Jobs in health care [Pictures]
Learn about the wide variety of careers in the health-care field in the words of local professionals. This is a regularly updated gallery. If you would like to spotlight your medical career, email email@example.com. We will consider submissions of jobs not already profiled.
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Mbuyi Ilunga works at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center Sleep Center and has been a sleep technician since July 2005.
What does your job entail?
My job consists of many different aspects or tasks. The very first thing is welcoming the patient into the sleep laboratory. ... Once the patient is ready for the study, they are advised to sit up on the bed or chair and let us apply a number of electrodes on different parts of their body. Electrodes on their heads allow us to record brain waves by using a special computer system. Electrodes on the heart allow us to record electrocardiogram. Electrodes on arms and legs allow us to record any possible movements of these body parts. Once the electrodes application is completed, the patient wears a cannula that may reveal a number of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, then fitted with a mask if necessary to treat the apnea. Throughout the night the patient is watched through a camera that is in the room, transmitting images in the technician room or control room where the study is being run on the computer all night.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
Prior to starting my job, I had to undergo polysomnography training at the Essex Campus of the Community College of Baltimore County for three months, followed by another training organized by the company, Sleep Services of America, after being hired. Then a hands-on training at an assigned laboratory, which for me at the time was Sinai Hospital Sleep Center.
What inspired you to this career?
Before joining Sleep Services of America, I was working as a residential counselor in a local group home or community care facility. As I was planning to go to college and looking for a better job, my father suggested that I look into the sleep laboratory technician job right after he was a patient and had a sleep study himself. After doing so, I discovered that it was a kind of job that will allow me to stay in a health care field with great potential for a long career.
What do you like best about your job?
Meeting patients who share with me their sleep problems and even share with me some things from their personal and professional life. [Also] being able to wake them in the morning knowing that I have made a difference in their lives by diagnosing their sleeping issues and sometimes by treating their sleep apnea if they had it. All sleep reports I make allow doctors to prescribe an adequate treatment to the patient.
What are the challenges?
The biggest challenge of this job is the ability to stay awake all night watching the patient and the progress of the study, [and] the need to keep up to date with the changing technology and new concepts in sleep medicine through continuing education credits, which will help me to stay licensed with the board.