Neurotechnologist Training Program
Q. What is Intraoperative Neuromonitoring?
Intraoperative Monitoring (IOM) is a niche medical field that ensures the safety of patients undergoing surgery where there is a risk of injury to the nervous system. Examples of such surgeries include spine, brain, vascular, ENT, and orthopedic surgery. The goal of IOM is to identify changes in the function of the nervous system during surgery and intervene with the surgical and anesthesia teams to correct these changes before they become permanent. IOM saves lives and prevents the devastating consequences of brain or spinal cord injury.
To achieve the goals of IOM, IOM technologists in the operating room set up and run electrophysiologic tests on patients and communicate findings to the surgical and anesthetic team along with a remote neurologist who is also on the IOM team. These tests include evoked potentials, EEG, EMG and other methods of stimulating and recording from the patient’s nervous system.
Q. Do You Want to Train to Become a Neurotechnologist?
The neurotechnologist (NT) plays a vital role in the operating room and works as a team with the surgeon and anesthesiologist. The NT has a high level of patient interaction from conducting a patient interview and consent to placing electrodes and setting the patient up for electrical testing during surgery. In the operating room, the NT establishes baseline functional data for the patient and watches for any deviation from that patient’s baseline function. If neurological function begins to decline, the neurotechnologist consults with a neurologist, who is part of the IOM team, and communicates the changes to the surgical team. The entire care team works to correct the cause of the changes in a timely manner thus preventing a permanent neurological deficit or even death.
If you thrive in a fast-paced challenging environment and have wanted to play an import role in the healthcare field you may want to consider a career in IOM. NMA offers salaried training positions, Fellow Neurotechnologist, in the field where you can become one of the best neurotechnologists in the field of IOM.
Q. What Does it Take to Become a Neurotechnologist?
To qualify for NMA’s training program you should hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree from an accredited university, preferably in a biological or health sciences field. You should be confident, outgoing, intelligent, and hard working. Most importantly you should be dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others.
If selected to join the NMA training program you will undergo a one year training period that includes intensive didactic and practical training. The culmination of the training program is certification in intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring, designated by the CNIM credential. View current openings for Fellow Neurotechnologists here.
Q. What Should You Expect During Training?
If you are chosen for our ABRET recognized IOM training program, you will begin the first phase of your training in what we like to call Boot Camp. Your first two weeks will be spent in our training facility in Salt Lake City, UT where you will learn about the various disciplines making up IOM including: anatomy, neurophysiology, surgery, pathology, anesthesia, and electronics and instrumentation. This foundation will be applied to your study of evoked potentials and other neurodiagnostic modalities that you will routinely use in the operating room. Following the two-week didactic training you will relocate to your training site for the next twelve weeks where you will be paired up with a clinical mentor. Your fellow neurotechnologist training site and mentor are chosen based on what our education team feels will be the best fit for you. This may or may not be your permanent home location.
During this twelve-week period you will work one on one with your clinical mentor in the operating room while continuing your didactic training through synchronous and asynchronous online education. Completion of the fourteen-week didactic and OR boot camp will be based on a rigorous competency assessment. Successful completion of the first phase of training leads to your independent monitoring of basic and intermediate spine surgery. At this point you will relocate to your permanent location if you are not already there.
The second phase of training will continue with the development of your clinical skills based on the needs of your local market. Additional online education will be centered around advanced concepts and modalities in IOM preparing you to enter into the third phase of training, CNIM preparation.
At approximately the nine month mark you will have enough cases to begin preparing to sit for the CNIM exam. You will then enroll in NMA’s CNIM training course which consists of a six week online guided study followed by an in person weekend CNIM review class in a remote location. Once you have passed your CNIM exam you will be promoted from a training fellow to a neurotechnologist and be on your way to a bright and rewarding career with NMA in the field of intraoperative monitoring.