To have a better understanding of who ENPs are, we reached out to our partners in the Canadian Association of Electroneurophysiology Technologists (CAET) and the Canadian Board of Registration of Electroencephalograph Technologists (CBRET) for an overview.
The CAET is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advance and promote the science, knowledge, technology and technical standards of electroneurophysiology in Canada.
Joanne Nikkel is the President of CAET and has served on the CAET Board for 4 years. She has over 25 years of ENP Technologist experience in EEG, Epilepsy Monitoring and EMG/Nerve conduction studies. She has been a CSCN EEG Board Examiner (for Physicians) for approximately 10 years.
The CBRET is a volunteer board made up of 10 Registered EEG Technologists (RET’s) or Physicians who are diplomates of the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiologists (CSCN) from all across Canada. Their mandate is to set and administer the national exam for EEG technologists entering the profession with the assistance of volunteer examiners across the country. They also establish the standards for educational programs in EEG, review the programs, and maintain a register of RET’s within Canada.
Susan McGregor is the Registrar of the CBRET.
Who is an ENP?
CAET (Joanne): Electro-Neuro-Physiology Technologists are a highly specialized group of trained and then certified Technologists who study the electrophysiology of brains, nerves and muscles and the pathways that connect them.
CBRET (Susan): An ENP, or Electroneurophysiology technologist is someone who prepares the person for and then records the electrical signals of their nervous system. This can take the form of EEG- the electrical activity of the brain, both recorded from the scalp but also directly from the brain during surgery, or even in a longer term situation where we record from electrodes which have been temporarily placed in someone’s brain by a neurosurgeon. Another area of ENP practice includes Evoked Potentials, where a stimulus is applied somewhere on the body and the response is tracked along the nerves to the brain, both in a clinic situation and operating room where it is known as Intra-Operative Monitoring (IOM).
What kind of person is attracted to this profession?
CAET (Joanne): Someone who loves people and is enthusiastic about how the nervous systems work. ENP techs are generally excited about seeing seizures on a recording or unusual waveforms in the nerve or intraoperative studies but must always keep in mind that those abnormal results belong to a real person suffering the consequences of the result.
CBRET (Susan): It takes an empathetic person with an eye for minute detail, and the ability to respond quickly to changes in the person being examined while adapting to a variety of physical presentations and surroundings. We work with people who walk in for an hour long appointment and people who have been so severely ill or injured that they will spend months in the hospital.
What are the elements of professionalism that you believe every ENP should embody?
CAET (Joanne): Tact, compassion and patience are the first things I think of. We encounter patients and patients’ families, as well as other members of the medical teams in so many situations, some of which are scary and emotional (patients) and highly stressful (working with surgeons in OR). The ENP technologist must be able to interact with all situations no matter how urgent, emotional, or highly stressful. They must be able to perform their job tasks efficiently and competently while maintaining appropriate communication with whoever they are working with.
CBRET (Susan): Our ENPs demonstrate teamwork, dedication, flexibility, forward thinking, empathy, and the ability to communicate with people of all ages, backgrounds, and situations
How would you rate your experience in working with ACMDTT as a regulatory body for ENPs in Alberta?
CAET (Joanne): It has been a pleasure and an education for which I am very thankful. The opportunities to work closely with this group and gain experience about regulation of our profession has been very valuable. Working with the Tri-Party ACMDTT/CBRET/CAET group for the betterment of all provinces is something I am so happy to be a part of and I remind our Canadian Technologists to be grateful as often as I can.
CBRET (Susan): The ACMDTT is the only regulatory body for ENP’s in Canada, and it has been tremendously supportive in ensuring that all the residents of Alberta, as well as many others who travel to Alberta for their health care, get the best qualified technologists.
Anything else that you want to share with MRTs and ENPs as they celebrate ENP week?
CAET (Joanne): Those of us not working in a regulated Province have watched and listened now for over a decade as the ENP group has become part of this regulated body. It has been a transition for which I believe most ENP techs I speak to now value compared to the initial trepidation at the beginning. I envy Alberta having this wonderful College and hope that all members of ACMDTT recognize it importance and value. I believe as this group comes together at the annual conference it should only make all members see its value and appreciate what you in your province have.
CBRET (Susan): Our best wishes for a deeply satisfying career to all the ENP’s out there, and our thanks to the ACMDTT for setting an example of teamwork, support and professionalism across Canada.