize the plan at our April board meeting.

If you have not yet taken a look at the Strategic Plan, I encourage you to do so. You will see that professional education is a core element of the plan. These educational opportunities will be critical for us as the field of sleep medicine and the profession of sleep technology experience a time of transition. Medicare and private insurance reimbursement rates continue to change, out of center sleep testing (OCST) is rapidly expanding, and new treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are being developed. All of these changes, and more, will define and shape the future of sleep medicine and sleep technology as health care reform evolves and technological advances unfold over the next few years.

The AAST board of directors recognizes that there are significant changes on the horizon that will have a substantial impact on the profession of sleep technology. As sleep professionals this is not the time to turn our back on the reality of the changing tide. As the professional society for sleep technologists, the AAST has developed the 2012 Strategic Plan to help guide the profession through the early stages of this critical transition period and open the door for new opportunities. This plan will help the AAST fulfill its vision, which is “to preserve the autonomy and future of the sleep technology profession by providing educational and professional pathways with innovative approaches that promote professional growth and development.”

I just returned from the AAST’s Advances in Sleep Technology course, which was focused on “New Directions in Sleep Apnea Evaluation and Therapy.” The course provided an outstanding review of new trends and developments, with one eye focused on the present and one eye fixed on the future. Over the next few months, the AAST will present our members with several other educational opportunities that will help you improve in the practice of sleep technology today while also preparing you for what will come tomorrow.

The premier educational event of the year is the AAST 34th Annual Meeting, and the preliminary program was recently mailed to members and is available online. The four postgraduate courses - Scoring of Sleep for the Sleep Technologist, Developing Sleep Technology Education Programs, Managing a Sleep Center for the Sleep Technologist, and Case-Based Review of Sleep Disorders for the Sleep Technologist – and the three-day General Session will equip you to handle the many challenges that face today’s sleep professional. I encourage you to make plans today to join us in Boston from June 10-13, 2012, and be sure to register by April 25 to save $75 on the registration fee. I promise you that the annual meeting will be a highlight of 2012!

In the next issue of A2Zzz I will tell you about the exciting course that the AAST is planning for the fall. Until then, know that the AAST is committed to providing as many educational programs as possible to assist you with your professional development.  I hope to see you this June in Boston!

Until we meet again,

Melinda Trimble, RST, RPSGT, LRCP