Thursday, May 25, 2017

Building a Strong Educational Foundation

Sometimes life presents you with an allegory and this one really spoke to me.  Living here at the end of a private dirt road in Maine, I have many opportunities to observe nature closely.  The spring weekends here on the mid-coast have been rainy, cold and windy.  I came home from running errands to find bunches of twigs and bits of lichen, blown by the wind, scattered around my porch.   I looked up to see a very cold and frustrated robin perched on the lintel of a window, seeking shelter under the porch roof.  She had been trying to build a nest up there but the trim board was too narrow to hold her nest.  When she finally flew away, I gathered up her nesting materials and moved them to a protected eve that would make much more spacious digs for her.  I was hoping she would come back and try to build her nest there, but she must have looked at real estate elsewhere.

To me, the image of the robin’s nest defeated speaks to the need to choose wisely, start well before the storm arrives, and build a foundation that will last you a lifetime.   That foundation is your knowledge and the learning you acquire in your career.

I can’t tell you how many calls I get from technologists who have many years’ experience in neurodiagnostics, who love their jobs and seem dedicated to producing quality EEGs, but who never took the EEG Registry Exam, or attempted once and failed to pass the exam.  Their story always goes like this:  “My new administrator has set a goal of having all techs in the lab be registered.  If I don’t pass my Board Exam I will be out of a job.”

The thing is, that obtaining a credential is part of building a strong nest.   It prepares you for the future, even if your current job does not require a credential now.   I refer people to the ABRET website every day to read the eligibility requirements for the EEG Registry Exam but many technologists are not aware that their Pathway IV, for on-the-job trained technologists without a minimum of an Associate’s Degree, will be expiring at the end of this year.  If you entered the field after 2015 you cannot meet the requirements.   If you do still qualify, you’ll need to start studying and acquiring the 60 ASET CEUs required ASAP!   But build your knowledge to remain strong!   I have had techs call me to tell me that they need to prepare for the exam ASAP but they don’t have time to study, and ask me what I can recommend to get them up to speed quickly.   The answer is:  you can’t do this quickly!  The knowledge base required is substantial.  You’ll have to study a lot, whether using books or on-line courses!

Your mind cannot retain massive amounts of facts in one setting!   Frequent short study sessions and returning to review subjects often will help you recall topics you are learning.  If you are considering obtaining more education in neurodiagnostics and are not sure of the resources available to you, please contact me:

So, don’t be like my robin!   Build a strong foundation that won’t get blown away!