Sleep disorders are on the increase, especially in children. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that up to 50% of children will experience a sleep problem.
At Akron Children’s, finding the causes of sleep disorders involves a team of sleep specialists, including polysomnography technicians, who are an indispensable part of the pediatric sleep medicine team. With the high demand for polysomnography technicians, Children’s added an accredited sleep technologist education program to its Career Launch offerings.
The Career Launch polysomnography technician track is designed to be completed in one year, according to Jarrod Collingsworth, manager for Children’s outpatient pulmonary medicine, sleep medicine and sleep lab programs.
“Career Launch is available to our employees, and community members, who may be looking for a clinical career which allows them to work independently and in team situations, to think critically, and to solve problems,” Jarrod said. “The polysomnography technician track offers a new career opportunity to interested employees, while allowing us to be more creative in the ways we meet our staffing challenges.”
Understanding the polysomnography technician role
Children’s polysomnographic technologists monitor the activity of patients in sleep laboratories through observation, data collection, and analysis. They then summarize the information for a sleep physician, who makes a diagnosis and recommends treatment. This video provides an overview of the importance of the polysomnographic technologist’s role: Akron Children’s Sleep Study.
Before enrollment, Career Launch Program Coordinator Kaiya Watauchi conducts a phone interview, followed by shadowing a sleep tech in the lab. Potential participants learn the requirements of the job, which include:
- Working 7pm – 7 am shift.
- Performing routine polysomnographic (PSG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) tests. The PSG/EEG tests include applying wires and sensors to the patient’s scalp and body.
- Watching monitors and taking notations while sitting in front of a computer.
Once enrolled, participants will complete
- The one-year, in-person or online Youngstown State University polysomnography certificate program.
- An internship during that year.
- Curriculum through the accredited sleep technologist education (A-STEP) program, which is done online.
Adding a new Mahoning Valley sleep lab
According to Jarrod, Children’s is making significant investments in its sleep program. Among these are adding physicians, technology and sleep technicians. Additionally, Children’s is opening a four-bed sleep lab in the Mahoning Valley in spring 2023. Currently, the hospital has a five-bed sleep lab in Akron.
“We have the need to grow,” Jarrod said. “We’re seeing an abundance of patients looking for services in sleep. The Akron sleep lab is booked six months in advance. Our goal is to attract a few Mahoning Valley employees who want to advance their careers into the Career Launch polysomnography tech program. They would be able to start in the YSU program in the spring semester.”
For more information about the Career Launch polysomnography technician program, contact Kaiya at KWatauchi@akronchildrens.org. To learn more about what programs are offered, visit the Career Launch page on the hospital website.