How I Became a Sleep Navigator adminJuly 28, 2023 Ken Hooks, RRT, RPSGT, is sleep navigator at Bon Secours St Francis, in Greenville, SC. Hooks had earned an associate of science degree with a respiratory care focus in 2013, but sleep medicine only appeared on his radar after an instructor let Hooks know about a job opening at a local sleep lab. “I went to the sleep lab and I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it,” he says with a chuckle. “I was soon looking at EEGs and setting up patients.” Witnessing the power of sleep medicine built an appreciation that led to hours of independent study. “As I became more comfortable, I started seeing how a patient’s physiology was being changed once we added CPAP,” says the 38-year-old Hooks. “It made me curious as to what was really going on. I started researching, looking at a bunch of case studies, and seeing the true effects of what sleep does for the body.” Hooks’ “sleep gig” morphed into a calling. “I learned a tremendous amount, and I met so many doctors during my time as a clinical manager,” Hooks remembers. “Meeting dentists, orthodontists, and myofunctional therapists has allowed me to expand my work, including being published in a case study with a dentist and an ENT concerning maxillary expansion.”1 So when Bon Secours posted an opening for a newly created sleep navigator position, it was a classic case of preparation meeting opportunity. Having earned the trust of sleep department officials in his clinical manager role, Hooks was able to transition into a sleep navigator role at Bon Secours in the spring of this year. Hooks says the basis of his learning can be distilled to a crucial question: How does sleep affect the body directly and indirectly? While navigating the administrative portions of the job can take a fair amount of time, Hooks makes it a point to search for solutions within the clinical realm. He says, “The best part is being able to ask patients, ‘Have you ever looked at sleep as a cause of your ‘idiopathic’ comorbidities?’ What I’ll say is, ‘We may not eliminate your comorbidities, but we may be able to reduce the symptoms and signs associated with those comorbidities thanks to treatments such as CPAP and BiPAP.’” Greg Thompson is a Loveland, Colo-based freelance writer. Reference Alexander N, Boota A, Hooks K, White JR. Rapid maxillary expansion and adenotonsillectomy in 9-year-old twins with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: an interdisciplinary effort. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2019 Feb 1;119(2):126-34.