Champions of Sleep

Vol. 19 • Issue 6 • Page 22

Crowning the winners of the National Sleep Achievement Awards is one of our favorite parts of the job here at ADVANCE. We love celebrating the hard work and innovation of these dedicated people. Read on to see winners of our eighth annual contest.

1. Best department

“No way in the world” would Vince Vicarini wear a positive airway pressure mask, thought his father, Norm. Vince, 48, has cerebral palsy and seizures, making him a potentially tricky sleep apnea patient.

His worries quickly disappeared when the pair entered Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital Sleep Disorder Center almost four years ago. A mix of various acclimation methods, close work with the parents and caregivers, and treatment of underlying nasal problems helped to turn Vince into a model patient, said nurse practitioner Loretta Colvin, CRNP. Vince and his family saw improvements in his daytime sleepiness, quality of nighttime sleep, and mood.

“They had all kinds of patience to deal with him,” Norm said gratefully.

Patience is not the only virtue at the six-bed American Academy of Sleep Medicine-accredited facility. Our best department winner leads the way with a host of research and quality improvement projects.

One study uses wireless polysomnography on patients pre- and post-cardiothoracic surgery to determine how sleep-disordered breathing affects hospitalized patients’ recovery, said Medical Director Nancy Collop, MD. These tests are done during the regular night lab hours so that the techs can observe the studies “real time” remotely and allow the patients to get a PSG in the comfort of their room – thereby not disrupting their medications, IVs, catheters, and nursing care.

The Hopkins sleep staff also has implemented quality improvement programs to facilitate in-patients’ sleep in the neurology ward and medical intensive care unit. They work to reduce the amount of nighttime environmental noise (minimizing pages in people’s rooms, floor cleaning, etc.). In addition, groups do “sleep rounds” telling these patients to get ready for sleep, asking about their pain, and offering extra blankets or eye masks. “It cues the patient and the staff that sleep is important,” Dr. Collop noted.

Colvin adds, “In the end, it is our team members and our dedication to work together on new projects and ideas, on top of our reputation of being a great sleep center for our patients, that draws and retains staff.”

Honorable Mention

• Institute of Sleep Medicine of DuPage Medical Group, Lombard, Ill., and Naperville, Ill.

• Wooster Community Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, Wooster, Ohio

2. Best manager

Diane Roe, RPSGT, did not have a problem coming up with words to describe the attributes of Iouri Kreinin, RPSGT. Her nomination essay for Kreinin, technical program director, Beaumont Sleep Evaluation Service – Berkley Center, Berkley, Mich., ended up a whopping 11 pages.

“Iouri has fostered an atmosphere of learning, growth, and quality; one of trust, support, teamwork, transparency, feedback, and clear policies,” wrote Roe, staff technologist, on behalf of her staff.

Kreinin, 51, implemented Lean and Six Sigma principles, which increased volume, productivity, efficiency, and revenue, and decreased overtime. He initiated cross-training between technical and office staffs to improve scheduling and provide better services to patients and physicians.

While always looking to improve Beaumont’s business side, Kreinin also pays close attention to providing quality care. He developed the center’s policies and procedures manual, including an extensive PAP titration manual, and took point in achieving AASM accreditation for the facility. He also trains and prepares all techs for the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists’ exam, maintaining a 100 percent RPSGT facility.

However, among his many accomplishments, Kreinin said he is most proud of building the team, and developing and directing the Beaumont School of Polysomnographic Technology certificate program. The curriculum was awarded the BRPT’s alternate educational program designation in 2008, and the school received Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs’ accreditation in 2009. A year later, the center’s training programs earned AASM A-STEP provider accreditation. Seventy percent of the center’s techs graduated from the school.

Kreinin spends his time teaching, updating the curriculum, and looking for ways to optimize learning. “Education is an investment in the quality of services and team building,” he said.

Kreinin’s hard work does not go unnoticed. “He has been our leader, our mentor, our friend,” Roe said. “Our respect for him is profound, our loyalty unending.”

Honorable Mention

• Kornelia Deneau, RPSGT, Good Shepherd Center for Sleep Disorders, Longview, Texas

• Kimberly Scott, Sleep Disorder Centers, McKinney, Texas

3. Best tech

After earning her RPSGT in 2002, Denise Whitehouse went for the ?RRT-SDS six years later, making her one of first people to achieve the new credential from the National Board for Respiratory Care. In fact, she is probably one of the few sleep professionals to have both sets of letters after her name.

“I believe it’s beneficial to keep up with credentials,” says Whitehouse, the lead scorer at Ellis Medicine Sleep Disorders Center, Schenectady, N.Y. “It shows a continued interest in the field and the desire to improve skills within your scope of practice.”

Whitehouse, 54, is a role model for her colleagues, wrote Michael King, RRT, RPFT, manager of sleep disorders and respiratory therapy, in his nomination essay. “I don’t believe you can find a more dedicated sleep tech. She continually pushes for improvement, while still completing her primary tasks.”

Among her duties beyond scoring, Whitehouse trains new techs, runs staff in-services, and evaluates, implements, and troubleshoots equipment. “I count on her input before considering any technological changes,” King said.

Whitehouse also prepares for the AASM accreditation visit, writes and updates necessary policies, and appears on local TV to raise awareness about sleep issues. “When we need more,” King summed up, “Denise gives it.”

Honorable Mention

• Daylene Currier, RPSGT, Ketchikan General Hospital, Ketchikan, Ark.

• Craig Howard, RPSGT, Sleepcare Diagnostics, Mason, Ohio

Contact Mike Bederka at [email protected].