Polysomnography is the science of studying sleep. This profession helps patients look at sleeping habits, diagnosing what is keeping them from having a good night's rest and how that ultimately effects their health. There are three major polysomnography jobs, each focusing on helping uncover the patient's issues. Technologists, assistants and coordinators each have responsibilities revolving around studying sleeping patterns in order to improve the health and wellbeing of clients.
Polysomnography work is generally performed in a sleep lab. Patients are hooked up to several monitoring devices and asked to rest. By using electroencephalograph, electrooculogram and electromyography readings in tandem with airflow and heart rate monitoring equipment, polysomnography professionals can better understand the causes and effects of poor sleep. In order to properly perform this service the three main polysomnography jobs must be performed.
Compared to the other polysomnography jobs, a technologist has the greatest amount of responsibility with patients. This person is responsible for looking over doctor-provided notes on the patient and interpreting what tests the physician would like to see performed. In many cases, polysomnography technologist jobs require a high level of communication skills in order to talk with patients and inform them of the process. In addition, technologists must monitor the equipment to ensure it is working properly and then record the results for doctors to review later.
Assistants hold another important role in polysomnography jobs, because their work ensures that the technologist can focus on his or her duties. The assistant frequently will prep patients for a sleep study by answering questions, attaching sensors, ensuring the patient's comfort and performing any additional duties a technician needs done. Studies usually have several different patients on a given night, so an assistant might have to help with several patient observations.
One of the most complex polysomnography jobs is working as a coordinator. This is a managerial position that oversees a polysomnography department. This person must work with the technicians and assistants to ensure proper staff is on duty at all times and that each member is accurately trained on techniques and equipment. A coordinator must also work with directors of neurology departments in order to review current policies and procedures in order to keep the polysomnography department efficiently operating within requirements.