Job Title: EEG Technician
Type of Company: I work for one of the oldest hospitals in the Boston area.
Education: BA, Biology, North Adams State College (N. Adams, MA) MBA, Healthcare Administration, Western New England College (Springfield, MA) ASCP certification, Cytotechnology, Berkshire Medical Center Polysomnography certificate, Massasoit Community College (Brockton, MA)
Previous Experience: I worked as a cytologist for 21 years at various hospitals in various roles. I returned to school for a certificate in sleep technology and then I began working as an EEG tech.
Job Tasks: The job of an EEG is multi-focal. You must be good at dealing with the public. You must act and dress professionally. You must also deal with many physicians and their office staff. A day in the life of an EEG tech would vary from institution to institution but all the job requirements remain the same. First thing in the morning you would check the schedule to make sure sure that your outpatient schedule has not changed. You would then check the computer to see if the physicians had ordered any tests on patients in the hospital or in the emergency room. You would then set priorities, dealing with patients who are in Intensive Care units before those in the regular rooms. There are also patients who are scheduled as outpatients who take the monitoring equipment home. The last group is patients who are scheduled to stay at the hospital, usually for 5-7 days to determine if their epilepsy allows them to be surgical cases, for medication changes and to determine, in some cases, if they have epilepsy at all.
If you are in charge of outpatients, you check their dates of birth and social security numbers, measure their heads, apply 26 electrodes to the surface of their scalps and record a study for one hour. During this time patients are often be asked to open and close their eyes, count out loud, hyperventilate, sleep or have strobe lights flashed in their faces. When the study is completed, I have to clean off their heads, but after that they can leave. If you are in charge of the out-patients who are monitored at home you must apply the electrodes to the patient's head with glue (so they stay on multiple days) and then send them home with a waist-worn computer that monitors them for 24 hours at a time. Each day they have to return to re-gel their electrodes and to download the information from their computers. After a certain period of time the electrodes are removed from their heads. If you are admitted to the hospital for a period of time the same electrode application is done(with glue) and you are sent to one of four "epilepsy" rooms in the hospital where your EEG is continuously recorded and you are audio- and video-recorded also. An EEG technician's main job is to make sure that the patients are set up properly so that the physicians can interpret their studies clearly and precisely.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is dealing with different kinds of people. You meet and work with new patients and staff everyday.
The worst part of the job is that there are communication breakdowns that occur between EEG techs and doctors and nurses and sometimes you are stuck in the middle.
1. It is extremely helpful to take a the two-year END course to learn about being an EEG Technician.
2. Make sure you work in an environment where your boss and co-workers are supportive of you.
3. Stay in touch with supervisors where you have done your training! It never hurts when you are actually looking for full-time work.
Additional Thoughts: Being an EEG Technician you need to be VERY patient and kind. You need to be able to take orders from physicians with a smile and you need to prioritize your time every day.
The thing that surprised me the most was how many people "want" epilepsy or to be sick for many reasons. It just amazed me coming from a field where I had no patient contact. I came from a program that taught sleep technology where some of the basic concepts are the same but I found there was so much more I needed to know. My boss and co-workers are very helpful and I am taking course work toward my certification but I wish that I had enrolled in an END program first.
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