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Staff Spotlight: Melanie McBroom, MS, EMT-NC

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

This week’s “Spotlight” interview shines on Melanie McBroom, MS, EMT-NC, neurodiagnostic technician within the EMG lab in our 1L clinic. McBroom talks to us about her work helping patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, ALS, and other conditions. She also discusses how her master’s degree and experience as an EMT inform her work, the most difficult and enjoyable parts of her job, and looking forward to not having to wear a mask when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

What are your current responsibilities within our EMG lab? What does a typical day look like for you?
In the EMG lab we do diagnostic testing through nerve conduction studies, EMGs, and nerve ultrasounds. A typical day consists of ~15 patients, with a wide variety of disease processes anywhere from carpal tunnel syndrome to ALS. Occasionally there are inpatient studies we have to go into the hospital to perform. The technicians bring patients back and perform the nerve conduction studies and ultrasounds. 

How did you decide to join the EMG lab, and what were you doing before you came here?
I was originally working in cardiology (cardiac rehab/clinical exercise physiology/cardiac tech) before coming to neurology. Electromyography sparked an interest and I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience, so I transferred. It was a great choice- I have gained some amazing relationships while being here, and have learned so much.

You have both a masters and an EMT license for North Carolina. How do each of those degrees inform your current work?
My master’s degree is in Clinical Exercise Physiology, which entails an abundance about the body processes, anatomy and physiology, etc. I do believe that helped me in some areas of my job, but the majority of the knowledge and technical skills I learned right here at Duke.

Emergency medical services has always been a passion of mine, so in 2018 I got certified. This really furthered my medical education as well as satisfied my desire to help people and save lives. I work Caswell County EMS on the side when I have time outside of Duke and other commitments!

What do you enjoy most about your work?
My favorite part of my job is definitely the patient experience aspect! I love getting to know the patients and their story; talking them through a somewhat uncomfortable test all while trying to figure out what is going on with them physically. Interacting with my co-workers, the fellows, and attendings is great too! We’re really like a family around the EMG lab.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
I guess the hardest would be seeing people in such pain and knowing they have been through so much testing but cannot find out what is wrong. Also seeing the very sweetest people get a terrible diagnosis.

What are you most looking forward to once the COVID-19 pandemic is over?
Not wearing this mask anymore!!! I will be so glad when we are done with the masks. I’ll also be happy to be able to enjoy some concerts again and other activities that covid affected.

What other passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I really love being outdoors. Fishing, shooting (bows & guns), hiking, playing football and also working out.Another passion of mine is playing keyboard in my church band, it has been a really amazing experience and lots of fun!

I absolutely love family time, spending time laughing and hanging out with loved ones and friends/boyfriend.

McBroom shows off one of her smaller catches in this photo.