Insomnia, Snoring, Sleep Apnea

The world and life of a sleep tech

Revisiting the Decision

Posted by amykr on January 20, 2009

I am currently remote scoring for a lab in Ohio. It has been having a great deal of internet issues and so I called the office to see if someone was there that could help. The young lady who answered took the opportunity to ask me some questions about the exam and what to expect.

The first thing she asked, though, was how long ago I took the test. The problem being, that if I took it awhile ago then I probably would not know what to expect. The thing is that although some of the rules have changed, for the most part the test structure really has not changed.

Well, that brought me back to when I first learned sleep.

I was working as a respiratory therapist in an inner city hospital. I truly enjoyed my patients but I knew I was burned out. I was working the ED night shift one night, and in came a guy who had been gored by a bull. When you think about it: what more could I see? It really is the last thing you expect at 02:00am.

So, after talking to my manager, I decided I would try sleep.

I had four days of orientation. To say the guy who trained me did not want me there was an understatement. He liked his solitude. He said “put the leads here, put these filters on and monitor the patient.” That was it. He gave me a diagram for lead placement I used for the first three months while I was working. I thought this is easy…

…Until I took a registry review class. I did not know how much I did not know until then.

While I was there someone took pity on me and gave me an R and K manual. Other people drew me pictures of the 10/20 system.

I spent the next month rewriting our policies for correct lead placement and filter settings and I taught myself to score using the R and K manual. I would literally hold it up to the screen and figure out what stage the patient was in. Fortunately the EKG and respiratory events were pretty easy for me to figure out.

Titration became a whole different matter.

I learned to sit on my hands. As a respiratory therapist I want to fix a desaturation with all my being. I am not one to sit and watch a person desat to 80% or lower and not intervene.

I learned. I became the go to guy or gal for my reading doctor. I learned how interesting sleep was.

I would never trade my first year for anything. I will, however, do what I can to make sure no one has to go through their first year the same way I did.

I love to mentor new technicians and I hope to always be there to answer their questions when they need it.

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