This Is the Year of the Sleep Technician
I have to say this is the definitely the year that sleep technicians took responsibility for their future. This year there were many changes to the field and we were proactive. We looked at the changes that licensure is presenting, the questions about our qualifications and the changes in insurance reimbursement and dealt with each issue with creativity and activism.
The states that have approached licensure have had a strong urging from state-formed sleep associations to make the field stronger. Now other states are following the lead of these first brave states by creating state societies all over the country.
The AASM has undermined our credential and came out with their own. They have not been strong and up front about the whys and the hows. They misled people to believe that it was a lifetime credential, when in fact it is a 5-year credential just like the BRPT exam. They stated that the exam did not have a high enough pass rate, however the pass rate is equal to other medical professionals. The AAST, which is supposed to represent the technicians, did not stand up for them. Some strong, well-educated professionals decided to take matters in their own hands. New people ran for the board but they were not elected. So this year we see the creation of two new national sleep societies SPA and PASTA. Both groups are lead by knowledgeable technicians who love the field of sleep. Both are initiating conversation and education.
We have watched the BRPT take the high road and become stronger for it. We have strong leaders there who understand that education is the future of sleep. They also understand that weakening the credential by dumbing down the test would help no one. They added CEC credentialing as a new role. They also have been vocal in their support of the sleep credential and the field of sleep as a whole.
This has been a fantastic year of growth and change for our field. It shows how a small group of impassioned people can help to change the field. It shows that we are a growing field. It shows that the future is bright as long as we are willing to act.