What is a Neurodiagnostic Technologist?
Also known as: Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist.
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Neurodiagnostic technology assists in diagnosing problems with the brain, nervous system, and sleep habits of humans. Someone in this profession uses complex diagnostic equipment to perform tests that target these three areas of the human body. A neurodiagnostic technologist works in a hospital or outpatient clinic setting. He/she is usually the person who discovers abnormalities that allow the physician to diagnosis and treat a patient’s problems.
How to Become a Neurodiagnostic Technologist
What does a Neurodiagnostic Technologist do?
Neurodiagnostic technologists are responsible for doing a variety of tests that look at how the brain, nerves, and muscles work. They talk with patients and prepare them for testing by explaining what is going to occur, how it will affect them, and why the results of the testing will assist the patient’s physician. They perform the test, ensure the results are accurate, and recognize and correct abnormalities caused by sources other than the patient.
Neurodiagnostic technologists will review, edit, and offer explanations for test results prior to sending them to the physician. They need to ensure that the information the report relays has value and is easy for the physician to interpret and apply to the patient’s clinical condition. They need to account for normal variances versus abnormalities in testing results.
The neurodiagnostic technologist is capable of performing a variety of advanced diagnostic tests:
- electroencephalograms that measure electrical activity of the brain
- nerve conduction studies that measure how the brain conducts messages to various nerves throughout the body
- electromyography, which measures the electrical activity of skeletal muscles
- intraoperative monitoring of nerves and muscle responses
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How to become a Neurodiagnostic Technologist
Neurodiagnostic technologists must be comfortable working with people and be able to communicate effectively. Interpersonal skills help the neurodiagnostic technologist convey instructions and allay anxiety. They must be able to employ active listening and problem solving skills to encourage cooperation.
Neurodiagnostic technologists must also be comfortable working with other members of the healthcare team. They must interact with physicians and surgeons who want the test results. They must be able to explain the testing results and answer any questions the physician may have. Accurate results are the cornerstone of the testing process.
Other desirable traits include exceptional fine motor skills, adequate hearing and vision, and critical thinking abilities. They will need to understand and utilize personal protective equipment and universal protective and safety precautions.
An associates degree in electroneurodiagnostic technology is the entry-level educational requirement. This degree can be obtained at a community college. There are a number of colleges across North American that offer this program. Prospective students should have a strong background in sciences such as biology. It takes the average student approximately 24 months to complete all the coursework needed to graduate. Classes such as anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, and general psychology will complement clinical training.
What is the workplace of a Neurodiagnostic Technologist like?
Neurodiagnostic technologists can expect to work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, research facility, or a sleep study lab. The workspaces are clean but often small. The machinery takes up a large portion of the space, leaving a relatively small space for the patient and technician.