The nurse assessment coordinator defined
One of the hallmark traits of a dedicated individual is his or her desire to revisit a completed work, seemingly compelled to reflect on the minutiae and tweak aspects that others would probably never even notice. Good editors do this when they stuff complex manuscripts in their desk drawers after hours of intense labor because they know tomorrow, with a fresh set of eyes, they’ll find at least one more paragraph or phrasing or single word worth changing.
So much can be exhibited by associations as well. The American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination showed this earlier in the year when it replaced the word “Coordinators” with “Coordination” in its name with next to no fanfare. This was a simple alteration that may have gone unnoticed by many, but it was what AANAC saw as a necessary evolution to more accurately represent its mission. And now, on the heels of a new white paper, AANAC has revisited a job title that’s been around since the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 to provide for the first time a formal delineation of duties—the nurse assessment coordinator is officially defined. (Click here to access the paper from AANAC.)
Person-centered care, communication strategies to improving care quality and effective care planning responsibilities are highlighted in the white paper. Being an association that espouses culture change, and applauding the MDS 3.0 for its greater attention to resident-centeredness, AANAC is showing with this explanation that the nurse assessment coordinator is more important than ever before. By extension of that, the position is also more vulnerable to failure without the backbone of definition.
“Judging from the newly launched MDS 3.0,” the white paper reads, “and its required levels of assessment, documentation, education, care planning, team collaboration, and resident advocacy, it is evident that the NAC [nurse assessment coordinator] also needs to function as a case manager and care coordinator. The role of the NAC requires in-depth and comprehensive physical assessment skills, along with the ability to assess each resident holistically.”
The implementation of MDS 3.0 has been an opportunity for AANAC to rally its members and guide them with clarity. Hopefully this white paper serves them well. If anything else, it shows their association is dedicated to continued improvement.
Kevin Kolus wrote for I Advance Senior Care / Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012. He is now senior communications manager at Cleveland Clinic.