Meet the new Sleep Program Supervisor with Hoag Health System in California: Alana Sherrill, CCSH, RPSGT. Alana earned her RPSGT over 20 years ago and spent much of the past decade as a Sleep Disorders Care Navigator in the Hoag system. Because of this extensive on the job training, Alana has immense skill supporting patients throughout the sleep care continuum, from providing coaching for insomnia challenges, to helping find treatments for sleep disordered breathing struggles, to caring for patients throughout the surgical implant process. Now, Alana is using her years of on-the-job experience to help guide the growing sleep program at Hoag Health System. Why? The same reason you’re reading this story: we all share a passion for sleep care, and she wants to share it with the next generation of sleep technologists.
“Everybody sleeps, but nobody teaches you how to do it. You learn from your parents, who learned from their parents, and your learned techniques might not be the best way for you to sleep. There’s just so much knowledge available that people are unaware of as it relates to sleep,” said Alana Sherrill.At the end of the day, she wants to hook new technologists on the adrenaline rush that comes from treating patients with sleep disordered breathing issues. This was the case for Alana as the first patient she observed during an overnight ride-along firmly established her passion for sleep care.
Where Alana’s Passion for Sleep Care BeganFor many sleep professionals, there is a “click” moment where you hear sleep medicine calling. For Alana, it was her first night experiencing the life-changing impact of sleep medicine. Her brother, also a night tech, offered her a chance to observe, and she instantly was enamored with sleep when she saw how the patient reacted in the morning after getting a good night of sleep.
“The ability to intervene immediately and change someone’s life was something I wanted to experience again,” said Alana. “When someone wakes up and is hugging you, because for the first time in their life, they got a good night of sleep, it’s so rewarding.”In a field that is struggling to fill open roles – there are over 2,000 open sleep technologist jobs on Indeed right now – we need to find more ways to show young people the powerful impact you can make as a sleep technologist. Because as Alana proves, once you hook someone on sleep, you have them for life. As Alana highlights, the importance of educating and sharing your sleep knowledge with patients can’t be overstated. And the best way to keep sharing the latest knowledge is to pursue your own development with continuing education courses and credentials like the CCSH.
The Importance of the CCSH CredentialAs a Jill-of-all-trades in the sleep industry, Alana highlighted the importance of earning her Certification in Clinical Sleep Health (CCSH) to advance her career and make a greater impact on patients. For Alana, the CCSH allowed her to take ownership over more areas in the care continuum. When she went in to take her CCSH credentialing exam, her immediate feeling upon reading the questions and prompts was of excitement.
“I thought, YES! This is exactly the type of sleep care I already provide,” said Alana. “I became a really big advocate for the CCSH, as I think it will elevate our field as more people get credentialed.”After earning her CCSH, Alana’s role in the care continuum continued to evolve.
How Sleep Managers can Support Techs to Improve Patient CareWhile Alana shied away from taking a leadership role in the past, as she truly loved the patient care aspect of being a sleep tech, she’s excited to embrace her current role of Sleep Program Supervisor. A variety of roles over the years provided Alana with the skills and knowledge to expand her reach by mentoring and educating new techs. By being a great leader, more people can experience the magic of helping patients discover a solution to their sleep challenges.
“I hope sleep medicine continues to offer a space for the super tech who does it all: patient set-ups and education, scoring, treatment support, and everything else around the office,” said Alana. “There’s going to be a huge amount of techs retiring in the coming years, and we need to continue to offer a place for people to have a career in sleep medicine that is centered around providing quality patient care.”We completely agree, Alana, and we commend your passion for sleep care. There are so many ways technologists can support patients and improve the care process. From education to therapy support and sleep coaching, the mission is to get patients on the right treatment plan to improve their quality of life. Let’s make it happen, together!