Sleep is a big part of anyone’s life, and when it doesn’t come easy or go well, everything suffers. It’s no wonder then that sleep medicine has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades.
Respiratory therapists who specialize in this area of care are involved in both the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. What does it take to rise to the top in this specialty?
AARC member Peter Allen, BSRC, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, RST, RPSGT, clinical coordinator for the Main Line Health Sleep Disorders Centers in Pennsylvania and 2018 AARC Sleep Practitioner of the Year, has these bits of advice —
Develop your Education and Credentials: Remember it’s the journey, not the destination here. People will associate you with your goals before you ever reach them. Education and credentials give back to your career the day you start going for them. Even taking one course at a time towards your undergrad or graduate degree elevates your status within your current organization and helps you with new opportunities. Start with the NBRC Study Guide to gain the Sleep Disorders Specialty credential.
Conference Attendance: Local, regional, and national conference attendance will set you apart, boost your opportunities, and help make you the expert on current trends in the sleep disorders field. Invest in your career by attending whether your facility reimburses or not. Bring back conference content and share with your department.
Social Media: Great way to get more education and opportunities.
Networking: Develop your contact list; it will help you in many ways with your career.
Treatment Focused Opportunities: Clinical focus is moving rapidly from a diagnostics one to a treatment, patient education, and disease state management one. RTs working in the sleep disorders field are in the best position to take advantage of this trend. Being a “patient-centric” practitioner will be noticed by your co-workers, students, and management.
Become the Content Expert and “Sleep Go To Person” for Your Facility and Beyond: Speak within your organization, at conferences, and serve as community outreach for your organization. Learn from the speakers at events that you attend, put together a PowerPoint presentation, and get up there. Start with small events and work your way up. Speaking sets you apart and opens up opportunities for learning and within your career.