AAPACN is dedicated to supporting post-acute care nurses provide quality care.

6 Things DONs Can Do to Help Their Nurse Assessment Coordinator Thrive

1.       Evaluate if the nurse assessment coordinator has enough hours

The nurse assessment coordinator’s (NAC’s) job is a lot to handle, and it’s getting even bigger with more and more regulations coming their way. Sometimes there’s just not enough time to complete all of the tasks required. To help ease the burden and ensure more accurate coding and reimbursement from your NAC, the DON should consider:

  • Hiring one or more assistants to help with the workload
  • Eliminating non-MDS assigned duties (such as meal serving or on-call)
  • Ensuring the NAC is attending the right meetings and not unnecessary meetings (such as alarm reduction committee, Hospice team, or physician rounds)

2.       Relieve the nurse assessment coordinator’s stress

The NAC has a high-stress, but a very important job to do. Help your NAC find relief by offering benefits like a wellness program, send them on a learning vacation to Vegas, or remind them to take a moment to breathe. You as a nurse leader can help manage the atmosphere of your team and how effective they are by providing them outlets or solutions for their stress.

3.       Show your NAC that you appreciate them

Recognition is a very effective intrinsic motivator. Sometimes, all your NAC needs in order to thrive is a little note of appreciation, some public praise, or thanks for a job well done. Your nurse assessment coordinator deserves recognition – not just on NAC Day! – for the job that they do, and by letting them know that they are respected in your facility, they’ll be sure to stay around longer.

4.       Learn more about the NAC’s position

As long-term care directors of nursing, you are really busy, so sometimes you don’t have the time to really understand every position in your facility. However, the NACs can also feel isolated when no one really understands what they do. You can better understand your employee’s dilemmas and stresses when you’ve mentally walked in their shoes a little bit and learn what’s expected of them.  

AANAC offers the MDS Essentials education program not just for new NACs with fewer than six months of experience with the MDS, but also for directors or members of the IDT to learn more about the nurse assessment coordinator’s role.

5.       Ensure your facility has strong processes in place that support the NAC

The processes that you put together as a director of nursing services can help ensure your NAC’s job runs more smoothly. For example, to benefit the NAC and prevent Medicare denials, ensure that you have nursing documentation in place and that nurses receive regular education on skilled Medicare document requirements. Also, make sure that medical records are organized and filed timely, as the NAC needs those to fill out the MDS accurately.

6.       Emphasize teamwork and provide high-quality education

When the surveyors come into the building, you are all in this together. NAC often state they are under a lot of pressure to get things right and their expectations are sky-high. To alleviate this pressure, work with your NAC as a team to ensure they have exactly what they need to do their job effectively and confidently. Sometimes this means what we stated in point number four – just learning about the NAC’s job. It also means providing great in-service activities to help your team work effectively together and make better decisions by coming together in discussion.

You can also relieve job pressure by offering high-quality professional development and education opportunities. Regulations for the MDS change every year around Sept. or Oct., and your NAC needs to know how to implement those changes, along with all of the other regulation updates to Medicare or Quality Measures that they need to understand to effectively provide the best care for your residents.

Partner with an association like AANAC, so that you can offer your NAC top-notch resources and updated content such as articles, breaking news, webinarsworkshopstoolscertifications and education programs, an annual conference, and a member community for asking experts the questions they need answers to.

Your nurse assessment coordinator deserves the best resources in the field to do their job well, and it’s so easy to provide them – they are all in one place.

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