Skills for a Polysomnographic Technologist
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Skills for a Polysomnographic Technologist

Jun 07, 2010

If you wish to become a polysomnographic technologist, someone who helps people with sleep disorders, then it is a good idea to make sure you have the skills necessary – or at least be willing to learn them. By doing this you can ensure that you are as employable as possible, and that a job as a polysomnographic technologist is the right job for you.

Strong Communication Skills

In your job you will need to communicate – verbally and in written form – with doctors, patients, and co-workers on a regular basis. Thus you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. If you think you need some help in this area, a few college English classes could do the trick.

Teamwork Skills

As a polysomnographic technologist you will be part of a larger team consisting of technicians, assistants, and doctors. You may be in charge of some of these people, or they may be in charge of you. You need to be able to work effectively with your team members, follow directions, and be able to take charge when needed.

Computer Skills

Sleep centers use a lot of intricate software and computer programs to help manage the data collected when someone sleeps, and it will be your job to manage the data and ensure that everything is running smoothly. While you will get specific training on the programs during your polysomnographic technologist certification, it will help if you are already comfortable using computers.

Math Skills

Polysomnographic technologists need to make regular use of mathematical equations to help understand and study trends in a person’s sleep pattern. It is important that you have good math skills before you start training as a polysomnographic technologist, otherwise you may find that you are struggling and you may not pass your certification testing. If math is not your strong point you may want to invest in a few refresher courses before you begin your training.

Data Analysis Skills

After a patient has completed their slumber at the sleep center, it will be the job of the polysomnographic technologist to analyze the data to look for patterns or trends. Although it is ultimately the physician’s job to diagnose a patient’s sleep disorder, you can also offer your insight and input into what you think the data represents. You will also be required to provide your own observations as to any clues you may have seen while the patient slept, since although many of these observations may not show in the data they may be important for concluding a diagnosis. Most of the analysis skills you will need will be taught during training, but it is definitely a plus if you already have some experience in this field.

Time Management Skills

Whether you are working on the day or night shift at the sleep center, you will have lots of things to do. You may have to order supplies, calibrate machines, collect data, and meet with patients among other things. You need to be able to manage your time effectively so you can get everything done on time, because the entire operation depends on you to come through.

People Skills

During an average day at a sleep center, you may have to deal with team members, doctors, patients, and other people, so it is important that you have great people skills. This means that you always need to be calm and collected, even in high pressure situations. It also means that you can discuss sensitive topics with patients in a compassionate manner, as they may be going through some tough times and need to know that you are on their side to help find a resolution.

Being a polysomnographic technologist takes hard work, but it is a great job for the right person. Even if you don’t have all the above skills, as long as you are willing to learn you can become a polysomnographic technologist and have a long and happy career helping people resolve their sleep issues.

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