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Adventures in Sleep

What I Know for Sure ... About Sleep

Published December 22, 2011 8:11 AM by Amy Reavis
I am borrowing a line from Oprah and her magazine. Each month she writes what she learned from the issue. I am going to take the time to tell you what I have learned this year being a sleep technician.

I have learned that keeping your staff motivated is a challenge. If you need them to take a test, you have to give them a reason and an absolute deadline, and then they are more likely to do it. But they will still give you multiple reasons why they cannot meet that goal.

I have learned that not everyone wants to excel. Some people are happy with middle of the road. I have to learn to accept that.

Patients will always amaze you if you are open to it. You can learn something from each patient whether it is a lesson in patience or learning how to do something new, such as scoring seizure activity. The generosity and curiosity of patients, as well as their belief that anything posted on the internet is true, really can make you think about the amount of misinformation circulated.

Whether a person wants to be sick or well is truly a mindset thing. I have 80-year-old patients who are active, sharp, and young and I have had 40-year-old little old ladies who have more health issues than you can imagine.

ADD is the new IT problem. People want reasons and easy cures and will latch onto anything, and right now the surge is toward ADD. The question is how many of these people really have sleep disorders that are not being treated? How many prefer to pop a pill rather allowing a doctor to send them for a sleep study?

Depression and Sleep Apnea have similar symptoms and again people are taking pills rather than have a sleep study.

HST is not the end of sleep labs. We should not be afraid of new technology, but rather should embrace it and work it into our labs. We can guide the future or we can stick our heads in the sand. The choice is ours.

Credentials and recertification is here to stay. This drama around the change in credentials should be put to rest because the future is about proving we are professionals -- not trying to live in the past. Proving you have taken CEUs just proves you are a professional. If you want to fight something, then fight for our profession and education programs.

This year has had drama and controversy and more changes in our profession than ever. Next year promises more of the same. We need to band together and be the professionals we are. We need to help educate each other and help the field to grow and take on more responsibilities. This much I know for sure.

posted by Amy Reavis


Thanks so much for taking the time to write such an insightful post. I know it took a lot of thought!  It must have also been a good exercise for you to reflect on the past year.

"HST is not the end of sleep labs. We should not be afraid of new technology, but rather should embrace it and work it into our labs. We can guide the future or we can stick our heads in the sand. The choice is ours."


Doug Hudiburg, Healthcare - Patient Engagement and Management - Director of Marketing and Sales, CareTouch December 29, 2011 11:04 AM
Westminster CO

I just ran across your blogs on real life in the sleep field. I am currently planning on attending Roane State C.C. next August. They have a one year certificate program in Polysomnography. This is a mid life career change for me, as I am 41 and never worked in the medical field ever in my life. I am however a sleep patient and have been since August 1995. I would love to read any advice pertaining to sleep study work. Particularly how to be succesfull, employed full time and what the field offers as a career. Thank you for your blog work and I will be reading moving forward.

Ken December 26, 2011 1:29 PM
Knoxville TN

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About this Blog

    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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