Monday, July 16, 2018

Epilepsy 911: A Special Event at the 2018 ASET Annual Conference

This is a community service event, hosted by ASET, to take place in conjunction with the ASET 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans.  We are offering a 4 hour educational session for Emergency Service Personnel, EMTs and First Responders, on the topic of urgent care for epilepsy patients.  Neurodiagnostic technologists are also invited to attend, and CEUs will be offered to both EMTs and technologists.

Because Neurodiagnostic Techs really care about their patients and because we work so closely with epilepsy patients, we understand many of the challenges they face.  We know how important it is for the urgent intervention of seizures to be conducted correctly.  Bystanders, family and the first responders have to recognize the event as a seizure, and begin appropriate treatment.  It is not always easy to recognize a seizure that includes atypical symptoms, or pediatric seizures such as infantile spasms.  Appropriate treatment must be started quickly.  Complications and co-morbidities can become life-threatening.  Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy is not well known, even in the medical community! 

We have invited the EMTs in the NOLA area to come to this session on Wed. Aug. 15th, from 1:0Op.m., the day before the ASET annual conference begins.  The course will be held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, at 601 Loyola Ave, New Orleans.

We have four very interesting and informational presentations scheduled, and expert speakers lined up.
For technologists: you can register for this event via the ASET meeting registration form.

For EMTs: please contact me at to register for this event.

Here is the full program description: 

Epilepsy 911 Course description:  This course would include 4 contact hours on topics related to the emergency care of patients with epilepsy.  The goal is to ensure that EMS providers will be able to rapidly recognize various seizure types, conduct a comprehensive initial assessment, and provide appropriate emergency management of seizures. 


Delivery method:  Lecture to include videos of various seizures recorded in the Long Term Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, as well as non-epileptic events.  Handout: seizure classification and symptoms

Learning objectives:

·         list the major categories of seizures according to the International Classification of Seizures

·         recognize symptoms of all seizure types common to adult patients

·         differentiate seizures from non-epileptic events which may resemble seizures

·         consider factors that may have contributed to the seizure

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.   Pediatric and Neonatal Seizures – An Overview of Symptoms and Causes     
 Shannon McGuire , M.D.,
Children’s Hospital, New Orleans                        

Delivery method:  Lecture to include videos of pediatric and neonatal seizures and a description of seizure symptoms, and an overview of pediatric epilepsy syndromes.  Handout: pediatric epileptic syndromes, neonatal seizure symptoms

Learning objectives:

·         name the seizure disorders and epileptic syndromes that occur in childhood

·         recognize the subtle seizure symptoms of the neonate

·         recognize life-threatening events and contributing factors to seizures

3:00- 3:15 p.m.    Break

Delivery mechanism: Lecture to include definitions of complications, examples, case studies, and handout to include these definitions.

Learning objectives:

·         Define parameters of status epilepticus and recognize this life-threatening situation

·         Recognize features of the post-ictal state

·         List factors that contribute to SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy)

·         Name various co-morbidities that occur as a result of epilepsy

·         Develop an awareness of the social implications of epilepsy and how the patient and family may react to the occurrence of seizures, and that non-compliance with anti-convulsant drug regimen may contribute to breakthrough seizures and atypical seizures.

4:15-5:15 p.m.   Assessment of Seizures and Current Trends in Emergency Management of Seizures   
Speaker: Rana Abusoufeh, M.D.,
Louisiana State University Health, New Orleans, LA                  

Delivery mechanism: lecture, video examples of seizure assessment, case studies, handout with tips for assessing and documenting seizure activity

Learning objectives:

·         List methods to assess patient alertness and ability to respond

·         Develop skills to document a wide variety of seizure symptoms through astute patient observation

·         Determine which standard treatment options are appropriate for age, seizure type and other contributing factors

·         Discuss future assessment techniques that may be offered in the pre-hospital environment, such as EEG monitoring with telemetry

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Joy of a Great Dad

I am thinking about Father’s Day, and wishing my dad was still here.  He was my best buddy.  I often think about how much he did for me, in terms of building confidence which has helped me get through so many things in life.   My dad was a welder and I was his only daughter.  So, he took me with him to his welding shop from the time I could walk.  He taught me the names of all the tools in his shop.  He showed me how to use tools and always led me to believe that I could do whatever I wanted to do, as well as anyone else.   This is a picture of my daughter sitting on my dad's welding truck, she experienced the same tomboy joys of hanging out with her grandpa.

 We had a little camp on a lake so we always had a boat.  He let me drive the boat from his lap when I was small and showed me how to read a chart to navigate around the lake. I have a boat of my own now, and it is my favorite thing to do in my life.  

I wanted to try to swim for a long distance, so he took out a row boat and followed me and let me swim as long as I could.

Later on, when I was learning to drive, he showed me how to change the oil in a car and how to change a tire, which I ended up actually having to do one winter afternoon on a lonely country road.  He even managed to get me interested in driving motorcycles by letting me use an old dirt bike to practice in the lot behind the shop.

Because he proved to me that I was capable, I grew up willing to take on challenges, and learn new things.  This is how I ended up going to a one-year program to learn EEG technology back in 1978!  And the challenges kept coming, as I progressed through my career: learning how to do IONM, taking on lab management, becoming an instructor then a program director, and then working for ASET!   

Whether you develop your confidence with the help of your family, or do it on your own, the most important message I have for you, is to keep trying and challenge yourself!  Take that new job!  Set a goal of passing a credentialing exam!  Go back to school part time at night and get a degree!  That is how I got my Master’s in Education and it has opened a thousand doors for me!

Keep growing, keep learning!  Never give up!

And I hope you have a loving dad too, and can think of the things he did for you, and celebrate that special person in your life.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Neurodiagnostic Technology Continuing Education: ASET Annual Conference Program New Orleans: Installment #1

I have been working on the ASET 2018 annual conference program since January of this year and I was so very excited when the full program came together! I now have confirmed all sessions and it looks like a lot of fun and a great learning experience!   I also want to thank those of you who submitted abstract applications!  These are a great addition to the program, with a lot of variety in the 20 platform presentations and 18 poster presentations!

I will be highlighting various sessions in the next few blog entries, to share my excitement and build interest in signing up for this conference.  Our registration brochure is going to print will be in the mail to you soon!  We have an electronic version on our website that you may view using this link: 2018 ASET Conference Brochure

I would like to start by introducing our Keynote Speaker, Cynthia Christie, who is a professional speaker and consultant for team-building in the health care industry.  She promises to bring us the most interactive plenary session ever, “Critical Thinking for the Health Care Team: Accelerated Skill Building”!  Everyone in the audience is invited to participate in a unique challenge.   She uses a simulation situation to get small teams to solve a puzzle in three minutes.  Then teams think through what they could do differently to improve their skill as a team, and another round gives them the opportunity to try another approach.   This will be a great way to start the day and get to know other attendees, and to get to know yourself better as well.

Then, our Ellen Grass Lecturer is Dr. Aatif Husain, from Duke University.  Dr. Husain has been active with the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society for years, and is a past president of ACNS.  He has also been very active with ABRET.  He is a strong advocate of technologists, recognizing their high level of skill and their contributions to neurophysiology.  Dr. Husain’s presentation, “Clinical Neurophysiology in the Treatment of Disease” will be a fascinating overview of ways in which neurodiagnostic modalities will be used in new ways in the future.  Dr. Husain has extensive knowledge and experience with many areas of Neurodiagnostics, from EEG to Long Term Monitoring, clinical Evoked Potentials and Intraoperative Neuro Monitoring, and he will inspire us to look to the future of our profession.

The early bird registration rates expire on July 6th so don’t delay, register today!
Please use this link to our conference registration on our website: Conference Registration

Our hotel room block expires on July 17, and we have completely filled our room block in recent years so please make your reservations soon!  The hotel information is at this link:  ASET conference hotel information

Thursday, April 19, 2018

National Neurodiagnostic Week, and the International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology meeting

I could not let Neurodiagnostic Week slip by without posting a blog entry to celebrate with all of you! 
In early May the 31st meeting of the International Congress of Clinical Neurophysiology will take place in Washington, D.C.  This organization has met in major cities all over the world, so it is a privilege to have the meeting in the United States this year.  The American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) is our physician organization and their annual meeting has been combined with this meeting also.
ASET will be represented there as well with a booth in the exhibit hall.  And we are hosting a symposium during the program.  Our goal is to reach out to the global Neurodiagnostic community.  
The ASET Symposium is titled:  Growing the Optimal Neurodiagnostic Workforce

This symposium will provide a road map for creating the ideal team of neurodiagnostic technologists.  Our symposium will be on  Friday, May 4th from 14:45 to 16:15 2:45- 4:15 p.m.
At the Marriott Wardman Park.  To see the full ICCN2018 program and registration information:

Technologists may register for the congress held on May 3-6 for $300 in advance, or $375 on-site.
Here is what our 90 minute program will include:

Education Without Boundaries: Self-directed Distance Learning in Neurodiagnostics - Maureen Carroll, R.EEG/EP T, CNIM, RPSGT

This is an overview of the educational resources and technological tools that are available to build a skilled, efficient neurodiagnostic team and to enhance communications and patient care.  With the increased demand for continuous EEG monitoring and intraoperative monitoring, combined with the future shortage of technologists and neurologists, it is essential that each member of the team is developed to their highest potential.
Learning objectives:
   list resources available for educational support to build skills
   provide examples of innovative staff development options 
   create a time line for skill development and supervise learning activities.

The Road from Didactics to Clinical Competence in Neurodiagnostics –   Cheryl Plummer, R.EEG T, CLTM
Entry level technologists may learn much about the theory and application of neurophysiology techniques by using on-line courses.  However, it is essential to include hands-on skill development in the clinical setting to foster competence in the technical and patient care components of neurodiagnostic procedures.  To ensure proper training, clinical supervision and documentation of skill development is required.
Learning objectives:
   Organize a skill development program including monthly goals to be met by entry level staff
   Compose and utilize skills assessment documents
   Support clinical preceptors to develop good assessment and communication techniques when interacting with trainees.

OSET: Global Neurodiagnostic Educational Resources through OSET – Maggie Marsh Nation

The field of neurodiagnostic technology varies greatly across the globe, with some countries requiring a four-year degree to enter the field and in other countries no formal education is available.  The challenge for OSET is to support neurodiagnostic education world-wide. This presentation will include an overview of the state of neurodiagnostics internationally, including developing nations and the ways in which OSET, the international organization provides outreach across the globe.
Learning objectives:  Compare and contrast neurodiagnostic education and practice in developing countries and those with highly developed health care systems   Discuss options for aiding in the development of neurodiagnostic skills and practice through OSET

If you can’t attend the international meeting in Washington D.C. then please consider coming to the 2018 ASET Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. 
 The dates are Aug. 16-18 and we have a very exciting program this year!  We have just posted the conference program schedule on the ASET website.
  We will be adding information here:ASET annual conference information   
The conference brochure will be mailed out early in May.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What is an abstract and why should I consider authoring one?

An abstract is a short descriptive statement that explains a larger work or presentation.  The ASET annual conference program includes platform (oral) and poster abstract presentations.  An abstract presentation provides an opportunity to share innovative ideas, new techniques and interesting case studies. 

When completing an abstract application form for the ASET annual conference, you are required to compose a 100-200 word abstract to be included with the application.  The abstract is essentially a proposal that explains what you intend to present.  The ASET Program Committee will review all abstracts to ensure that content is appropriate and there is no conflict of interest.  Once accepted by the program committee, I will notify you of acceptance, and I will assign you a presentation time if a platform abstract.  Platform presentations slots are 30 minutes long.  We recommend that you end your presentation with 5 minutes to spare, to allow time for questions. 

For poster abstract presenters I will provide a schedule of poster viewing times.  We ask poster abstract presenters to stay with their posters during these official viewing times, to interact with attendees and give them time to chat with you about your topic.

What are the advantages of presenting an abstract?

·         You will get free meeting registration for the day of your presentation

·         Your abstract will be published in the December issue of the ASET Journal, “The Neurodiagnostic Journal”.  This means that your abstract will also appear in larger bodies of scientific data, such as PubMed.  You will be a “published author” and that can be included in your curriculum vitae.

·         Your audience will benefit from the sharing of information and opportunity to hear new ideas and network to provide the best neurodiagnostic services possible.

·         You’ll have an opportunity to try public speaking with a very short presentation, sharing something you know, to build your confidence in a supportive environment.

Tips for writing an abstract:
Be concise:  you only have 100-200 words!

Answer these questions:

·         What is the importance or reason for your research, project or case study?

·         What problem does this work highlight and attempt to solve?

·         What methods did you use?

·         What were your results?

·         What are the implications or advantages of your work?

We are currently seeking abstracts for the ASET 2018 Annual Conference in New Orleans.  Abstract presentations will take place on Aug. 16 & 17.  I encourage you to complete an abstract application prior to the March 15 deadline for submission.  You can access a downloadable, printable abstract application form or choose the on-line application version at our website using this link:
on-line abstract application

printable abstract form
What’s your idea?

I’d love to hear from you!  If you have questions or wish to run an idea by me, please contact me directly at:   or 816-931-1120  ext 108

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Informational Videos about Neurodiagnostic Technology on the ASET Website

It’s the day after Christmas and here in Maine we had a very white Christmas, as we were graced by two winter storms, one two days before Christmas and one on Christmas Day, which lasted all day!  This winter wonderland photo is the view from my porch after these storms.

The ASET Elves have been hard at work in their video studio workshop to create two new videos to help promote neurodiagnostic technology as a career.   It has been a long term strategic goal of ASET to build a qualified workforce and promote the development of sufficient formal education in Neurodiagnostics to add more skilled graduates to relieve the chronic nation-wide short staffing our neurodiagnostic departments.  I am really proud of the work that our committees and staff have done on these videos, and very impressed with the results.

The first video is one that could be played on a video monitor in a neurophysiology department waiting room or at a Neurodiagnostic Week promotional display.  This one explains the work that techs do and the kinds of tests we typically perform.  The target audience is the general public and anyone who may referred for neurodiagnostic testing. 
To view this video, please use this link: Public Service video about Neurodiagnostic Testing

The second video, recently completed and made available on our website, is more of a career information video, describing the work we do and the benefits of a career in Neurodiagnostics.  This one would be ideal to use when presenting information at a school to promote interest in our profession.  We will be adding this video to our ambassador program tool kit.
  To view this video, please use this link: Neurodiagnostic technologist career video

Our third new video is a short animated feature about the importance of licensure for Neurodiagnostic Technologists and to promote credentialing and regulation of practice in our industry to ensure that patients always receive the highest quality care and the best outcome of their diagnostic work-up or monitoring session.

  To view this video, please use this link: Licensure Public Service Announcement

I encourage all ASET members to show these videos to your patients, staff and at regional meetings to engage others to use these videos to educate the general public about our skills, our career and our future.  
(Maddie, myYellow Lab on Christmas Eve)

May 2018 bring good things to us all!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Attention all R. EEG T’s and R. EP T’s! New Rule on certification of ABRET credentials may affect YOU!

If you don’t have access to the ASET Newsletter and have not gone to the ABRET website recently, I am going to share this important update with you, and provide some explanation.

An article in the Fall 2017 ASET Newsletter announced a change in the rules for recertificaton of ABRET credentials.  If you were awarded the R. EEG T. or R EP T.  credential between 1964 and 2001, this was considered a “lifetime credential”.  However, ABRET has announced that ALL R. EEG Ts, and R. EP T’s will need to recertify in the future by obtaining 30 CEUs every 5 years moving forward.

There is a six-year span for the phasing-in of this new rule.  Technologists who had a lifetime credential may acquire CEUs starting August 1, 2017 through December 31, 2023.   The CEUs must be submitted to ABRET before the 2023 deadline, and instructions for how to complete the process can be found on the ABRET website, at the “For Certificants” tab.  At this tab you will also find information on “Acceptable Continuing Education”.  Basically, the CEUs you submit must be on topics related to your credential.  There is a “Recertification Handbook” on the ABRET website, and if you have additional questions, you are encouraged to contact them directly via the ABRET website,

If you plan to retire, and are not planning to seek CEUs and go through the first recertification process, you can request ABRET to give you “Emeritus” status.  However, your registry will eventually expire and if you go back to working as a technologist after retirement, you will be listed as “credential expired” in the ABRET database.

Now that I have shared the news with you, I would like to share my insight into this ruling, since I am sure a few of my contemporaries who passed the EEG Registry Exam “in the old days” will perhaps find this difficult to accept.  Of course, as Director of Education for ASET, I have been an advocate of education on all levels for technologists!  I am a firm believer in “Life Long Learning”, whether it be work-related skills, or learning a new sport or hobby!  We learn so much over a lifetime!  A quote from Issac Asimov:  "The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying"

The thing is, that for health care professionals, passing a credentialing exam is a declaration that you have met a minimum standard of skills and knowledge to do your job.  This indicates to your patients that you are competent to care for them and provide the necessary services required aid in the diagnosis and treatment of their medical conditions.  In virtually all other areas of allied health, when it comes to exams, continuing education is required ( respiratory therapy, radiology, physical therapy, and of course nursing.)  We sell ourselves and our credentials short and reduce credibility for the NDT credentials by separating out a group of individuals who do not have to seek CEUs. 

We can all agree that advances in medicine and health care technology occur at an amazingly rapid rate these days.  Without a doubt, some of these changes affect the way we interact with patients and perform tests and monitoring.  Did you know about the updates to the International Classification of Seizures?  Did you know about the recent changes in the ACNS guidelines for performing various NDT modalities? 

I think it is a good thing to be held responsible for maintaining current knowledge which will help us all provide the best patient care possible.  We at ASET will do our best to offer you interesting and meaningful continuing education that is affordable.  Investing in our future and the safety and well-being of our patients is a good thing! 

The primary factor which influenced ABRET’s decision to phase out lifetime credentials has to do with their goal to have all of their credentialing exams certified by a third party organization which provides a comprehensive assessment and review of professional examinations.  ABRET credentials will gain recognition and credibility if outside certification is obtained.  Exams that award a lifetime credential and do not require CEUs cannot obtain approval for the exam process.  So, in order to comply with industry standards, ABRET had to update their rules.

Let’s all get on board with this, since we do very important and detailed work and deserve respect and recognition as health care professionals!   I will close this blog entry with a link to the Wikipedia definition of “Health Care Professionals”.  Scroll down to the last section on “Regulation and Registration” and think about it…  Wikipedia