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Adventures in Sleep

Are You a Chicken, an Ostrich, or a Mouse?

Published July 27, 2012 1:47 PM by Amy Reavis
Amy K. Reavis, RPSGTYou may be wondering what I am talking about. The fact is that there is a ton of talk about home sleep testing, insurance companies, and the proper care of our patients. I say our patients because as sleep professional our job is to not just perform a test but also to educate the patient and to help them be successful with their therapy. The problem is that there are three different attitudes that are prevailing in the field and if you are not of the right type, you will end up out in the cold.

You may be Chicken Little, and see the sky falling and think that we will all be unemployed because HST is taking over the world and the insurance companies are going to get rid of us. Now there is a certain amount of that happening as people are trying to find ways to save money. There has also been some abuse of the testing and this is one solution to screen patients. You will hear people say this is the end of us. I have actually lived through this before as a respiratory therapist when licensure came along and DRGs came along. They would say we were no longer the big money maker and they did cut us back but in the end Respiratory Therapy as a field is still around.

You may be an ostrich. Saying this is not an issue or not changing your facility because you believe that life will go on as it has. The fact is that the world is changing and so is healthcare. You may be sitting there saying you would rather quit than do three patients. You may say that credentials are not needed and licensure is all about money. The facts still say that one of the ways for us to be seen as a true profession is to be licensed.  If you live in Florida you have to have a license to cut hair but not to be a sleep tech. I say this is wrong and does not help our field.  Many say we do not need to get degree programs or certificate programs. Again I say that is wrong. Our profession needs education centers so we will all have not just basic knowledge but understand the science behind what we do and why we do it. 

Now you may be the mouse. The mouse I am referring to is in the book Who Moved the Cheese. He understood that change happens and that we have to adapt and create a new dynamic to deal with the issues at hand. We may have to do more split night studies. We may have to incorporate a view of doing a baseline and then use an autotitrating machine which we then download and send the follow-ups to the physician. We may have to do three patients a night so that the labs we work at are still profitable and we are still employed.  Somebody may have other ideas and those people should share them. We cannot change our field if we do not work together to change the dynamics of our profession.

I try as hard as I can to be the mouse and stay on top of changes and come up with new solutions to the problems instead of ignoring them or complaining.  What about you?

posted by Amy Reavis
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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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