Healthcare Science Week – let’s meet Kimberley, a sleep technician associate

Thursday 14th March 2024

Healthcare Science Week – let’s meet Kimberley, a sleep technician associate

What’s your name, role and where you work?
My name is Kimberley Healey and I’m a sleep technician associate. I work in the Sleep Disorder Centre here at QVH, which provides treats all aspects of adult sleep medicine, and is one of the six largest centres in the UK. The centre diagnoses and treats all aspects of adult sleep medicine, mainly respiratory disorders during sleep, which includes insomnia and sleep disordered breathing (SDB).

Describe a day in the life at work?
A day in the life of a sleep technician associate is very varied, with no two days the same and of course all patients are unique, which makes every interaction different. I work both days and nights; on my night shifts we tend to have six patients in the unit, and each technician will look after two patients. During the night, we will greet our patients and show them to their rooms, then let them settle in and then wire them up for their sleep studies.

If the patient is in for a full polysomnography (a test used to diagnose sleep disorders), we would then monitor them throughout the night making sure the signals are good and readable. During the day, we see patients and set them up on Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) therapy, or check on existing patients on therapy. We also assist consultants with ECGs and blood gases when requested.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
The thing I enjoy most is the variation, and knowing that I am making a difference to patients’ lives. The rewarding side of my job is when a patient tells me after going through a CPAP set up, how amazing they feel and that they have never slept so well. I love monitoring patients throughout the night, and that every day has something new in sleep and respiratory science, and of course the patients are always unique, so I’m always learning.

What was your career path to the position you’re in now?
When I joined the QVH, I already had my NVQ 2 and 3 in health and social care. I then completed my Care Certificate, phlebotomy (taking blood) training, inhouse training for my sleep competencies, and the Accredited Sleep Technology Education Program (ASTEP) provided by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). I then applied to do my Level 4 apprenticeship in Healthcare Science (Sleep and Respiratory).  I am six months into my apprenticeship and loving learning again.

What qualities do you need to do your role?
To work in sleep and respiratory science, you need to have patience, to care and be compassionate, be proactive, and be willing to continue learning.