A nerve conduction study may be defined as the induction of a propagating action potential in the peripheral nervous system and the subsequent recording of its neural impulse at some location distant to the impulse’s initiation site. By calculating the ability of peripheral nerves to conduct an electrical impulse, it is possible to assess their functional status in a healthy state and responses to various disease processes. Nerve conduction studies allow one to accurately localize focal lesions or detect generalized disease processes along accessible portions of the peripheral nervous system.
The Nerve Conduction Studies Technologist works under the supervision and direction of an electrodiagnostic consultant, trained as defined by the guidelines of the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AAEM). The consultant is responsible for the interpretation of the studies, but the technologist may perform a variety of functions and tests in the laboratory/office, depending upon the technologist’s level of training and experience.
The technologist should be able to establish good rapport with patients and staff and be able to deal with severely ill patients. The technologist should be able to instruct the patient in the tests to be conducted, prepare the patient, apply surface electrodes, make accurate measurements, and keep the equipment in good condition through calibration and adjustments.
A senior technologist may have responsibility for work assignment, in-service training, and instruction of junior personnel.
Acquisition of knowledge and skills should be demonstrated through written and practical examinations. The national registry board examinations for Nerve Conduction Studies are provided by the American Association of Electrodiagnostic Technologists (AAET). Successful completion of the examinations provides the credential, R. EDT.
Job Descriptions with qualifications for Nerve Conduction Studies Technologists from Beginners to Supervisors in the field are available through the AAET.
Hands-On Nerve Conduction Studies Workshops are provided throughout the country by the AAET and train technologists in the accepted techniques of motor and sensory nerve conduction studies technology.