Polysomnography Job Overview

Polysomnography refers to the study of sleep. Often, people who are suspected of having a sleep disorder will spend the night in a sleep lab under close surveillance. This is where the polysomnographic technologist comes in. These individuals work in sleep labs to monitor patients and record the results. At the start of their shift, the tech will greet the patient and collect a basic medical history. Once the study is ready to begin, the tech will calibrate the equipment and hook the patient up to a series of sensors and wires, which transmit data about the patient’s brainwaves, breathing, and eye and body movements to equipment set up in the tech’s observation room. As the patient sleeps, the tech will stay in this observation room to monitor the information and record any special notes. At the end of the night, the tech removes the sensors and answers any questions. Once the patient has left, the tech goes through the collected data and summarizes the results for the sleep physician to analyze. In order to be a good sleep tech, you need to have strong math, anatomy, and technology skills. Attention to detail is necessary in order to read the graphs of the results and take accurate notes. You must also have good people skills, as you will spend a portion of each day interacting with patients of various ages, many of whom may have questions, be concerned about the procedure, or experience pain while sleeping. You need to be polite and professional with each patient. As a polysomnographic technologist, you should be prepared to spend long periods of time sitting at a computer. It’s also important to remember that most sleep studies are held at night, so most sleep techs work at night, though some do find work during the day, either monitoring shorter sleep studies or analyzing results from studies done the night before. Most sleep techs work in separate sleep labs, though some hospitals will have sleep labs associated with them. If you think polysomnographic technology is the right career choice for you, follow the links on the sidebar to continue the orientation.

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