Oct. 15, 2019 – Today I had the pleasure of meeting a team with a very specialized focus. Working closely with neurologists and other physicians, these medical professionals are trained to operate an electroencephalograph, a machine that monitors a patient’s nervous system by analyzing their brain wave patterns and electrical activity. Technicians place soft padded wires, called electrodes, on the scalp to conduct the tests, more commonly known as an EEG. Normal electrical activity in the brain makes a recognizable pattern that can be interpreted, much like a normal heart rhythm. Most EEG studies are initiated to diagnose and monitor seizure disorders, but they can also identify causes of other problems such as sleep disorders and changes in behavior. The team stays busy with about 4,500 EEG inpatient and outpatient studies annually.
During this visit, I got to know the team and what they’re working on while we enjoyed a delicious barbecue lunch. I learned about a quality improvement project in the NICU that is aimed at making the electrodes more comfortable for neonates. Interventions include using a special silicone dressing under the electrode to reduce skin breakdown, using disposable leads and trying out a different waffle-shaped design that helps to disperse pressure more effectively. The leads can stay on for more than two days, so protecting an infant’s delicate skin is a top priority.
The team is growing, and working toward having EEG technicians available 24/7 to perform studies and handle any issues that might arise. A major positive change happened five years ago when the EEG and neurology teams came together under the same umbrella, facilitating closer collaboration between the departments. One technician described the changes as a “big jump in the right direction.”
I was impressed with how this team believes in training from within. It’s a brilliant way to curate homegrown talent that knows and trusts each other. In fact, during this visit, I heard this group say they are “like a family” and that their strong bond is “like having brothers and sisters.” I also loved hearing that “it’s a pleasure to come to work every day.”
It doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to staff engagement! Happy employees can’t help but spread their positive attitude to other teams and the families with whom they interact. I left with another cool stamp added to my passport and, once again, a full stomach! Thanks for the great visit and for taking such great care of our patients.