Darrick Whitfield is a career sleep technologist and has seen it all. He has been in the field for over 2 decades! I have the pleasure of working with Darrick and can attest to his massive knowledge and passion for this industry.
Darrick is double credentialed as an RPSGT and RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist). He met BPRT RPSGT Eligibility through pathway 2 since he was already an RRT. This pathway requires fewer clinical hours prior to sitting for the exam due to previous education and experience.
During Darrick's respiratory therapy schooling, he was introduced to sleep medicine and learned that it could be a career. He was so intrigued that during lesson breaks he would swing by the sleep center to witness the career firsthand. The tech on duty would show him EEG waveforms, REM (rapid eye movement) patterns, leg movements, and teeth grinding during sleep. Darrick said, "I could hear snoring as soon as I walked into the control room."
This technologist would also point out the times a person stopped breathing during the night and how quickly CPAP reduced snoring and eliminated pauses in breathing. He learned this would give the person a great night's sleep. "This was a career changing point for me." When he was working as a Respiratory Therapist, he would witness all these events in the hospital. When he discovered there was a way to treat those issues, he was sold!
Sleep education and studying for the RPSGT exam was somewhat difficult for Darrick. He would study every book he could find in his medical director's office. He used the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, R&K scoring manual (AASM scoring manual wasn't published until 2007), and International Classification of Disease.
Test preparation seminars helped him with test taking strategies and review of topics that would be on the exam. His study schedule included daily sessions, including weekends. He would memorized as much as he could and worked through "sleep math calculations" over and over. He figured out his areas of weakness and really homed in on those subjects. He studied for a solid year before sitting for the exam. "With proper studying habits, daily sacrifices, and the determination to pass this test, I will say, that one can pass this credentialing exam and obtain the gold standard of RPSGT."
"With proper studying habits, daily sacrifices, and the determination to pass this test, I will say, that one can pass this credentialing exam and obtain the gold standard of RPSGT."Darrick Whitfield
Darrick previously worked nights but now his typical day involves visiting local healthcare providers and raising awareness about sleep disorders. "Sleep disorders are still being overlooked in our primary care clinics" It is his job to help providers setup screening tools for their patients' risk for sleep apnea. He may also travel to sleep centers to setup sleep software, troubleshoot equipment, or perform complex testing like ASV titrations. On a typical day he could interact with a Nurse administrator, Marketing Directors, Physician, Office manager, Respiratory Director, or Sleep Clinical Director.
"I have enjoyed every day and night helping people live a healthier life by improving their quality of sleep."Darrick Whitfield
A challenge that Darrick faces is learning how to properly manage tasks. He has often worked alone and had to figure out proper troubleshooting in a timely manner. This is something many technologists experience and will lead to valuable lessons learned. Support is always a phone call away, but the critical thinking is left up to you to do the work and prioritize issues and solutions. It's a great tool to learn and can benefit all areas of life. At the end of a week, Darrick may perform maintenance, day testing, or accreditation policy tasks. "All of which was a challenge and a lot of hours per week spent but it advanced my career and that speaks volumes."
After 21 years in the sleep field, he has no regrets. The educational, physical, and financial rewards are endless. "I have enjoyed every day and night helping people live a healthier life by improving their quality of sleep." Darrick's long-term goal is to grow in his role at Focus Health.
I am so happy to share this story from such and knowledgeable seasoned sleep technologist. If you want to be Darrick someday, register for an upcoming course and start your path to becoming a sleep technologist.
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