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Career Story: Sleep Technician At A Hospital Sleep Disorder Clinic

Sleep Technician At A Hospital Sleep Disorder Clinic

Job Title: Sleep Tech

Type of Company: I work for a hospital.

Education: BA, Psychology

Previous Experience: I worked for a different hospital and a different sleep center.

Job Tasks: I greet new patients as they enter the sleep lab. I am responsible for doing sleep tests and treatments for two patients a night. The tests are designed to discover if the patient has a sleep disorder. I put wires and belts and probes all over each patient -- some thirty electrodes in all. Some patients come in for a diagnostic test; others who've already come in are returning for the treatment of sleep apnea, a not uncommon disorder characterized by snoring and breathing problems. The patients who come for treatment are treated much the same way as those arriving for tests; they're plastered over with electrodes and have to wear a sleeping mask that covers their nose (or nose and mouth).

While the patients are sleeping I monitor all the signals on the computers and start to analyze the data, adjusting electrodes and stimulation as needed. I also attend to the patients' needs. If a patient has to go to the bathroom, for example, I go in and unplug some of the equipment to allow him to get out of bed. In the morning, once the test is completed, I strip the equipment from the patient and ply him with paperwork. I clean and restock too. I fill out paperwork too.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I meet a lot of interesting people. Once everyone is in bed the Lab is often very quiet. I like the quiet. I work with very nice and cooperative people and the hospital has a very special divine energy that most can sense. I only work 2-3 nights a week and though they're long I get them out of the way at the beginning of the week so I have time to do other things I enjoy.

Job Tips: You need to be able to work all night long -- 7AM to 7PM -- with plenty of focus and energy.

You need to be very compassionate with patients. And it doesn't hurt to have patience either.

You need to be able to be flexible and confident.

Places hiring sleep techs now may be looking for some schooling background in sleep or having passed a specific test.

You need to be quiet as patients are sleeping.

You need to be able to communicate well and be open to people.

Additional Thoughts: It is a great field to get into if it is of any interest to you. Lots of people have sleep disorders who don't even know it. The one we encounter most often is sleep apnea. It used to be little known but there is plenty of information about it now, so if it's something you are interested in, check it out. Also if you snore you might want to get a sleep test. Snoring is an indication that there is a restriction of breathing. If it is bad enough and goes untreated for long it can cause devastating medical problems.

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