The Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) recently announced the development of an advanced credentialing examination for healthcare providers who work directly with sleep medicine patients, families and practitioners to coordinate and manage patient care, improve outcomes, educate patients and the community, and advocate for the importance of good sleep.
Currently, the BRPT offers a one-day Clinical Sleep Educator program that provides a certificate, not a credential, to healthcare providers. The certificate program was started 18 months ago as a first step to identify and define the emerging new role in sleep medicine. It initially focused on sleep apnea, but is gradually evolving and expanding in content area. The program has been met with such enthusiasm that there are now more than 1,200 individuals with the Clinical Sleep Educator certificate. In response to this clear need for recognition in a changing field, the BRPT is developing a new credential for healthcare providers which reflects the knowledge and skills needed to work as a sleep health specialist. The new exam will be offered for the first time in the Spring/Summer of 2014.
"We are thrilled to offer a credentialing examination that will enhance recognition and establish a common skill and knowledge base for this new area of expertise," said BRPT President Cindy Altman, RPSGT, R.EEG/EP T. "BRPT is already well respected worldwide as a credentialing organization for sleep technologists, so offering this new credential is a natural fit."
Added Altman, "The BRPT's sleep educator certificate program was a first step to determine the common education and skills that a variety of healthcare practitioners needed to move into the role of patient educator and case manager. Knowing that multiple ancillary healthcare professionals with varying education and experience levels contribute to the care of sleep medicine patients, BRPT is responding to the need for common standards and recognition for those individuals."
In early 2013, the BRPT conducted a Job Task Analysis (JTA) of individuals who reported providing sleep education, care, and follow up to patients, families, and the community as part of their jobs. The JTA, considered a testing best-practice, was completed to assure that the new exam tests what a candidate currently does on the job. A key element of the JTA process - conducted under the direction of the psychometric team from BRPT's testing partner, Pearson VUE - was a survey of working sleep educators and care managers. Said Becky Appenzeller, RPSGT, R.EEG T., Chair of the Examination Development Committee, "Knowing what healthcare providers are currently doing as the new role develops and gains recognition is an important first step in establishing a new credential. We know the duties and responsibilities of these healthcare providers will expand and evolve over time. The JTA gives us a valid starting point."
The new exam blueprint, built against the results of the JTA, is available on the BRPT website. Exam details, including the exact number of items, eligibility pathways, study references, and the credential awarded (acronym and official name), will be announced over the next few months well in advance of the first exam delivery in the Spring/Summer of 2014. Individuals who have a Clinical Sleep Educator certificate from the BRPT will initially be able to use the certificate as a pathway for the new exam. Eventually, the CSE certificate pathway will be eliminated and applicants will need to meet the existing exam eligibility pathways. It is important for individuals to understand that the new credentialing examination is much broader and encompasses more areas than those covered in the one-day Clinical Sleep Educator certificate program, but the certificate nevertheless is a good starting point for those transitioning into the new role or those who want more information on how to provide sleep education and management at an ancillary level. Said CSE Task Force Chair Robyn Woidtke, RPSGT, MSN, RN, "We wanted to make sure the CSE certificate could initially be used as a pathway for the new examination, particularly for sleep technologists looking for a career opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in the field of sleep medicine. However, the CSE certificate is not required for eligibility for the new exam. It can be used as a stepping stone to the new credential for those individuals who would initially not qualify for the examination."
Said BRPT President-Elect, Theresa Krupski, RPSGT, RRT, "BRPT's team of multidisciplinary Subject Matter Experts has been working tirelessly to bring this credential and exam to fruition. It's an exciting time for our field and we are very pleased to offer a new credential that will help expand the role of sleep technologists and ultimately enhance patient care."
The new exam will be offered on demand and will be administered through Pearson VUE. The exam will consist of multiple choice items, many that are scenario-based to emphasize critical thinking and reasoning. It is an advanced-level examination that encompasses a broad area of knowledge and is designed for individuals with experience in healthcare, patient education and management.
For more information, please visit www.brpt.org.