Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Neurodiagnostic Technologist Workforce Shortage – Working on a solution to the problem

It has been way too long since I posted a blog entry!  As you might imagine, with the ASET annual conference coming up next month, I have been very busy with all of the details of planning this meeting!  I will be posting more on the exciting program we’ll be offering but for now, I want to tell you about the roundtable discussion hosted by ABRET which I attended two weeks ago, in Chicago.
ABRET convened a group of twenty neurodiagnostic technologists from around the country, including representatives of ABRET and ASET and regional representatives, for a two-day brain-storming session.  Our professional facilitator, Mickie Rops, has worked with both ASET and ABRET before, so she was very familiar with our profession, our representatives and our challenges.
The goal of this roundtable discussion was to focus on ways to alleviate the shortage of qualified neurodiagnostic technologists, and to figure out how to best support and grow formal education in this field. 
Our first task was to determine the factors that have contributed to the shortage of neurodiagnostic technologists, and once we agreed upon those factors, we divided up into three small groups to come up with ideas for actions to address each of those factors.
So, what did we decide?
Here is the list of factors that may be keeping the field from growing:

  • Little/no awareness of the NDT field (by HR, patients, inter-departmental, job seekers)

  • NDT role undervalued by others (institutional management)

  • NDT role / registry undervalued by ourselves / individuals losing jobs because they are not credentialed

  • Lack of standardized job descriptions and salary structure (models exist but are not widely adopted)

  • Generational divide (different perspectives/expectations)

  • Losing qualified workforce through retirements

  • Educational pathway to NDT is not clearly defined

  • Lack of clinical sites / lack of schools to meet need

  • Program attrition / retention of students

This seems like a lengthy list of problems to be addressed.  But our dynamic group worked collaboratively to take a proactive approach and improve conditions in our profession.
Some ideas:
To Improve Awareness of Neurodiagnostic Technology as a profession:
Develop an administrators’ educational packet
Develop a public service announcement
Encourage technologists to work within their hospitals on committees, patient advocate programs, etc.
To address the loss of technologists through retirement:
Publish tips for creating flexible shifts, job sharing, teaching for managers
To create more clinical sites:
Market the value of being a clinical site to decision makers
             Sharpen skills of current staff
             Increased patient satisfaction
             Decreased recruitment costs and interview costs
             Decrease problems with untrained staff

That is a lot of work to do!  ASET’s Board of Trustees will be participating in a strategic planning session at the upcoming Board meeting during our annual conference.  Many of the recommended actions can be incorporated into this plan with specific actions to address the workforce shortage.

Meanwhile, please think about what you can do!  And please consider helping to grow the profession by serving as a clinical site!  Or become an ASET ambassador and do a presentation about the field at your local school or job fair!