The AACC 69th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in San Diego covers the waterfront on point-of-care testing (POCT), with sessions on everything from connectivity and improving accuracy and precision to designing a successful program and POCT glucose monitoring in critically ill patients. Two in particular aim to fine-tune the skills and address the responsibilities of point-of-care coordinators (POCC).

An AACC University course, The Essential Elements of a Point of Care Coordinator (POCC) Boot Camp (192007) will cover all of the key elements POCCs need to improve their techniques, session speaker Peggy Mann, MS, BS, told CLN Stat. Non-POCCs who want to acquaint themselves with the roles and responsibilities of POCCs inside and outside the lab are also welcome to attend, said Mann, program manager for clinics administration at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Department of Hospitals & Clinics.

Attendees earn 2.5 CE hours by attending this July 30 afternoon AACC University course, which requires an additional fee on top of conference registration.

The session’s panelists bring an estimated 100 years of experience in POCT to the table, Mann said. “Due to time limitations, we selected four pressing concerns for POCCs, as determined by a national survey we distributed in October 2016,” she noted. Mann’s talk, Training and Competency: What Scares You About Training the Nurses? Simple Strategies and Processes May Help! addresses operator training techniques.

Other speakers and their respective topics include: 

  • Kerstin Halverson, BA, MS, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics
    Connectivity: Get Out The Tin Cans & String! Saving your Sanity Using Connectivity for POCT;
  • Lou Ann Wyer, MS, Sentara Healthcare
    Policies & Procedures: It’s not OUR Fault That Nurses Won’t Read Our SOPs! Tips for Making POC Documents User Friendly; and
  • Kimberly Skala, BA, Instrumentation Laboratory
    Integrating Quality and Compliance into POCT: I Don’t Know But I’ve Been Told, POC Programs Can Be SMART and BOLD

The goal is to create an innovative, interactive forum to reach out and teach POCCs how to apply what they’ve learned in these different categories, Mann said.

Using the FXP Touch audience response system and some additional interactive techniques, the speakers plan to cover these objectives:

  1. Explain competency assessment and training programs for operators and POC trainers;
  2. Outline implementation steps for connectivity and review troubleshooting strategies;
  3. Construct procedural documents that can be understood by the nonlaboratorian; and
  4. Discuss ways to integrate quality and meet regulatory compliance for POCT using best practice and resources.

Attendees will hopefully commit to educating themselves in at least one of these four areas. “If POCCs were never taught how to instruct POC operators or how to train another POCC, then applying any number of the techniques explored in this session could only improve, not hurt, the training program that POCC is currently using,” Mann said.

She and Wyer initially came up with the idea of a POCT boot camp session at an AACC Annual Scientific Meeting several years ago. “As POCCs who speak nationally in POCC Groups, Lou Ann and I knew that there is a high demand for targeted education and training for POCCs and in particular, great interest in how to apply those new skills in a variety of healthcare settings,” Mann said. “We speculated that there was a need to organize/build a boot camp-type training day and tour it from coast to coast.” The boot camp idea surfaced again during the 2016 Critical and Point-of-Care Testing Division board meeting. Six POCCs networked about the possibility of getting the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee to approve the idea. “We worked on a submission and received approval to present a 2.5-hour session,” Mann said.

If you’re looking for more on POCT after the boot camp session, register for the 15th Annual Point-of-Care Coordinators Forum the AACC Critical and Point-of-Care Testing Division is hosting Aug. 3 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Judy Prewitt, DNP, RN, AOCN, NEA-BC, program director at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, will discuss the interpersonal relationships between nursing and POCT staff and how they can improve patient care by gaining a better understanding of the other’s respective goals.

The forum is a great opportunity to explain POCT from a nurse’s perspective, according to Gayle Roca, MT (ASCP), senior supervisor for POCT support services at UC San Diego Health, who served as chair of the organizing committee for this year’s forum. Training and education for labs and nurses focus in very different areas, and tensions can exist between the two professions, Roca told CLN Stat. Nurses who perform lab tests at the bedside but have no training in laboratory protocols and regulations “find it difficult to understand the reasons behind laboratory compliance. There may a bit of a communication gap” with respect to issues such as quality control, operator training and competency, following lab procedures, Roca told CLN Stat.

The session is aimed to address these issues, “and how we may move forward to form a more cohesive relationship to provide better patient care,” Roca said. The committee voted unanimously to have Prewitt as its guest speaker, she added.

A stakeholder’s discussion and audience Q&A session will follow the presentation. Registration is $20 for AACC members and nonmembers. Attend both the AACC University course, The Essential Elements of a Point of Care Coordinator (POCC) Boot Camp (192007), and the 15th Annual Point-of-Care Coordinators Forum to up your point-of-care coordination skills.