Thursday, March 29, 2012

Educational Resources for EEG Monitoring in the ICU

Continuous EEG monitoring in the ICU is becoming the standard of care for treating patients with critical neurological injuries.  The demand for this service is on the rise.  As we strive to expand our services in this arena, we find that there just are not enough resources available.  The problem is not just limited to equipment, but to the human element.  Who is watching all these continuous EEGs in critically ill patients?  How quickly are significant patterns recognized and how fast is treatment initiated when EEG findings indicate a need for intervention?  We all agree that there are not enough skilled neurodiagnostic technologists to cover all cases 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in all institutions. 

The ICU nurses are interacting with us, our recording equipment and the neuro-intensivists as they deliver care to their patients.  There is a distinct advantage to working with our nurses to help provide high quality, effective neuro monitoring in the ICU.  If a nurse can identify a lead that needs maintenance, or know when to ask for urgent review of an EEG file, an added benefit will be that perhaps we will not have to return to the ICU in the middle of the night to fix a lead or troubleshoot equipment!  The patient outcome will improve also!
Last year, ASET had a booth in the Exhibit Hall of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses Annual Conference.  We received a lot of interest and the most common comment we heard was:  “I need some help learning what to do with the bedside EEG”.  So, we have been working on two specific educational resources to help ICU nurses and also technologists who are just getting started with this type of monitoring.

Next month, we plan to publish a bedside EEG manual that will have EEG samples from ICU cases in an atlas-like format, and include technical information about electrodes, placement, basic equipment, and trending software.  It will be spiral bound so that specific pages can be kept open right at the patient’s bedside.   The book is titled:  “EEG Pattern Recognition for the Bedside Caregiver: Continuous EEG in Adult Patients”.  A group of technologists, headed by Lucy Sullivan, the ASET Publications Director, worked very hard to compile this book.  I think it will be a great resource!  There will be an announcement on the home page of our website when this publication is ready to order.

We also have scheduled an extended webinar for May 10th and 11th, on the topic of
“ICU Continuous EEG Monitoring: An Introduction for LTM Technologists & ICU Nurses”.  We have booked nationally recognized experts in ICU monitoring to participate as faculty.To view the entire webinar schedule, please click here.

Please let your ICU nursing team know about this wonderful opportunity!  This webinar will be recorded and can be purchased for future use, for those who cannot participate in the live event.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Neurodiagnostic Job Description for the Bureau of Labor and Statistics

ASET has been working with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for several years now, to update information for their job description for our profession. The BLS maintains a website where users can research all of the major job categories in the USA, and the website is called O*NET.  They schedule the major updates for each profession on their list once every ten years.  Our profession was updated in their O*NET database in 2010.  The update included a change from the job title “Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist” to “Neurodiagnostic Technologist”.  The BLS gathers data for the job descriptions and ensures accuracy of information by sending out surveys to “subject matter experts” who are people working directly in a branch of the profession, with a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the field.  I provided the BLS with a list of ASET members, representing all of the neurodiagnostic credentials two years ago, when our update process began.  This year, O*NET contacted me, to request a new list of ASET members, because they are sending out a follow-up survey, to assess the need for adjustments in the information they have published about our profession.  I provided about 120 names with contact numbers to the BLS, and the BLS then sends out a notice to them to explain the purpose of their program.  Last week, I heard from my O*NET liaison that surveys will be mailed very soon, to some of the technologists on this list.  So, if you get something from them, please take the time to fill out the survey and return it to them.  This information is very important, and provides key information to users visiting the website, in an effort to research possible job opportunities.  Since we desperately need more technologists nation-wide, we need to make it clear that this is an attractive career option.
Did you know that O*NET has a special designation for jobs that are predicted to have greater than average growth in the future?  It is called “Bright Outlook” and Neurodiagnostic Technologist has been selected for this category.  That means that when users browse through the O*NET website, they will see a special icon (a sun) that indicates that we have job growth potential.
If you would like to view our job listing, please try this link:
Or go to www.onetonline and select “Bright Outlook” and “New and Emerging Jobs” and scroll down to “Neurodiagnostic Technologist”.

Monday, March 5, 2012

ASET Spring Seminars at Harcum College- See You There!

I will be traveling later this week to attend the mid-year meeting of the ASET Board of Trustees, and right now I am making final arrangements for the ASET Spring Seminar Courses to take place on March 23 & 24, on the campus of Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr, PA.  This is a lovely location for our seminars, and is quite a college town!  It is very convenient to downtown Philadelphia, and the Philly airport, just a short commuter rail ride away.  Our designated hotel, the Radnor, is rather elegant for the price, and they will be running a free shuttle bus to the Harcum campus for ASET course attendees.  Our room block ended on March 1, but you may still be able to get a room at this hotel if you are interested in attending one of our courses.
We are running an EEG course, NCS course and a one-day advanced topics course on Saturday, March 24, which we added to offer ACE credits for techs in the area who need CEUs for recertification.  There is no regional society in the greater Philly area, so this course is a good substitute for a regional spring meeting.
We have very impressive faculty lined up for all of these courses, and I encourage you to consider joining me in Bryn Mawr.  It promises to be a fun way to get your education, whether you are preparing for the EEG or NCS registry exams, or just need to brush up on some skills.
Please check the ASET home page for basic information about the course content, location, etc.
I look forward to seeing you there!  If you have any questions about the ASET Spring Seminar Courses, please do e-mail me at or call me at 207-350-4087.  Please note that I will be out of my office from March 7th through March 11, and will be back in my office on Monday, March 12th.