Education for Better Patient Outcomes

Vol. 21 • Issue 1 • Page 6

Sleep Tracks

The Clinical Sleep Educator Certificate Program offered by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists gives non-physician health care providers working in sleep medicine the training and education to aid in the care and management of patients with sleep disorders, primarily obstructive sleep apnea.

“There’s a pronounced need – and desire – for a more structured approach to training a clinical sleep educator,” said Cindy Altman, RPSGT, R. EEG/EP T., president of the BRPT. That need is being met in the form of BRPT’s Clinical Sleep Educator Certificate Program.

In 2012, the daylong program will be presented at the FOCUS conference in Nashville, May 9. Sessions will cover: the scope of practice and role of the sleep educator; diagnosis and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing; understanding sleep medicine testing and reports; communication techniques for patients, families, and health care providers; building community and patient support programs and recognition; positive airway pressure equipment and mask workshops; and comprehensive case presentations encompassing these topic areas.

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Qualifying participants will be awarded an assessment-based certificate as a clinical sleep educator. In addition, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, and sleep technologists can earn up to eight continuing education credits for attendance.

Prior to BRPT’s involvement in the program, the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) sponsored an annual conference entitled “Becoming a Sleep Educator,” in recognition of patients’ needs for ongoing adjustments and interactions with health care professionals trained to offer sleep education. ACCP has since collaborated with BRPT and transferred the administration and management of the effort.

“We’re excited that ACCP’s original ‘Becoming a Sleep Educator’ conference has evolved into the BRPT’s Clinical Sleep Educator Certificate Program,” Altman said.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Licensed and/or certified health care professionals, including nurses, sleep technologists, respiratory care practitioners, psychologists, social workers, physicians, physician assistants, and health educators, are eligible to earn the certificate. After meeting program requirements, individuals must successfully complete a post-program test.

Earning a certificate as a clinical sleep educator is voluntary and is not required by law for employment. Yet, employers may use the certificate to meet requirements for job competencies, promotions, salary increases, or other considerations.

What is an assessment-based certificate?

The clinical sleep educator is identified through an assessment-based certificate. To receive it, the participant must document program attendance and demonstrate that learning objectives and outcomes were achieved through a proficiency exam. The certificate is not time-limited and does not require subsequent activities to maintain it.

Assessment-based certificate holders are not awarded an acronym for use after their names. However, in the event BRPT should develop a clinical sleep educator credentialing exam in the future, holders of the Clinical Sleep Educator Certificate will be eligible to sit for the exam.

What is BRPT’s involvement?

BRPT makes the certificate program possible by providing instruction and training to participants to achieve specific learning objectives related to clinical sleep education and by evaluating achievement through a post-test. The BRPT will award qualified program participants with a certificate to signify their successful completion of the program. For more information go to course.

What is the role of a clinical sleep educator?

A clinical sleep educator:

• has knowledge of diagnosis and management of sleep disorders, with a focus on OSA;

• understands communication techniques for enhancing education for patients, families, and the community;

• understands what to look for and how to analyze the results of various tests and tools used to diagnosis, evaluate, and monitor sleep disorders;

• knows how to assess patient compliance and comfort with treatment to improve clinical outcomes;

• knows when and how to communicate effectively with physicians and other health care professionals to report symptoms, persistent treatment issues, or barriers to optimal care and management;

• serves as a resource to the community and other health care providers by promoting education on sleep disorders, treatment, follow up and outcomes, as well as good sleep hygiene;

• does not diagnose, treat, or provide any such services prohibited by law or scope of practice.

– Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists

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