Neurodiagnostic Technology is the medical diagnostic field devoted to the recording and study of electrical activity in the brain and nervous system. Neurodiagnostic technologists possess the knowledge, skills, and attributes to obtain interpretable recordings of patients’ nervous system function. They work in collaboration with medical researchers, clinicians, physicians, and other health professionals.
The neurodiagnostic technologist can be involved in one or more of the following diagnostic procedures: electroencephalography (EEG), evoked potential (EP), long term monitoring (LTM), polysomnography (PSG), nerve conduction studies (NCS), and intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM). The technologist takes the medical history; documents the clinical condition of patients; understands and employs the optimal use of EG, EP, PSG, and NCS equipment; and applies adequate recording electrodes. Among other duties, the neurodiagnostic technologist also understands the interface between EEG, EP, PSG, and NCS equipment and other electrophysiological devices and procedures; recognizes and understands EEG/EP/NCS/sleep activity displayed; manages medical emergencies in the laboratory; and prepares a descriptive report of recorded activity for the interpreting physician. The responsibilities of the technologist may also include laboratory management and the supervision of neurodiagnostic technologists. Considerable individual initiative, reasoning skill, and sound judgment are all expected of the neurodiagnostic professional.
Neurodiagnostic personnel work primarily in neurology-related departments of hospitals, but many also work in clinics and the private offices of neurologists and neurosurgeons. Growth in employment within the profession is expected to be greater than average, owing to the increased use of EEG and EP techniques in surgery; in diagnosing and monitoring patients with epilepsy; and in diagnosing sleep disorders. Technologists generally work a 40-hour week, but may work 12-hour days for sleep studies and be on-call for emergencies and intraoperative monitoring.
Length. Programs may be 12 to 24 months and are typically integrated into a community college-sponsored program leading to an associate degree.
Prerequisites. High school diploma or equivalent.
Curriculum. The curriculum includes anatomy, physiology, and neuroanatomy (with major emphasis on the brain), as well as instrumentation, personal and patient safety, recording techniques, clinical neurodiagnostics, and correlations. Clinical rotations are conducted in medical centers.