When Tim Woodford was growing up he never dreamed of being an electroencephalogram (EEG) technologist.
It’s not like you hear about the position a lot as a child and many of you reading this may not even know what an EEG technologist does.
So what led him to this field and joining Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) four and half years ago? His fascination with the brain.
“I have an undergraduate and master’s in neuroscience. After finishing my master’s I knew I wanted something more clinical. I was weighing my options when I learned about this field. It’s still neuroscience related so my studies aren’t going to waste,” chuckles Woodford.
“It’s a niche field. There’s probably only like 250 active EEG technologists in Canada, so it’s a small profession."
But the work they do is mighty, including conducting EEG tests.
“An EEG test looks at people’s brain waves. They’re primarily used for patients who have epilepsy and experience seizures, but they can also detect brain damage and dysfunction. Generally speaking, in between seizures the brain releases little discharges, like little waveforms that we can pick up on and record.
“A lot of these patients are looking for answers so it’s really rewarding when we, as a team, can help them potentially solve what’s going on in their brain.”
The hour-long test can be a little intimidating. Woodford has to measure and manually attach around 29 electrodes to a patient’s head, which takes 20 minutes.
To help ease any anxieties people may have, the EEG technologist gets to know them a little better.
“I just have a conversation with them about expectations and what’s happening next, and you can see them start to relax.
“One of the more enjoyable parts of the job is getting to hear their life story, where they’re from or learn about their interests. I myself am a big back country camper, so if someone mentions anything outdoorsy we talk about that. Sometimes they just need someone to talk to, so if I can, I’ll put in that extra time.”
It may not have been his childhood dream, but Woodford says he’s proud to be an EEG technologist and it’s more rewarding than he ever could have imagined.
“I 100 per cent made the right call, yes! I love being part of a problem solving team and I really enjoy interacting with our patients.”