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Respiratory Therapists Help Ease Chronic Conditions

Respiratory Therapists Help Ease Chronic Conditions

Cindy Mehallow, Monster Contributing Writer

RTs Put Sleep Disorders to Rest

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, night tremors, insomnia and sleepwalking. Sleep disorder clinics are flourishing, creating more opportunities for RTs.

With their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, the heart, lungs and breathing-related disorders, RTs have a solid basis for learning about sleep disorders, says Karen Schell, RT, sleep lab manager at Newman Regional Health, and a registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT).

RTs aspiring to work in a sleep lab should participate in a three- to six-week training session at an accredited sleep school, Schell says. (For a list of accredited programs, contact the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.) To advance, RTs should consider becoming an RPSGT, she adds.

Unlike other areas in chronic care, RTs treating sleep patients often see instant results. “Many patients don’t realize how long it’s been since they’ve had a good night’s sleep,” Schell explains. “When they wake up feeling refreshed, they are thrilled.”

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