Concorde Blog - Oct 30, 2019
Concordes Portland, Ore. campus, which last year celebrated its 50th year of training students in health care professions, reached another milestone recently. It celebrated the first graduating class of its Polysomnographic Technology diploma program. It was an important milestone and vital step in Concorde - Portland's continuing efforts in expanding its health care program offerings to local and area individuals looking to get themselves educated, prepared and into a rewarding health care career as quickly and effectively as possible.
Celebrating the first Polysomnographic Technology graduating class
Nicholas Harden, RPSGT, LPSGT, CSE, Program Director for Polysomnographic Technology at Concorde - Portland, said he couldn't have been prouder to preside over the first graduating class.
"Being a part of the launch of our program proved to be quite a challenge for our students, but they rose to the occasion," Harden said. "After graduating last month, two of our students have already started working as sleep technicians at The Vancouver (Wash.) Clinic."
Harden cautions, however, that these graduates' journeys to becoming Polysomnographic Technologists are not yet complete. They still must pass their Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BPRT) board exams. This is the qualifying exam that every sleep technician needs to pass to work in Oregon.
"We have high hopes for these students and are expecting them all to pass the exam with flying colors," Harden said.
Comprehensive externship experience
One of the many highlights of Portland's Polysomnographic Technology program are the thorough and comprehensive clinical externships students are required to complete to graduate, Harden said. Concorde has established partnerships with a wide range of sleep facilities in the Portland/Vancouver area. From large health care facilities such as Oregon Health & Science University and the Legacy Hospitals to smaller, more intimate settings like The Portland Clinic and The Vancouver Sleep Center, students have ample opportunity to experience real-world scenarios and clinical experiences.
"The differences in the techniques used from sleep lab to sleep lab varies widely," Harden said, "and by placing students in multiple lab scenarios we can help them understand the working environment of a sleep technician."
A growing Polysomnographic Technology program
The Portland Polysomnographic Technology program already features a modern facility with equipment and software programs used by sleep technicians in the field, Harden said. The lab has three beds and a full range of diagnostic and Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy devices which allows the program to mimic most sleep lab studies.
A prominent new technique is the use of Home Sleep Tests, which have become popular in the diagnosis of sleep disorders. Harden's program has acquired more than 10 Home Sleep Test devices from multiple manufacturers.
"Students are sent home with these Home Sleep Tests and then, upon returning to class, can examine and analyze their own sleep behaviors," he said.
Harden added that the equipment list continues to grow, and he recently received a gracious donation from The Portland Clinic that included software/hardware systems and several PAP masks.
"Sleep medicine is a new and exciting field of science," Harden said. "By establishing themselves in this rapidly expanding field, our students put themselves on the very frontier of discovery."