Monday, May 6, 2019

News from the ASET Director of Education: My retirement


Greetings to all the neurodiagnostic techs, physicians and ASET members who are reading my blog

The view from here:  I will be sharing my afternoon naps in the hammock with a bald eagle now and then!



This will be my final blog entry as Director of Education for ASET.  On May 17th I will be retiring from this most wonderful of jobs!  It was a great run at 14 years!  I am grateful to all of my ASET friends for helping me in so many ways!  There were countless times when I sought someone to give a presentation on a specific topic and there was always someone willing to step up to the podium, sometimes as a last minute replacement for a speaker.  This week I will be celebrating my 68th birthday, and I started working at the age of 15, scooping ice cream at the local dairy stand.  Work of some sort has been a part of my life ever since. I went to a one year school for EEG technology in 1978 and knew then that I had found my calling!  I loved everything about this work!  I loved getting to know patients and spending time with them, since EEGs take a while and you have to get a good history and keep patients relaxed with good conversation.  I loved seeing the first pages of the EEG after finishing lead placement, always a surprise to see an abnormality when you really didn’t think it would be an abnormal study!  The only thing that I did not like was the ink and the way the pens would get blocked.  I often had black ink on my hands and on my lab coat from cleaning the pen system.  You didn’t have to drag me into the era of the digital EEG!

What I really loved about working in clinical neurophysiology was the sheer variety of daily work!  In one day, the work included doing four or five EEGs, some out-patients, some in-patients, sometimes to the ICU or neonatal ICU, somedays to the O.R. with an LTM patient.  I have always said, this career offers so many choices for career paths that you can find your special niche.

If you want to read the ASET newsletter article from the Spring 2019 issue about my retirement, please use this link:  https://newsletter.aset.org/tribute-to-faye-mcnall-aset-director-of-education-2005-2019/

Thanks so much to Maureen Carroll and Anna Bonner for writing this article and thanks to all ASET members who contributed a tribute for the article.  You guys had me crying for sure!

Linda Kelly, R.EEG/EPT, RNCST, CNCT, BS will be the new ASET Director of Education and she will do a fantastic job.  It gives me great joy to turn the reins over to her, knowing that she will be dedicated to making ASET’s Education the best that it can be!  She has been training with me for some time and has some great ideas for the future.

I will get to see all of my ASET friends at the 2019 ASET Annual Conference in Kansas City!  I am honored to be presenting the Kathleen Mears Lecture: The View from here: A Perspective on Neurodiagnostic Technology. 

From my abstract…

“Over the past fourteen years, in my role as ASET’s Director of Education, I have had the unique opportunity and privilege of communicating with many people every day, from across the country, to across the globe.  The diverse range of callers include neurodiagnostic technologists, physicians, and those seeking advice to enter this field.  My presentation will include a reflection on the many questions asked, and most pressing concerns shared with me.  Based on the “top ten” questions asked by callers, I have determined the key trends and concerns related to the practice of Neurodiagnostic Technology.  Key workforce issues and supporting data will be included.  I will also provide suggestions for resources that can be used to address those questions.  When contemplating the overall message that becomes apparent in reviewing the years of conversations, I find that there are many uplifting and inspirational thoughts to be shared.”

Signing off until then,

Sincerely,


Faye Mc Nall, M.Ed, R.EEG T.


Friday, March 22, 2019

The Best of the Best in the World of Neurodiagnostics


“There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they are gone, the light remains”

Quote from Leigh Standley (Curly Girl)


Lucy Sullivan and me, visiting Dr. Neidermeyer at his home, Dec. of 2011.


There are three great lights in the world of Neurodiagnostic Technology whom I think of often, and whom I will always miss.   They are Lewis Kull, Gary March and Dr. Ernst Neidermeyer.  On April 2nd , it will be ten years since we lost Lew!  It is important to me to share the enthusiasm they all had for this field and the many contributions they made to the education of neurodiagnostic technologists across the country. 

I met Lew Kull when I took a job working with him at the Boston Children’s Hospital EEG Training Program in 1990.  He was the consummate teacher and held the interest of our students over months of lectures on many topics.  There was nothing he could not master himself, and he had high expectations of his students.  We spent nine wonderful years working together, before he moved on to a new opportunity at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.   It was there that he had a tragic accident, in April of 2008, he was crossing a street on his way to give a class to technologists studying for their EEG Board Exams, when he was struck by a delivery truck.  He sustained a traumatic brain injury.  Eventually, he regained consciousness, but his injury was very severe, and left him in a compromised state, and he remained hospitalized until he passed away on April 2, 2009. 

The second shining star, Gary March, was a technologist in New York state for many years, working at Albany Medical Center, and eventually opening his own neurodiagnostic business. In addition to being a great speaker and teacher,  Gary was the most enthusiastic meeting planner for the Charles E. Henry Neurodiagnostic Society, the regional society of New York State.  Their annual meeting was one of the best, and well attended events, because Gary was able to put together such great programs and recruit a diverse array of speakers.  No easy task and I can tell you that from personal experience.  Gary fell ill suddenly in 2011 and pancreatic cancer took his life so quickly, and way too early at age 54.

The third shining star is Dr. Ernst Niedermeyer. Dr. Neidermeyer literally “wrote the book”on EEG, publishing several editions of his iconic text book on Electroencephalography over the years.  I had the privilege of getting to know him personally, and it was an honor to be his friend.  He had the most interesting life!  He was born in Germany in 1920, and survived World War II and a conscription into service in the German Army and was captured by American Troops and sent to America as a POW.  After the war, he went to Austria and completed medical school, where he developed his lifelong interest in the brain and neurology.  In addition to being a brilliant electroencephalographer, he was an accomplished pianist and an avid hiker, climbing many mountains in the Alps.  Dr. Niedermeyer always accepted invitations to speak at ASET meetings.  He must have mentored many physicians and technologists on all facets of EEG over the years, another treasured teacher. He left this mortal coil in 2012 at the age of 94 and was as sharp as a tack when I last saw him in December of 2011.

It is important to take a moment and appreciate those who help us grow into the best that we can be!




Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Call for Neurodiagnostic related Abstracts for the ASET Annual Conference - Deadline Extended!


ASET's 60th Anniversary Annual Conference will take place in Kansas City, MO on August 15-17, 2019.  We are seeking abstracts: both platform and poster for presentation at this event!  Read on!

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 include 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 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?


  I encourage you to complete an abstract application prior to the March 15 deadline for submission.  You can access the on-line application version at our website, and you can upload the abstract during the application process.  We cannot consider including abstract applications unless an abstract is attached.  Please use this link: ASET 2019 abstract application


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 faye@aset.org

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Neurophysiology 101: Learning the 10/20 system of head measurement and lead placement: How and Why





Many years ago, the ABRET EEG exam included an oral exam which included several sections, including record review, EEG pattern recognition and a demonstration of skill at measuring a head and placing leads accurately.  When I took the exam in 1980, volunteer subjects served as the candidates’ patients, and we actually ran a real EEG recording as part of the exam.  Eventually, the live subject process was no longer practical and ABRET substituted a “Sam” mannequin head, and candidate had to measure and apply leads to Sam instead.

In more recent years, the oral section of the ABRET exam ended for many valid reasons, and a two-part, written only exam replaced the oral exam.  For the past year, the EEG registry exam has been offered in one-part. 

Once the exam no longer included a practical demonstration of head measurement and lead placement skills, an apparent misconception surfaced, that this was not an important part of the EEG recording process.  However, both ABRET and ASET have always stressed that measuring the patient’s head prior to lead placement is an essential part of the patient set-up. 
Occasionally, an attendee at the ASET EEG Boot Camp inquires about a 10/20 head measurement/lead placement workshop as part of the seminar.  We used to include such a workshop but it was very difficult to maintain and ship enough Sam heads to make this workshop “work”.  We also found that many seminar attendees were not interested in participating.  So, in recent years, we replaced that time in the seminar with additional lectures and instrumentation workshops.  But, once again, I would like to emphasize that we at ASET promote head measurement as a very important part of the lead placement process, and accurate electrode placement is vital!

There is a full on-line curriculum of EEG coursework created by ASET and available as individual courses on the ASET website.  One of the courses is EEG 202: Electrodes, Electrode Placement and Application.  I am pleased to announce that we have just upgraded the content of this course!  
Maureen Carroll, the ASET On-line Course Developer, worked on creating a professional video tutorial on the skills of head measurement and lead placement.  She spent many hours scripting the video, and working with a media studio to film the demonstration.  This video is 40 minutes in duration and offers a step by step overview of the process, and has been uploaded as a lesson in the on-line course. 

I can highly recommend this course for entry level technologists and trainees!  You will benefit from the coaching and detail included.  Enrollees can revisit the video as often as they wish while learning this skill.  The course offers 20 ASET CEUs, meaning that there is at least 20 contact hours of course material, and the registration fee is $199 for ASET members and $299 for non-members. To view the course in our on-line store, please use this link:  ASETon-line EEG courses

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Have you thought about giving your brain a holiday gift?


“The brain is like a muscle.  When we think well, we feel good,” – Carl Sagan

In the Neurodiagnostic profession we get pretty comfortable working around brains.  We record the brain’s activity, sometimes directly on the surface of the brain with the help of neurosurgeons.  However, we are often so busy with the details of work and home life that we rarely have time to challenge our minds and think about our own brain’s power.

At this time of year, you probably have a long list of gifts you plan to give to your loved ones and friends:  an “X-box” for a son, a pair of gloves for an aunt, a batch of cookies for your neighbor...

But what about a gift for you?  A gift for your career growth, for your self-esteem and for your mind…

I get phone calls from technologists all the time, who tell me that they meant to study for a credentialing exam and never got to it.  Then something changes at work and now they are under pressure to get that R. EEG T credential!  So, I suggest not waiting until it could be your job on the line.  Take your time and begin accumulating meaningful education now.  If you have passed an exam and have a credential, you will likely need CEUs to recertify. 

Just a reminder:  The ABRET R.EEG T. credential will no longer be a lifetime credential in 2023.  Everyone who is an R. EEG T, will need to acquire CEUs to maintain the credential.  Those whose credentials were previously considered “lifetime” will need to submit documentation of 30 hours of continuing education on appropriate topics, related to EEG.  Here is a link to the ABRET website information about acceptable continuing education:  http://abret.org/certificants/recertification/acceptable-continuing-education/

So, no matter where you are on the career ladder, an ASET educational resource would be a good thing for your mind.  Think about signing up for one of our 2019 webinars, or a recorded webinar on a topic of interest!

We will be offering the 2019 Spring Seminar in Atlanta, GA on April 27 & 28, to include two courses running for two days, concurrently: “EEG Boot Camp” and “LTM Academy”.  The 2019 Fall Seminar will be in Albany, NY, on October 19 & 20, offering the “EEG Boot Camp” and “Advanced EEG & LTM” courses.    Our 2019  Annual Conference will celebrate ASET’s 60th anniversary and the program will offer an amazing array of diverse and meaningful discussions to stimulate your professional growth.  If you  can’t travel but want to accumulate more than 10 continuing education credit hours, consider an ASET on-line course!   Our on-line course developer, Maureen Carroll, has put a great deal of thought and effort into improving the learning experience with new graphics and tools such as interactive exercises built into the courses. 

I read the recent ASET Facebook entry regarding what we have to be thankful for.  I have always been thankful that I discovered the profession of “EEG Technologist” back in 1978 and I have always felt that this was the perfect fit for a job for me!  I loved getting to spend quality time with patients, and getting to talk with them during set-up.  I loved the variety of EEG finding, never quite knowing what I would see when the recording began.  I love the variety of tasks and patients throughout the day.  I loved seeing the actual workings of the brain, otherwise totally hidden!  What a privilege!  Give it some thought:  What are your thankful for?

Please contact me directly if you would like to know more, or have questions about a specific educational product.  And have a happy and peaceful winter holiday season!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Teaching Neurodiagnostic Technology in the Clinical Setting




This image says it all!  “When you teach, you change the very order of things – from what is, to what is possible.” 

I am dedicating this blog entry to one of the most dedicated technologists I have ever met, one who served as an instructor in the Boston Children’s Hospital NDT training program.  She passed away last month.  She was a mentor to so many fledging students who learned from her that Neurodiagnostic Technology is an exacting science and great care must be taken to do everything right!  Her name is Barbara Carter.  Bless you Barbara, for you have blessed many with your intelligence and joy.  There is an “in Memoriam” for Barbara on the ASET website:
  Barbara Carter in Memoriam


I hear from lab managers, physicians, recruiters and technologists all the time, always recounting how difficult it is to find qualified Neurodiagnostic technologists to fill staff positions.  The result of long standing staff shortages is burn-out, when remaining staff have to cover the very demanding work-load, often including duties in the O.R., LTM, ICU and on-call.  You can be part of the solution for your institution. 

My question to you, is:  Have you thought about serving as a clinical site for either a distance based Neurodiagnostic Technology Program, or a local, seated program?  Or could you possibly work with a local community college that already has allied health programs and add a Neurodiagnostic Technology Program that will serve to provide the local medical community with skilled technologists for years to come!

Don’t undersell your skills as a mentor and teacher!  If you made it through the EEG Registry Exam, you have the knowledge, and teaching in the clinical setting does not require that you give lectures, so if you are intimidated by public speaking, you have no need to worry!

It helps to think back to how you learned the key skills, who taught you and what you would like to help a less experienced trainee do.  Remember, that the person you are teaching has a lot less skill than you, and you have a lot to offer and sharing your experiences and practical advice is very helpful!

I taught students at the Boston Children’s Hospital for years and I found that you can learn how to teach, just as you learn how to do any practical skill. 

In my professional goals for this year, I want to build more resources for Neurodiagnostic Education, focusing on webinars to provide essential training for clinical site instructors, to be made available at no cost through our website. 

I will close with the phrase in small print on this picture:  “Teaching shines a tremendous light on the future!”

Resources: To read more about clinical site responsibilities and benefits:  https://www.aset.org/files/public/Clinical_Sites_Brochure.pdf
ASET maintains a list of potential clinical sites, and when a program director notifies me that they need a clinical site in a specific location.  To sign up to be on this list please use this link:  https://www.aset.org/files/public/Clinical_Site_Questionnaire.pdf

Monday, September 10, 2018

An opportunity to add skills to prepare for the new ABRET Advanced Neurodiagnostic Credential


Did you know that ABRET is working on a new micro-credential for advanced data analysis?  This exam will be offered only to those who hold a CLTM credential and will be a “Reader Analyst” qualification.  The first exam will take place some time in 2019, and will include assessment of advanced pattern recognition skills, appropriate for technologists who review and edit continuous EEG files.

ASET is bringing our Fall Seminar Courses to Aurora, Colorado on Oct. 13 & 14th, and in addition to the EEG Boot Camp course we will offer an “Advanced EEG and LTM” course.  I have designed this course to include a day full of advanced EEG pattern recognition and related skills such as technical report writing. 

The Sunday Advanced EEG & LTM program will focus on advanced skills for LTM and continuous EEG in the ICU.    This course day will be helpful for technologists who have an interest in building advanced pattern recognition skills and  obtaining the upcoming the new ABRET microcredential “ Reader Analyst”.  The advanced course is also appropriate for those who are seeking interesting educational opportunities while obtaining CEUs for recertification of the R.EEG T, and CLTM credentials.  The faculty for the day are all from the Cleveland Clinic Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, and the University Hospital of Cleveland, and they will use a workshop format to allow for maximum interaction with course participants, with case studies incorporated into the sessions.  The faculty on Sunday will be: Sherry Nehamkin, R. EEG/EP T, CNIM, CLTM, FASET, Ellen Peters, R. EEG T, CLTM and Naiara Garcia Losarcos, M.D.

Here is the Sunday, Day 2 Schedule for the Advanced Course showing the workshop format:

7:30-  8:30 a.m.                 Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.             ACNS Guidelines and Terminology for LTM  and ICU

9:30-9:45 a.m.                   Break

9:45 – noon                   Workshop: Advanced Pattern Recognition and Editing*

12:00 – 12:45                     Lunch   

12:45 – 2:00                        Workshop: History Taking and Annotating for LTM

2:00- 3:00                           Workshop: Writing a Technical Description

3:00-3:15                              Break   

3:15 – 4:30                          The Best of the Rest: Archiving, Data Storage, Staffing for LTM





Day one of the advanced course will offer diverse topics related to LTM and EEG: 

8:30-9:30                       CLTM Board Prep – Taylor Kaufman, R. EEG/EP T, CNIM, CLTM

9:30-10:30                       New Seizure classifications  - Charuta Joshi, M.D.

10:30-10:45                      Break

10:45-noon         The Pre-surgical LTM Work-up: Localization and Imaging – Kimberly Horiuchi, M.D.

12:00 – 12:45                     Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 p.m.             A Case Study – A Patient’s Journey from First Work-up to Epilepsy Surgery
                                           Camilia Drees, M.D. 

2:00 – 3: 15 p.m.              Continuous EEG in the Intensive Care Unit – Kevin Chapman, M.D.

315 – 3: 30                          Break   

3:30 – 4:15                         Pediatric LTM Case Studies Krista Eschbach, M.D., 

 4:15- 5:15           Skin Safety and Electrodes and Application Techniques



You can register to attend the ASET Fall Seminar at this link: ASE Seminar Registration


Please note that early bird registration ends today!!  Our hotel room block is on the Children’s Hospital of Colorado Campus, and we are using their conference center for our classes.  The room rate is $144 per night and our room block expires on September 20th.  Here is a link to the hotel information:ASET hotel room block