EEG technicians use an electroencephalograph (EEG machine) to measure the electrical activity of the brain. The records obtained are then used by specialists to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy, damage to the brain as well as for research in the neurological, psychological and psychiatric fields.
EEG technicians must be able to distinguish between normal and abnormal readings. They need to be able to react appropriately in emergency situations. They must also manage the laboratory and maintain the apparatus. EEG technicians prepare the information for the analysis, interpretation and writing of reports which are done by experts, who may be neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychologists or psychiatrists.
After a patient has been reassured and helped to relax, electrodes are selected and placed on the patient’s scalp in standard locations. Each examination takes approximately 30 minutes and techniques which activate the brain, such as a bright flickering light or deep breathing, are usually included. While the electrical activity of the brain is being recorded, the technician observes and records the patient’s behaviour. The EEG technician records details such as age, head injuries, diseases and present symptoms.
EEG technicians are also responsible for the classification and filing of reports, arranging of appointments, ordering of supplies and maintenance of equipment. They normally work regular hours, but when emergency situations arise, they may be expected to work overtime.
Persons who have nursing or paramedical qualifications or experience are given preference.
Training is usually in-service and takes place at selected EEG laboratories over a one-year period. During this year, experience is gained by performing EEG examinations on people with various problems, under the supervision of qualified EEG technicians or medical specialists who have also been trained in this field.
Subjects studied include: Neurology, Neuro-anatomy, Neuro-pathology, Electrophysiology, EEG. Instrumentation and Controls, Electrical Safety
Practical experience is gained under the supervision of a qualified EEG technician.
No diploma or certificate is issued, but after successful completion of the theoretical and practical training and an examination, the student registers with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
The SA Society for Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology can be contacted for further information in this regard.
In order to work in this occupation you will be required to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). Please check their website under the Board for Radiology and Clinical Technology for the most up-to-date requirements.
Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
(553) of Hamilton and
Tel: (012) 338-9300
Neurology departments of academic hospitals or private EEG laboratories can also be contacted for more information.