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  You'll notice a few things are outdated now...
 "Omni-Prep" has been replaced by newer products.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.