Sarah Wyatt, R.EEG.T, was just 19 years old when she finished her EEG training and took a job at the VCU Health System in Richmond. She looked very young and the adult population “didn’t receive me very well,” she says. After just three months there, she took a job in the toy section of a local department store. She helped children pick out toys or entertained them while their parents shopped.
“I think God was setting me up for something,” says Sarah, a senior neurodiagnostic tech. “That job helped me view kids in a special way.” Six months later, Sarah returned to neurodiagnostics when she accepted a job at Children’s National Hospital.
May 2021 marks 50 years of service to Children’s National for Sarah. She’s seen her field transform in that time. “The machines used to be run by paper and they would squirt ink all over your clothes. You’d ruin a white blouse or lab coat,” Sarah remembers. “Now everything is digital, state-of-the-art. It’s been wonderful to see.”
The Children’s EEG Lab has also changed during her tenure. “I’ve seen it grow from two techs to now 17, with five regional outpatient locations,” she says. Sarah was a supervisor for many years and helped get the EEG Lab upgraded from analog to digital machines, which have video monitoring capability. She also led the lab’s transition from on-call to 24/7 coverage and spearheaded their accreditation from ABRET, a neurodiagnostic credentialing and accreditation board.
“I have really enjoyed my job, working with children and families,” she says. Sarah is soft spoken, and her demeanor puts kids at ease. “Not every kid is receptive to what you need to do, some come in crying and upset. I try to talk them through it, and find they’ll calm down as long as you’re calm. Every child I’ve worked with is special in their own right, and I’ve always found common ground with the parents. It’s been a delight.”
“If you have the right rapport and understanding going, you can endure everything,” Sarah says. “Sure there are trials and tribulations, and some days are more difficult than others, but it’s all about perception. It’s not as bad as it could be. The glass is always half full.”
Kedist Geremaw, D. Ed., EDS, MHA, Clinical Program Manager, has always been impressed with Sarah’s positive attitude. “Sarah is a dedicated worker, and cares so much about the children,” says Kedist. “I’ve worked with her for 16 years and have been impressed with her strength in times of adversity.”
Sarah was a supervisor for many years and stepped down from that role in October 2018. Now, she’s helping get the department’s patient data system organized and updated.
“I’ve had the best colleagues over the years,” Sarah says. “Demetrius Jackson was an excellent team lead, and all the EEG techs I’ve worked with and supervised have been skilled in our profession.”
“I plan to retire – put down my measuring tape and calipers – in the next few years, but during COVID especially it’s been good to have an outlet and somewhere to go instead of sitting looking at four walls,” Sarah says. “We’ve kept each other safe. I am truly blessed by God to have had longevity both in my career and here at Children’s National.”