Thursday, May 25, 2017

Building a Strong Educational Foundation

Sometimes life presents you with an allegory and this one really spoke to me.  Living here at the end of a private dirt road in Maine, I have many opportunities to observe nature closely.  The spring weekends here on the mid-coast have been rainy, cold and windy.  I came home from running errands to find bunches of twigs and bits of lichen, blown by the wind, scattered around my porch.   I looked up to see a very cold and frustrated robin perched on the lintel of a window, seeking shelter under the porch roof.  She had been trying to build a nest up there but the trim board was too narrow to hold her nest.  When she finally flew away, I gathered up her nesting materials and moved them to a protected eve that would make much more spacious digs for her.  I was hoping she would come back and try to build her nest there, but she must have looked at real estate elsewhere.

To me, the image of the robin’s nest defeated speaks to the need to choose wisely, start well before the storm arrives, and build a foundation that will last you a lifetime.   That foundation is your knowledge and the learning you acquire in your career.

I can’t tell you how many calls I get from technologists who have many years’ experience in neurodiagnostics, who love their jobs and seem dedicated to producing quality EEGs, but who never took the EEG Registry Exam, or attempted once and failed to pass the exam.  Their story always goes like this:  “My new administrator has set a goal of having all techs in the lab be registered.  If I don’t pass my Board Exam I will be out of a job.”

The thing is, that obtaining a credential is part of building a strong nest.   It prepares you for the future, even if your current job does not require a credential now.   I refer people to the ABRET website every day to read the eligibility requirements for the EEG Registry Exam but many technologists are not aware that their Pathway IV, for on-the-job trained technologists without a minimum of an Associate’s Degree, will be expiring at the end of this year.  If you entered the field after 2015 you cannot meet the requirements.   If you do still qualify, you’ll need to start studying and acquiring the 60 ASET CEUs required ASAP!   But build your knowledge to remain strong!   I have had techs call me to tell me that they need to prepare for the exam ASAP but they don’t have time to study, and ask me what I can recommend to get them up to speed quickly.   The answer is:  you can’t do this quickly!  The knowledge base required is substantial.  You’ll have to study a lot, whether using books or on-line courses!

Your mind cannot retain massive amounts of facts in one setting!   Frequent short study sessions and returning to review subjects often will help you recall topics you are learning.  If you are considering obtaining more education in neurodiagnostics and are not sure of the resources available to you, please contact me:

So, don’t be like my robin!   Build a strong foundation that won’t get blown away!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

For all areas of Neurodiagnostics: I am seeking ASET members to volunteer to serve as on-line course reviewers!

The ASET CEU Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving all ASET CEU applications submitted prior to awarding CEUs to any educational event or resource covering neurodiagnostic topics.  They are kept rather busy with all of the requests that come in:  regional society meetings, national meetings, hospital-based weekly or monthly record reviews, and webinars.

Recently we have noticed a trend, as we are seeing more requests for CEUs for on-line courses developed by various providers.  Reviewing on-line courses presents a unique challenge.  With more traditional educational events, contact hours are easy to calculate: 1 hour of lecture time = 1 CEU!  You can go by the clock for start and finish time of each lecture in a meeting program.

On-line courses do not have a specific start and end time.  So how do we determine contact hours?  The reading materials in an on-line course lesson may take one person 30 minutes to read and comprehend and take another person 60 minutes!   Factors that may affect time spent on a lesson include familiarity with the topic, overall reading skills and study habits.  A technologist who is a CNIM with years of experience in the O.R. may breeze through an on-line IONM course to obtain CEUs.  A technologist just starting to work in the O.R. will likely be unfamiliar with the topics covered and spend much more time on lessons.

This brings me to the new policy that the ASET CEU committee has established for the review of on-line courses submitted to us for ASET CEU approval.  We are going to develop a list of course reviewers to cover all areas of neurodiagnostics.  When an on-line course covering a specific modality comes in, we will contact the appropriate volunteer from that list to do a course review.  The provider of that course will be required to open that course to the designated reviewer.  The reviewer will go through all lessons, learning activities, quizzes and exams in that course while keeping a log of time it takes to complete these activities, and will report the results to the ASET CEU committee.  Determination of the contact hours will be based on this unbiased, third-party assessment.

We will award the course reviewer 5 ASET CEUs for completing the review, regardless of the number of CEUs calculated, since the review of the course can be considered an educational opportunity.

It is important to note that once assigned a course, we will require that the course review begin promptly and that you are able to report your findings within a month in order to fulfill our obligation to reply to the applicant in a reasonable time frame. 

If you would like to be included on a list of course reviewers, please contact me at and I will send you a short form to fill out which will provide basic information so that we can include you on a list.  I will also be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Attention Neurodiagnostic Technologists! Read about opportunities ASET is offering now!

I want to highlight two very different opportunities for neurodiagnostic technologists.
Are you getting ready to take the ABRET EEG Exam?

If you are planning to take the ABRET EEG Registry Exam and are seeking ASET CEUs for one of their eligibility pathways, or if you simply need help to prepare for the exam and enhance your chance of passing the exam, please consider coming to the spring 2017 ASET EEG Boot Camp!

We are hosting the EEG Boot Camp on the University of Alabama campus in Birmingham, AL on April 22 and 23rd.  We offer 14 contact hours covering the topics you will need to know for the exam.  We include multiple interactive workshops in the course so that you can practice concepts as you learn them.  We also include lectures about all kinds of EEG patterns and clinical correlations to improve your EEG pattern recognition skills.  view EEG Boot Camp course schedule
  The early bird registration rate is offered until March 24th so please sign up soon and save on the registration fee.  Link to ASET seminar registration: register for the EEG Boot Camp

We have reserved a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, in walking distance of the UAB campus for the very reasonable rate of $119 per night.  Please note that our room block expires on March 24th, so please do not delay making your reservation!  Here is the link to the hotel information:  hotel information.

If you don’t need EEG Boot Camp, how about presenting an abstract at the ASET annual conference in Tucson, AZ?  We are currently seeking both platform presentation abstracts and poster abstracts.  Abstract presenters get free registration for the day of their presentation, so this represents a savings worth considering!    Abstract topics are very diverse!  You can do a case study, discuss a new lab protocol, a management topic, a research topic, or you name it!  Here is a link to our abstract application.  We have a due date of March 15th!  Abstracts will be presented on Aug. 10 & 11th.  Here is a link to the ASET Annual Conference Abstract Application: abstract application
Platform abstracts have 30 minute time slots.  Posters are on display in the exhibit hall and on our meeting app.
As added incentive to consider an abstract I have included a picture of the lovely La Paloma Resort, where we have rooms available for $90 per night!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Is the Neurodiagnostic Equipment you are using keeping patient data secure?

Although most techs do get HIPPA compliance training on a yearly basis, you won’t want to miss next week’s ASET monthly webinar, on Wed. Feb. 15th!  It is not about general guidelines and refraining from talking about patient care in the elevator!

 The topic is about HIPPA compliance for our neurodiagnostic equipment.  I heard Simon Griffin give a short version of this talk as an abstract at the 2016 ASET annual conference in Pittsburgh.  His discussion is a real eye opener!  He asks some reality check questions about the equipment that we leave in various places all over the hospital.   We enter a lot of patient data right at the recording system these days, including patient history.  We leave these systems at patients’ bedsides overnight, untended. 

We have remote monitors set up in nursing stations so that others can see what is going on in the epilepsy monitoring unit’s patient rooms.  Who else might take note of what is going on in the patient rooms via that monitor in addition to the nursing staff who assist with monitoring patients?

Do you have one password for all systems you use in the department?  Who might discover passwords and use them without your knowledge?

Simon is an excellent speaker and an expert on neurodiagnostic equipment so don’t miss this one!
This informative ASET webinar begins at 1:00 p.m. EST, noon CST on Wed. Feb. 15th.  To register for the live event and have an opportunity to discuss your concerns with our speaker, please use this link to go to our registration webpage:  webinar registration
If you can't attend the live event, we will have the recording available for purchase soon after the event.  The pricing for both the live and the recorded event is $25 for ASET members, and $40 for non-members.  One ASET CEU is awarded to those who complete the webinar quiz.  A separate webinar quiz is available for purchase.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Intra-operative monitoring technique will revolutionize the use of MEPs

This ASET webinar takes place tomorrow, Wed. January 18, at noon central time.   The presenter is Dr. Ernesto Lima.  The topic is “"Linked Quadri-Polar MEP Stimulation for Minimizing Body Movement" This webinar will be recorded and made available for purchase for those of you who cannot participate tomorrow.  The cost of the webinar is $25 for ASET members and $40 for non-members.  There will be one ASET CEU awarded for the webinar, when participants purchase and complete the webinar quiz.

To register for the live event follow directions on the ASET website: ASET webinar information

Check our website under “recorded webinars” early next week to purchase the recorded version.

Dr. Lima first presented this topic as an abstract at the ASET 2016 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  There was quite a buzz in the room with lots of questions and positive comments about the technique he explained, and attendees crowded around him after his presentation to talk more about this new technique.  This is quite revolutionary and may change the way you do MEPs in the O.R.

He will describe a new way to link electrodes to obtain a more generalized spread of the current during stimulation.  This will allow you to do more frequent MEPs without objection from the surgeon who does not appreciate the distraction caused by frequent relocation of stimulating electrodes.   Now you can do MEPs even during intradural tumor resection and do it safely with little to no movement using the linked Quadripolar technique.  Listen to Dr. Lima's presentation a find out how.  Hint - head measurement is key.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Year’s Resolution: Add to your Neuro-diagnostic Skills and Knowledge

With the end of the year approaching, some neurodiagnostic technologists are due to renew an ABRET credential:  R.EEG T, R. EP T, CLTM, CNIM’s may be expiring and require a specific number of CEUs to maintain your credential.  All ABRET credentials will now be valid for 5 years and require 30 CEUs at the five year mark to recertify.  To find out exactly when your credential expires and how to file your CEUs with ABRET, please go to their website, and click on “For Certificants”. You can also look up your own credentials under “For Employers” if you do not know what year you obtained an ABRET credential.

If you have not yet taken an ABRET exam but plan to do so as a career goal, it is never too early to begin preparation for the exam and start studying.  It is important to note that for the R. EEG T. Exam, pathway #4, which applies to on-the-job trained techs who do not have a minimum of an Assoicate’s Degree, will expire at the end of 2017.  To be able to continue with that pathway you must pass Part I of the ABRET EEG exam by the end of 2017.   At this time, I do not have information about future pathways that might replace the current Pathway #4.  ABRET will keep us informed via their website.

Whether you have a neurodiagnostic credential, are planning to take a credentialing exam, are new to the field or have been involved in neurodiagnostics for many years, continuing education is a vital key to staying current in the field.  Please consider giving yourself the gift of education.  It is really less of a luxury than many material items that you might consider purchasing for yourself.  ASET has a full curriculum of on-line courses for each major neurodiagnostic modality.  To view the courses, please go to the "Shop" button on our home page and shop for "on-line courses".

It is important to note: this free resource for updating your knowledge of your areas of practice:
The American Clinical Neurophysiology Society published updated guidelines in 2016.
  The next issue of ASET’s Journal, “The Neurodiagnostic Journal” will reprint these guidelines, so if you are an ASET member you will soon receive your copy in the mail.  For non-members you can read all of the guidelines directly on the ACNS website,  It is really important to be familiar with the guidelines when performing neurodiagnostic studies, and of course, also important for studying for exams.

ASET has an exciting year of educational opportunities in 2017!  Our spring seminar course will be held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Birmingham on April 22-23, and we will offer the ASET EEG Boot Camp, for two days of intensive study and workshops on EEG topics appropriate for exam prep. 

The fall 2017 ASET Seminar will take place on Oct. 28 & 29th, and will include the EEG Boot Camp and an Advanced EEG/LTM course running concurrently, and our host is the Yale New Haven Medical Center in Connecticut.  I realize that there is a huge need for education in New York state and the metropolitan area.  The train service from NY to New Haven is very convenient and I hope that you can attend.

In December, we will host the one-day LTM course at the AES meeting in Washington D.C.  This will be the third time we have sponsored a course at this conference, and each year attendance grows. We’ll post more information on exact date, time and topics early in 2017.

Not to be missed is the 2017 ASET annual conference!   We’ll be in Tucson, AZ at a lovely mountain-side resort, La Paloma.  There are several pools and dining options, nearby attractions and activities for the family, and an unbelievable room rate of $90 per night!

If you can’t travel for education this year, don’t despair!   Our webinar program is very interesting!

The webinar program is now on our website:  ASET webinars

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Neurodiagnostic Continuing Education Credits for ASET 2016 Annual Conference Plenary Session Recordings

Plenary sessions are defined as presentations that are on the program for all conference participants to attend, as opposed to breakout sessions when several presentations run concurrently.  The ASET 2016 Annual Conference hosted a total of four plenary sessions.  If you did not have the opportunity to attend our conference this year, you can now view these highlights of our meeting!  These presentations were recorded and are now available in the ASET on-line store!
The Lewis Kull Memorial Keynote Address:  “The Story of Music and Memory” by Robin Lombardo. This presentation is based on the documentary movie, “Alive Inside” which was the most awarded docu-drama of 2014, including a Sundance Film Festival Award.  This inspirational topic reveals the amazing improvement in Alzheimer’s patients when they are able to listen to music that has meaning for them.  An organization has been created to enable as many patients as possible to have access to an I-Pod and recorded music.  She explains the neurophysiology of music in the brain, and the many areas of the brain that are involved in processing music and the relationship to memory.  You will see video clips that show the remarkable change in the patients listening to music and hear their stories.  If you perform tests on dementia patients you can benefit from incorporating this technique in the lab environment.  You may also know a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, or will in the future!   Statistics reveal that 1 in 9 Americans over 65 have been diagnosed with this disease.
What attendees said about the Keynote Address:

“It was fascinating to learn about how music can trigger brain functions that have been otherwise lost in dementia patients!”

“Very moving and encouraging presentation. Great to hear the advances being made with medicine that touches the soul.”

“She was a great speaker! She made me laugh and cry. I loved the topic. I will incorporate with my great aunt.”

“Very informative and interesting presentation. I learned a lot about how music can help people with dementia retrieve memories and engage in a way that they hadn't previously been able to for some time. I will definitely use what I learned to help some people in my life as well as patients that I may come into contact with.”
The Ellen Grass Lecture:  “It’s Never Too Late to Make a Difference with Neurodiagnostics” by Nikesh Ardeshna, M.D.  This inspirational presentation will help you understand just how valuable our services are within the field of health care!  Most of us can recount at least one patient whose life we changed when a test or monitoring session we conducted revealed findings that led to an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment to improve the patient’s health.  Dr. Ardeshna shares several case histories with EEG findings to illustrate how patients may live with an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed medical condition until EEG monitoring provided the much needed clue to determine proper treatment.

What attendees said about Dr. Ardeshna’s talk:

“Interesting and engaging, material was extremely relevant”

“Very interesting and informative. Love the examples of the more difficult cases that can be misdiagnosed.”

“All three case studies were very interesting and helps to remind us all about perseverance to aide patients have better health.”

The Kathleen Mears Memorial Lecture:  “Go For the Gold:  Essential Skills for Technologists” by Jerry Morris, R NCS T, CNCT, MS, FASET by Jerry Morris, R. NCS T, CNCT, FASET, MS.

This is a very motivational presentation!  Jerry encourages us all to do our very best, in everything we do for our professional and personal lives.  Using the analogy of the dedication it takes to win an Olympic medal, he provides insight into the ways we can change our perspective, think positively and set goals for career development.  This presentation will re-energize you and boost your confidence, and refresh your interest in your work!

What attendees said about Jerry’s talk:

“Excellent presentation about the strategy on how to be confident, communicative to be success in the career.”

“Good information presented. A good reminder about what makes a person succeed.”

“So wonderful! This was so important to me since I am not yet a registered technologist and although I am very motivated in achieving that, it's hard not to be extra 'pumped up' after this presentation. Again Jerry rocks- the talk was inspiring!”

The 2016 Symposium:  “Urgent!  Licensure Lifeboat to Protect Neurodiagnostic Technology Scope of Practice”- Panelists: Marisha Hamid, Kathryn Hansen, Scott Blodgett and Craig Schweitzer
Present and imminent threats to our Scope of Practice abound.  Neurodiagnostic Technologists have lost their jobs to non-credentialed and inexperienced replacements as hospitals and clinics struggle to cut cost. Without a license to protect our scope of practice, others will take ownership of duties traditionally performed by Neurodiagnostic Technologists.. Having a license specific to neurodiagnostics is the best way to protect our jobs and ensure quality testing for our patients. To protect our scope of practice and the patients we serve we need to come together and support the enactment of legislation requiring a professional license to perform neurodiagnostic procedures.  You will hear from fellow neurodiagnostic technologists who have been on the front lines of this effort. They will review the progress we have made so far, and share with you their experiences and provide you with information on how you can help protect your job and patients.

What attendees said about the Symposium:

“Very well done to emphasize the need for licensure and how to begin the process in your state!”

“Understanding the newest politics being introduced is fantastic and seeing the evolution of the field change with current times is inspiring.”

“Amazing! I had no idea how important, imperative really, state licensure truly is... thank you!”

“Informative to the future of the security of our profession.  The call to action was heard and the urgency was felt.”
The three lectures each offer 1 CEU, that is one contact hour, as the lectures are each 1 hour long.  The cost to purchase the recorded lecture is $25 for ASET members and $40 for non-members.  You must pass the short quiz for each lecture in order to obtain the CEUs.  If you would like to feature one of these sessions for an educational staff meeting, the entire group may acquire CEUs for participating.  Individuals will each need to purchase just the CEU quiz for the presentation and complete it with a passing grade.  There are no more than 10 multiple choice questions in the quizzes. We are offering the Symposium recording free of charge, without CEUs.
This was the first year that we tried recording the plenary sessions.  Our goal was to make the highlights of the ASET annual conference available to members and technologists around the country who were not able to come to the conference.  I hope you enjoy hearing these wonderful presentations, and that after viewing these recordings you will be tempted to come to the full conference.

If these recordings do well in our on-line store we will continue to record specific sessions during future ASET conferences. 
Here is a link to the annual conference recordings on our website: Presentations
Here is a link to the separate quiz for the presentations for groups viewing, to obtain CEUs: Quizzes