What does a Polysomnographic Technologist do?
Feb. 9, 2016
Did you know that there are about 100 sleep disorders? Sleep disorders include having trouble getting to sleep, waking up repeatedly during the night and feeling sleepy during the day.
Poor sleep isn't just annoying, it can cause serious health issues including heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, sleep disorders are one of the fastest growing health problems.
That makes becoming a Polysomnographic Technologist (Sleep Tech) one of the most important current health jobs. At Concorde Career College, our polysomnographic technology program could qualify you for such a career in as little as eight months.
WHAT IS A POLYSOMNOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGIST?
A Polysomnographic Technologist is in charge of performing tests on patients who have problems with sleeping. They work under the direction of sleep doctors and clinical directors.
As professionals who have usually graduated from a Polysomnographic technology program and passed certification exams, they sometimes supervise trainees and technicians who help perform the sleep studies.
Usually, they work at "sleep centers" in clinics or hospitals, or at the offices of a doctor specializing in sleep disorders. Their job includes:
- Taking care of the specialized sleep monitoring equipment and keeping it calibrated.
- Explaining procedures to patients before and after the study and answering questions.
- Connecting sensors on patients before the study and removing them afterward.
- Recording and monitor the information from the machines while the patient is sleeping.
- Taking observation notes about the patient as they sleep.
- Analyzing and scoring the sleep study and sending it to a sleep doctor who will interpret the data and suggest a treatment.
- Help patients understand how to implement the recommended treatment.
WHAT DO SLEEP TECHS DO ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS?
The day in the life of a Polysomnographic Technologist may actually begin in the evening since most sleep studies are done at night.
When patients arrive, the Sleep Tech will ask questions about sleep patterns. Next, they will take the patient to the sleep study room which usually has a bed, video camera and sleep monitoring equipment which records the heart rate, brain waves, muscle activity, and body functioning.
After connecting sensors on the head, chest, face, stomach, and legs, the Polysomnographic Technologist leaves while the patient goes to sleep. During the study, the Sleep Tech carefully observes the patient through the monitoring window to note:
- position changes
- patient movement
- stages of sleep
- patterns or anomalies in sleep
Often, the Technologist will later work with the patients to help them understand and follow through with treatment.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A POLYSOMNOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGIST?
Getting a degree from a Polysomnographic technology program is the first step. A hands-on Polysomnographic technology program can take as little as 8 months and will train you in skills like placing electrodes, monitoring patients and sleep disorder treatment.
After completing your courses, you can take a certification exam to become a Board Registered Polysomnographic Technologist.
Attending a Polysomnographic technology program can be the start of an interesting and important career working closely with doctors and patients to diagnose and treat sleep disorders and help patients have a better life.