A Case for Learning EEG
I recently attended the WSET conference in San Francisco. One of the most interesting talks given was on the importance of long term EEG monitoring in the ICU. We have many concerns about the future of sleep testing. Although I see the field changing and the work of technologists becoming more of a doctor-extender, there are other options for those interested in expanding their knowledge. Long term ICU EEG monitoring appears to be one such growing area.
The field of long term monitoring is young and the care of the patient is needed. It appears there are not enough technologists to perform and monitor these patients. Although the job is not the same as sleep, there is a good baseline in our field to help us expand our knowledge.
The EEG field is actually quite different in responsibility and language, however they are still learning new terminology in the long term monitoring field as well. We come from a field where change happened quite frequently and this long term monitoring is also changing -- so we are already used to a sharp learning curve. To get involved we would have to learn additional 10/20 set up. We would also need to learn their montages and identification of waveforms. There is a great deal of details we would be required to learn. We do have the advantage of knowing ECG already which many EEG technologists do not know. So there is a balance.
The issue is where to learn EEG. There are still very few schools nationally teaching EEG. There are some online schools that can be accessed. Most EEG technologists were trained as OJTs, however the registry exams require more formal education as EEG technologists look to become a licensed profession.
In truth the language and the need to be much more detailed is necessary for this profession. It also removes the tech from the role of an educator, something many in the sleep field love. It is, however, a growing field with a large need and a strong future in the changing healthcare landscape.