Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Poem by Faye

A bit of background information about this poem:  I wrote it in 1979 or 1980, when I was really new to the field.  I submitted it to the New England Society of END Technologists to be published in their newsletter.  It got picked up by the ASET newsletter!  I have not thought about this poem for years, until the Mistress of Ceremonies, Jane Peasley, read this poem during the NESET 50th Anniversary Celebration, three weeks ago.  I have been a member of NESET and ASET for over 30 years now!   You will have to forgive my use of the word “technicians”.  I knew better, even back then, but had to use artistic license to make it all rhyme!  I do want to make the point that we should correct physicians, patients, and staff who call us “technicians”.  We are technologists and proud of it!  You'll notice a few things are outdated now...
 "Omni-Prep" has been replaced by newer products.  How many of you out there have been around long enough to remember this product?  I worked at a Children's Hospital, so I enjoyed getting silly with my patients.  I called this stuff "camel snot" because of the combination of sandy and slimy texture!  And it is no longer a standard practice for techs to administer chloral hydrate.  With today's focus on "patient-cenered care" I am sure that in most labs, parents are invited to stay during their child's EEG, and that is a good thing!

The Life of an EEG Technologist
We are part soothsayers, repairmen, and magicians
What are we? We’re EEG Technicians’!
There are many issues for us to decide,
Standards to follow, rules to abide.
Should we sedate with chloral hydrate?
What to do when the patients are late?
Too many patients, can we squeeze in another?
We better say YES, it’s “so & so’s” brother.
Electrodes applied of silver or gold,
Impedances low, with Omni-prep bold.
Applied with paste or collodian,
An issue more practical than Freudian.
Then what of this patient? Rule out TLE?
She told me today she took LSD.
And, should I tell her physician?
Oh, what a position.
And then the dilemma of parents in the room
I’m sure they think I should be riding a broom.

The doctor comes in at the end of the day,
The records are ready, there’s been no delay. 

It’s all in the life of an EEG Technologist,
Part mother and father, nurse and psychologist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ASET at the American Epilepsy Society Conference

Brian Markely, Faye Mc Nall and Lucy Sullivan, ASET Booth, AES Conference

I just got back from a trip to Baltimore, to attend the American Epilepsy Society annual conference.  I am always impressed with the magnitude of this meeting, with over 4400 attendees!  It is also a very interesting mix of health care professionals: epileptologists and neurologists, nursing professionals, researchers, and various non-profit organizations with all kinds of connections to epilepsy.   There is a large international presence, and as a result of connections we made at our booth, we will be able to get some of the ASET publications translated into Spanish, which will be a wonderful thing to be able to offer to technologists internationally.
Lucy, and I set up an ASET Exhibit Booth, and Brian Markley, the ASET President elect, kindly helped us staff the booth throughout the weekend.  Can you guess what the most commonly asked question was, at our booth??  It was “How do I find qualified technologists to hire??” !
 I heard tales of positions open for over a year, chronically short-staffed labs, and new epilepsy programs about to open.  We gave out our ASET/ABRET resource informational folder, with the hopes that we could provide some help, and the complete list of Neurodiagnostic Schools, so that these people could contact the schools directly and hopefully hire new graduates.  We are so fortunate to be in a profession with such demand in the future!  The downside is, if we cannot provide the qualified help they are seeking, who will they hire instead of the skilled technologists?  While it is logical to start more neurodiagnostic programs at colleges around the country, this is easier said than done.  It takes years to write propsoals, research the potential market to present to a college Board, get approval from a State Board of Education and receive funding.

If anyone has any ideas about how to solve this staffing crisis, I am listening!  I read an article last week about the decline of popularity of expensive college degrees.  Parents and students are finding themselves burdened with $80,000 in student loans for a four-year degree when the graduate is unable to find work commiserate with the degree he/she holds.  The article predicts an upswing in technical careers, with less costly educations and urgent demand for skilled workers right now.  That means us, folks!  Let's hope that we can add to the ranks of neurodiagnostic technologists in the next few years.  You can also contribute to the education of future technologists by opening your lab to serve as a clinical site.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your Brain: A User’s Guide

Time magazine has just re-issued a special edition of this publication, “Your Brain: A User’s Guide”.  It will be on display at your local newstand until Jan. 13th.   I picked up my copy at the local grocery store in rural Maine, so it should not be hard to find.  What a fabulous collection of articles about the brain!  Topics cover what we are just finding out about the brain’s functions, and what we have yet to discover!   Historical perspectives on neuroscience research are included, and new scientific findings.  There are articles on maturation of the brain, what is good about the aging brain, brain disorders, memory, additions and a great graphic article on the stages of sleep.  This does not read like a textbook at all, simply a series of facinating articles.  I highly recommend it!  It’s the kind of information that you can pick up and enjoy absorbing over a coffee break, or a late night read before going to bed.  This would also make a great resource for reading materials for students in neurodiagnostic training programs, especially if students are assigned to review articles.   FYI: You can also order a hardcover version of this book through for $21.94. 

I will be attending the American Epilepsy Society meeting in Baltimore, which begins on December 2nd.  I look forward to this educational opportunity for me!  As a provider of education in this field, it is essential that I obtain some continuing education myself, so that I will be able to organize programs that are on the cutting edge for ASET meeting attendees.  I am sure to have some new materials for a blog entry when I return to my office, so I will share the AES meeting highlights in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 11:11 a.m. Epilepsy Awareness

Well, first of all, I did not want to miss the opportunity to make use of this unique date and time!  So, I am using it as an eye catching title for this week’s blog entry.  Now that I have your attention…  November is national Epilepsy Awareness Month!

        I have been thinking about opportunities for community outreach within our profession.  Last Saturday, Nov. 5th, I attended the 50th Anniversary Meeting of NESET (the New England Society of Neurodiagnostic Technologists) in downtown Boston.  I had been involved in the planning of the program for this meeting for the past six months.  We decided to include a community service outreach as part of the program.  So, we titled the educational event “Epilepsy Awareness Day”, and included local first responders on our invitation list.  We chose topics that might be of interest to EMTs for the 4 morning lectures, and applied to the local EMT governance organization for CUEs for EMTs who attended.  We offered the morning program free of charge to EMTs.  We included presentations on seizure and non-epileptic event differentiation, SUDEP, and TBI/Post Traumatic Epilepsy.  We were pleased to see EMTs signing up for the session, and had positive feedback from them, regarding the interest and value of the program.  I encourage other regional societies to consider doing the same.  Typically, EMTs can accrue their CEUs in the local community, free of charge, so this was important to our EMT attendees.  We also felt that we were serving our epilepsy patients, by helping first responders understand some of the complications surrounding epilepsy.

ASET has also recently found an opportunity for community outreach.  We were contacted by staff at Dell’s Children’s Hospital in Texas.  There neurodiagnostic lab was working on a project to bring several technologist trainees up from the Caribbean to train at their facility, so that they can provide better neurodiagnostic services back on their home islands.  Funding for the project was provided by the North American Regional Commission, a representative of the International League Against Epilepsy.  Various organizations are involved, to cover educational costs, travel and housing, and physicians from the institution have volunteered their time to assist in the training and education of these technologists.  ASET is pleased to announce that we will play an active part in this outreach program, and will provide some of our on-line EEG courses, for their use, free of charge.

ASET has been involved in community outreach in the past.  At our 2008 annual conference in New Orleans, we hosted an “Epilepsy Awareness Day” to interface with local residents, many of whom lost their connections with their neurologists following Hurricane Katrina.  This was also a rewarding effort, and ASET will continue to seek opportunities to expand our horizons and help others.  I encourage you to do the same, on a personal level, as a volunteer, or donor to a meaningful charity, or as part of a community outreach through your local society.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You-Tube Videos to Promote Career Opportunities in Neurodiagnostics

I have heard many formal discussions and informal conversations about the problem we face in recruiting new technologists, finding potential students to choose this career, and enter our formal training programs. Every week, an H.R. person calls me and says “People in your specialty are impossible to find!  I cannot fill open positions!”   We have all experienced a situation where someone casually asks us “What do you do for a living?”  So, you launch into an explanation of your job title, and what you do every day.  You observe a puzzled look on your listener’s face.  Most people have never even HEARD of our work! 

We all agree that we need publicity!  If we had major funding, we could get a real T.V. ad out there about our profession, but since we don’t have finances to cover that level of expense,  we have put together what we can, for free!

Did you know that there is a free, downloadable Public Service Video about a career in neurodiagnostics right on the ASET website??  This is available to anyone, and is a great resource for anyone who is putting together materials for a career fair.  To access this file, please go to and click on the “On-line Education” button.  On the first page that comes up, you will see a list of free downloads.  There are four options for viewing or downloading the Career Video.  Please look for “ASET PSA” and choose the file you wish to download.

And now, even more exciting, there are a series of You-Tube videos to provide information about various career options in our field!  Dr. Kit, a college professor, has been organizing and collecting a series of short video presentations about all kinds of careers, which he posts on You Tube.  He offered us the opportunity to create informational videos to send to him.  Sara Batson, CNIM R. EEG/EP T. RPSGT; Chief Technologist of the Neurodiagnostics Lab at the Illinois Neurological Institute in Peoria, IL, graciously offered to use her facility, equipment and staff to record these videos.  She has videos on EPs and IONM under production, but some are ready now!  They are posted on You Tube and you can check them out at   Please share this link with your friends, and tell everyone you know that Neurodiagnostics is now on You Tube! Way to go, Sara, Thank You!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brain Games – Educational Series on the National Geographic Channel

On October 9th, the National Geographic Channel broadcast a series of three documentaries about brain function, and the ways in which the brain can be fooled by its own sensory perception.  The information was fascinating, and the demonstrations and examples were really great!  There were many “tests” that viewers could take, while watching the show, that will prove exactly how the brain does not always process information correctly.  How could I miss a giant rabbit in the back of a crowd?? But I did!  In addition, they included some great graphics of Neuroanatomy, to explain various cognitive functions.  I would highly recommend this series just for general interest, but especially to Program Directors, who are looking for fascinating assignments for their students, to keep their interest!  The series is available for viewing via the National Geographic Channel website, and probably on-demand, depending upon your cable provider.  At the website, you can also find some interactive programs, to test memory, and show where various functions are controlled within the brain.  The three episodes covered visual and auditory processing; focus and attention; and memory.  Great stuff!  The picture below is on the National Geographic website, an example of  artistic visual representation of the brain.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ABRET and ASET: Exams and Education: Who does what?

I get many calls and e-mail messages from technologists who ask me for information about taking the ABRET exams, and the re-certification process for the R. EEG T., R. EP T., CLTM and CNIM credentials.  I know that there is some confusion out there regarding who does what, and a common misconception that ASET administers the exam, or sets the policies regarding these credentials.  So, this week, I am going to try to provide some clarification.

ASET does not administer the exam, although I try to keep up with current information regarding the exam process, and I try to provide basic information to those who contact me with questions.   If you wish to read about the exam content, eligibility criteria, exam dates, locations, deadlines and fees, please visit the ABRET website at  ASET does not have the authority to determine which educational content will be accepted for re-certification of the ABRET credentials.  If you have concerns that some of the continuing education you have attended may not be acceptable for re-certification, please contact ABRET directly for clarification.

It is also important to note that ASET does not automatically send your ACE credit transcript to ABRET.  So, as your recertification date approaches, you must go to the ABRET website, and select the appropriate recertification form, fill it out, and send it in by Dec. 31, of the year in which your registry expires.

So, what does ASET do for you?  ASET provides educational resources to help you prepare for various credentials and to accrue the hours of continuing education you need to re-certify.  We have a full on-line EEG curriculum, which is designed to serve as continuing education for entry level technologists who may be preparing to take the EEG registry exam.  The last course in this curriculum, EEG112, is a Board Prep Resource course that includes a large data base of practice exam questions. To visit our on-line learning portal, click here.
Every year, we also host two classroom seminars on EEG topics.  These two-day courses have workshops to help you build confidence by learning technical skills in a small group setting, with opportunities to ask questions and customize your education.
For those renewing a credential, you may take the Journal quizzes on-line, sign up for ASET webinars, and attend our Annual Conference or Seminar courses.

Please contact me at if you would like more information about ASET and our educational resources.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I couldn’t be happier with the 2011 ASET Annual Conference!

I just finished tallying all the participant evaluation scores for the 2011 conference in Atlanta.  I am just thrilled with all the glowing comments and positive scores that all the speakers on our program received.  While at the conference, many attendees took a moment to come up to me with a compliment, and this is what makes my job so rewarding!  There was so much positive energy around this event, and everyone seemed eager to be involved and enjoy the program.

In the general session, the Keynote Address, given by a DARPA researcher, gave us an amazing overview of futuristic military projects that use advanced EEG applications.  We had over 100 people in attendance at some course sessions, especially IONM, LTM and EEG lectures.  The outstanding favorite was the lecture on EEG patterns seen in the ICU, given by Dr. Suzette LaRoche, from Emory in Atlanta.  She drew 135 people to hear her presentation and got a 5.0 score from her audience!  Our first ever Synapse Bowl was a big success!  Three teams competed:  the "Dixie Dendrites" from the Southern Society, the "Education-ators" from our training programs and the "Rock the BOT" team, from the ASET Board of Trustees.  There was a great deal of laughter and fun, as “Judge Judy” ruled on the answers.  Our M.Cs, Scott Blodgett and Pat Trudeau, kept up a lively banter.  Based on the overwhelming positive response, we will bring the Synapse Bowl to our 2012 Annual Conference in Saint Paul, MN for sure!

The Exhibit Hall reception was populated by aliens from various planets in the universe.  The picture to the right shows Lucy, as E.T. with me, as a “Gastronaut” with attendee Liliana Petrova.

As soon as I returned from Atlanta, it was on to finalizing details for the ASET Fall Seminars in Seattle, scheduled for Sept. 24 & 25.  We are offering an intermediate EEG course and an intermediate to advanced LTM course.  ASET is trying to expand our audience with these courses.  The EEG course is approved by the BRPT for continuing education toward recertification of the RPSGT credential.  The LTM course has nursing breakout sessions and we have applied for nursing CEUs as well.  This makes sense to me, as I hear from nurses who need an in-depth course in LTM when they work closely with us to care for epilepsy patients.  You can still register to attend!  Please click here for additional attendee information and to register.

On another note, ASET has recently submitted an application to have some of our on-line EEG courses approved for continuing education for EEG Biofeedback providers.  We’ll keep you posted when we do get approval.

To all of you who attended the conference in Atlanta:  Thank You SO Much!  I really appreciate your input and suggestions!  I am working on our next annual conference already, so please be thinking of an abstract you might like to present, and if you would like to serve as faculty, please contact me!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

See you in Atlanta at the 2011 ASET Annual Conference!

I am all packed and ready to go!  On Monday, July 25th, I have a 7:00 a.m. flight from Portland, Maine to Atlanta, where I will be managing our 2011 annual conference for the next week.  So, my office will be closed and I will have limited opportunities to check my e-mail!  I will be back in my office on August 3rd, and I know I will be tired but exhilarated and motivated by the experience of seeing all the wonderful people at the ASET meeting, and hearing all those inspirational talks!  I am particularly looking forward to hearing our Keynote speaker from DARPA and our Ellen Grass Lecturer, from the Center for Disease Control!  All fascinating stuff!

We begin the week with two and a half days of Board meetings, followed by four days of conference events.  We have two social events planned for evenings this year, so will have lots of opportunities to visit with folks that we only get to see once a year!  Our “E.T. Phone Home” Exhibit Hall reception promises to be lots of fun, with Sci Fi costumes!  I will add pictures to my next post.  I have my costume packed, but can’t release my “secret identity” yet!

I hope to see you all there!  Take care and safe travels to all, and MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why you should come to Atlanta for the ASET 2011 Annual Conference!

Five reasons to come to Atlanta for the ASET Annual Conference:
1)     To be inspired by our Keynote address on the futuristic inventions the military is developing using EEG and enhancing brain function.

2)    To hear our Ellen Grass Lecturer, from the CDC, discuss neurological diseases that are emerging globally.

3)    To hear our Kathy Mears Lecturer, Elizabeth Mullikin, explain how the upcoming health care reform will affect YOU!

4)    To hear about the wonderful work of the canine assistant, the seizure response dog.

5)    To listen to a variety of short abstracts about many new discoveries and practices in neurodiagnostics, and view posters filled with information that will intrigue you. 

Six great lectures from our course program:
1)    Safety Standards in the EMU – we are fortunate to have Jan Buelow, Ph.D., R.N. on the program, as she is nationally recognized for her work with epilepsy.  Patient safety and quality of care are our highest priorities, and this talk will ensure that your patients will be safer while on your monitoring unit!

2)    Interactive Workshop, Trouble-shooting in the O.R.  -  Kimberly Ellis and Brett Netherton will keep you on your toes with this dynamic workshop.  You will learn a lot and love every minute of it!

3)    The Vestibular System and VNG testing – Emily Murphy works in the most advanced vestibular lab in the world!  See how high tech this testing has become!

4)    Infection control for Neurodiagnostic Technologists – With the epidemic of hospital-based infections, it is important to stay current on infection control recommendations! Robyn Selawski has the latest information to share with you!

5)    First contact with Leadership Skills – Dorothy Gaiter and T.J. Amdurs will tell you why you need to build your leadership skills now, to ensure that you will be essential to your department as health care form changes our work environment.

6)    Panel Discussion – IONM Oversight and Supervision Issues – This lively discussion may not provide all the answers but you can bet it pose all the questions!  What are our roles??  Who should provide supervision, and from how far away?? What should we do when we encounter a problem during an O.R. case??  How can we best keep our patients from injury?

View the entire meeting schedule!

Get your CEUs in the most informative and interesting way possible!  Register now!
Reserve your hotel room and the Hilton Atlanta!  Our room block expires on July 1 and rooms are going fast!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Day to Register for the ASET Annual Conference at the Early Bird Rate!

Please note!  Wednesday, June 1 is the last day that you can register for the ASET annual conference at the early bird registration rate!   Please go to the ASET website and register today to get the best possible price on the meeting registration fee! 

Message from the Mother Ship to ALL Aliens:  You have a new mission quest in the learning portal!  Clue: Check the articles on TCD in the Journal Archives

We have put together a really stellar program for the 2011 ASET annual conference in Atlanta!  You can view the entire schedule of events at our website.  We will be applying to AAST for CECs for the PSG course that we are holding on Saturday, July 30th, so sleep technologists seeking recertification, please take note!  Our General Session includes exciting presentations!  We have a Symposium on “out-of-the-box” opportunities for technologists, and our Keynote Speaker is a member of an exclusive research team of the military, who invent devices for soldiers to use that are very “Sci_Fi”!

In Atlanta we also have our first ever “Synapse Bowl” on July 30th, and this will be a fun-filled way to learn!  This is a quiz bowl, with a Jeopardy game format.  We need teams of four to compete!  There will be very worthwhile prizes for the winning team!  We have a sign-up sheet for anyone who wishes to compete, on our website.

It is with great sadness that I must share with you, the passing of a great member of ASET, Gary March.  He was a wonderful colleague, a talented teacher, and brought humor to ASET meetings, always willing to do a skit!  Gary worked at Albany Medical Center for many years, and started his own END business.  He was only 56,  and was ill for a very short time. His loss is tragic, and I will miss him as a personal friend, and an ASET supporter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Scholarships still available! You have a chance of getting one!

     ASET has several scholarships available for the ASET annual conference.  There is an April 27 deadline to submit an application and I encourage anyone who would like to attend, but does not have funding, to fill out an application.  I am always amazed at how few ASET members actually do take advantage of this opportunity! Techs at all levels of their career are considered equally for this scholarship.  Because so few people apply, you have a very good chance of winning!   Also, a reminder to students:  The John Archibald Student Scholarship has an April 25th deadline, and this scholarship awards $400 cash toward travel expenses as well as a 4-day registration!

    The ASET 2011 Conference Brochure will be mailing out soon, and the conference schedule is now posted on our website.

    We are seeking nominations for the Theda Sannit Outstanding Educator award.  Please check our website for more information.  There is a May 15th deadline for submitting a nomination.  Please check the ASET website for instructions.

     I just returned from the Charles E. Henry Society's annual conference, in the Finger lakes region of N.Y. state.  I was invited to give the Lewis Kull Keynote address for this organization, and since Lew was a dear personal friend of mine, I was very honored.  This group worked very hard, and hosted a fantastic meeting in a very pretty location. 

     Last month, I traveled to Houston, for the ASET Spring Seminar Courses.  Our host was Texas Children's Hospital, which has a very beautiful conference facility.  All of the staff there, and all those who served as faculty really extended themselves, and their "Southern Hospitality" to make this a very successful meeting.  Our attendance was very good, and response to the courses was overwhelmingly positive.  My thanks goes to Rob Patterson, and all the techs who helped us throughout the weekend!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to Faye's ASET Education Blog!

This blog replaces my newsletter column.  And the best thing about this is, that now I can post entries more often, whenever I have news to share with you!  I will be announcing new posts on Twitter.  Anyone who finds the ASET website will be able to read the ASET Education blog, not just current members of ASET.  This is important because so many technologists are just looking for information and advice, and they come to ASET.  I am hoping that once they find out how much ASET has to offer, they will become members.

News of the week:  I have finalized the ASET 2011 Annual Conference Program!  The Program Committee and Course Directors have been working with me since January to make this happen!  We have some very new and exciting topics this year!  The conference brochure will be mailed out in April.