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The NAACLS News

Your home base for all NAACLS announcements, news and special features

A number of program directors have contacted NAACLS regarding if “a student can be assigned a grade of “unsatisfactory/satisfactory” and/or “pass/fail.” It seems beneficial to address the issue on the NAACLS News for the convenience of all or NAACLS program directors.

NAACLS does not prescribe or deny specific methods of evaluations, such as “unsatisfactory/satisfactory” and/or “pass/fail.” It is within the program’s prerogative to select the method of “grading” to be utilized as long as the program continues to meet NAACLS standards.

Below is the NAACLS Standard VIII.C – Evaluations:

Evaluation systems must relate to course content and support program competencies. If there is evidence that competencies are not adequately achieved (through feedback mechanisms as described in Standard II.B) then course objectives will be examined in detail to assure that the objectives are behavioral, include all domains and relate directly to the evaluations used.

  1. These evaluation systems must be employed frequently enough to provide students and faculty with timely indications of the students’ academic standing and progress.
  2. The evaluation systems must serve as a reliable indicator of the effectiveness of instruction and course design.

Program Directors are encouraged to seek information directly from the Board of Certification, state licensure boards, and others if they have questions regarding the use of “pass/fail” or “satisfactory or unsatisfactory” in lieu of more traditional grading systems for credentialing eligibility.

We hope that you are staying safe and sane during these uncertain times. As always, staff is here to help when we can.

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Due to the State of Illinois “Stay at Home” executive order, the physical NAACLS office is closed for the foreseeable future. NAACLS Staff will still be working full time remotely and our goal is that no one will see any disruptions. 

Effective immediately, NAACLS will only be accepting electronic submissions of materials. Mailed in submissions of jump drives, or hard copies will not be accepted. Electronic submissions through cloud based services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) as well as email submissions will be accepted. 

We are aware that accreditation self-studies are due April 1st. If we have not acknowledged receipt of materials but your self-study was mailed in, please ask the appropriate staff person if they have been received. If not, we will accept documentation hosted in your/your institution’s accounts in the cloud.  NAACLS staff is researching other options for electronic submission of materials. We will have an update for you next week.

Payments can be sent to:

NAACLS

27321 Network Place

Chicago, IL  60673

Please note there will be a link to pay in your annual invoices. We will not be able to process checks sent to our office address.

If you have questions regarding this issue or others, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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The NAACLS Staff has received many questions of a similar nature over the past thirty-six hours, so we felt it appropriate to share those answers with everyone. We know that in addition to the complexities COVID 19 has added to the instruction of your students, many of you are facing pressure from higher administration to provide answers to questions you usually do not face.

First, a general note. NAACLS is not relaxing our standards. We expect accredited and approved programs to remain compliant with the NAACLS Standards, and educate students to industry-established entry-level competencies. Now more than ever, we all should be diligent in ensuring the quality of laboratory scientists entering the workplace.

When NAACLS review committees and the Board of Directors developed the current standards, the goal was to provide as much flexibility as possible. Under the best of circumstances, programs regularly face unique challenges; what programs are facing now is unprecedented. Now, more than ever, nonprescriptive standards are essential.

Now, to address some common themes we have found in the questions we have been getting.

We are delaying, moving up, altering our graduation date. What do we need to send to NAACLS?

Programs do not need to notify NAACLS of these changes. NAACLS has no standard on when graduations should take place as long as the students have achieved the entry-level competencies.

Due to clinical sites closing/emergency higher administration policies/state mandates/etc. our students are unable to finish their clinical. What should we do?

If you can complete the rotations through simulation and stay compliant with the NAACLS Standards and entry-level competencies, your program can continue uninterrupted. If not, you may have to delay those essential parts of the rotation until clinical spots once again make themselves available.

Continue reading this article ›

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NAACLS continues to monitor the quickly evolving challenges programs are facing with the COVID-19 virus.

The NAACLS Board of Directors designed the current standards to provide programs flexibility of delivery methods, under the best of circumstances.  In the case of extreme situations, as we are currently facing, we encourage programs to take advantage of this flexibility.

As some of our program directors may remember, we sent out several standards last fall for public comment. One of those proposed changes dealt directly with teach-out plans. However, the public comment standards have not been voted on by the NAACLS Board of Directors. In the interest of clarity, NAACLS would like to remind everyone of the current standard language.

Standard V.D. A teach-out plan must be developed and submitted to NAACLS within 30 days of the official announcement of the closure of the program. 

A temporary inability to serve students does not require any action or a teach-out plan. If your program is altering your current processes to handle this extreme situation, your program does not need NAACLS’ approval of these changes or need to notify NAACLS of these changes. Notification and a subsequent teach-out plan are only necessary if there is an official announcement of the cessation of service by the program for the students. At the point of that announcement, the program has thirty days to submit an action plan.

Until then, programs are encouraged to continue to innovate and use creative problem solving to maintain compliance with the standards. NAACLS is impressed by remarkable collegial collaboration and innovative ideas and discussion occurring in real-time on the CLS Educators Listserv.  

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact the office. Otherwise, keep an eye on the NAACLS News, all announcements regarding COVID-19, as well as other matters, will be posted here.

 

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NAACLS continues to follow CDC Guidelines and is monitoring the situation. Please see the following Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html.

Programs with scheduled site visits at institutions or regions that are closed or under travel bans are to inform NAACLS immediately to discuss options.

Volunteers who are scheduled to conduct a site visit should contact NAACLS immediately if there is reason to suspect they have been exposed to COVID 19 or if their employer or regional authorities have banned or discouraged travel.

At this time, NAACLS continues with the current site visit schedule if NOT notified of deterents by either program directors or site visit volunteers.

 

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NAACLS is following CDC Guidelines and monitoring the situation. Please see the following Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html .

Current Programs/Students:

If the program can continue to meet NAACLS’ Standards, it is within the purview of the sponsoring institution and clinical sites to choose the course of action based on their established protocols.  NAACLS requires programs to develop a plan of action for remedy  in the event of program closure or other situation whereby students’ completion of the program is delayed or impossible.

Programs scheduled for Spring 2020 Site Visits:

If individuals have been exposed to the virus or are coming from institutions/areas that are closed/under travel advisories and are scheduled for a site visit, they are to inform NAACLS immediately.  If programs have closed due to the virus and are scheduled for a site visit, they are also to contact their program services contact as soon as possible. At this time, NAACLS has made no changes in the current schedule.

Thank you,

NAACLS

After 24 years of dedicated service to NAACLS, Gwen James-Oriaikhi retired as of December 31, 2019. Gwen began her employment at NAACLS as an Office Coordinator before transitioning to Program Services. Upon her retirement, Gwen was serving as the Accreditation/Approval Manager as well as Executive Assistant. All of us at NAACLS will truly miss Gwen and her outstanding contributions to the agency.

As of January 1, Program Services staffing and responsibilities are as follows:

  • Mark Spence retains his current role and is responsible for Phlebotomy, Clinical Assistant and DCLS Programs. He is also the Volunteer Services Manager.
  • Russell DeCaluwe is responsible for the MLT programs and will assume responsibility as the Staff Liaison to the Quality Assurance Committee.
  • Michele Stevenson is responsible for the MLS programs and will also serve as Staff Liaison to RCAP and the BOD.
  • Jessica Jasso, who began her employment with NAACLS in November as Office Coordinator, has moved to Program Services and assumed responsibility for HT, HLT, CG, DMS, Pathologist Assistant programs, as well as a number of off- and on-cycle program service functions.
  • Other staff will continue with their present duties.

Please reach out to the office if you have questions.

We look forward to serving all of you in 2020 and wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

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By Peter Hu, PhD, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM,  CGCM, MBCM, FACSc, President, NAACLS Board of Directors

An edited version of Dr. Hu’s message will be published in the NAACLS 2019 Annual Report later this spring. However, we present his message to you at this time as it contains timely information.

Greetings, colleagues! It is time for the NAACLS’ annual “Message From the President.” This is a summary of some of the top activities during this past year.

In the past year, NAACLS continued to offer timely workshops and articles and to plan for new ones based on frequently asked questions. Various published articles such as “Volunteer Week – The NAACLS Site Visit: Tricks-Of-The-Trade” to “Volunteer Week – The Importance of the Self-Study Summary Page” were written to help both the site visit team and the program for a successful site visit process. In addition, we have continued to offer excellent workshops near the headquarters and at CLEC of which many were to “sold out” audiences. These continued events are some of the ways that NAACLS maintains the highest quality on the standard of practices offered in order to maintain successful accreditation and approval processes. To ensure this, our workshop presenters are usually veteran site visitors and/or experienced committee members from the Review Committee on Accredited Programs (RCAP) and Programs Approval Review Committee (PARC).

With the retirement of experienced veterans and promotions of “new” individuals into the role of program directors, the Board of Directors has expressed concern that additional support is required for our programs. To better serve everyone, NAACLS will have an exhibit booth at CLEC to help answer questions. Please stop and see us!

As always, NAACLS cannot do its job without dedicated volunteers. We continue to seek volunteers to be self-study reviewers, site visitors, RCAP/PARC/DRC committee members, and board members. If you have any interest, please check the information on the NAACLS website. We look forward to others joining the team. One of the benefits of volunteering is learning how others have created the top notch programs accredited and approved by NAACLS.  A recent call out for committees was sent in October 2019.  There are 2 Board of Director positions, 7 RCAP positions, 3 PARC positions, and 2 DRC positions that will be coming up for elections. Nominations, which should include completed Candidate Fact Sheets and CVs, should be sent to the NAACLS office by January 15th, 2020. Nominations may also be emailed to Mark Spence, Volunteer Services Manager.  For more information, please visit https://naaclsnews.org/2019/10/17/naacls-is-seeking-nominations-for-board-and-committee-roles-2/ .

The Accreditation Management System (AMS) project is currently paused awaiting a board appointed task force to review the current state of the project and its future direction. The initial meeting already took place in December and a 2nd meeting will soon follow in January, 2020 with recommendations to the Board. Rest assured, we will move forward.

In other areas from the Board:

  1. Minor edits to the interim report guidelines were approved for clarity and made effective immediately.
  2. The DMS preamble (competencies) were again revised to reflect the emergence of next generation sequencing testing and bioinformatics. An important step to this change is the differentiation between the competencies in diagnostic molecular science professionals working in DMS laboratories and those medical laboratory scientists encountering molecular tests in their MLS disciplined laboratories e.g. blood bank, microbiology etc..
  3. Approved for release for 30 days public comment were edits to standard II.B, IVA.1.D, and V.D. Results from proposed standards changes will be presented in the coming months.
  4. Several policies related to DCLS programs were addressed. For more information, please visit NAACLS News “Board of Directors Update – September 2019” issue: https://naaclsnews.org/2019/10/29/naacls-board-of-directors-update-september-2019/

For those who are attending the CLEC meeting in Orlando, I look forward to robust discussions on laboratory education!

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By Megan Eggert, Meetings and Events Planner

With the new year right around the corner, we wish to remind you that NAACLS is conducting a new workshop titled, “Get Excited About Not Being Cited – The Insiders’ Edition of Commonly Cited Standards,” on February 27, 2020, from 7:00am-12:00pm in Orlando, Florida, in concurrence with the ASCLS Clinical Laboratory Educators’ Conference (CLEC).

The fee for the workshop is $325/person if you register by 1/10/20. We hope you will take advantage of this early registration discount! The fee is $350/person if you register between 1/11/20 to 2/12/20.

This workshop is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the work and data collection done by the NAACLS Board of Directors. Current committee members, Dawn Tripolino and Dale Telgenhoff, synthesized the Board work and will provide an exclusive look at what these data identify as the most frequent citations. Ms. Tripolino and Dr. Telgenhoff will present detailed strategies to assist program directors avoid these frequent pitfalls.

Upon completion of the workshop, and with the opportunity to discuss questions, the participant should be able to:

  1. Examine the overall accreditation/approval processes leading up to potential citation
  2. Related the use of the NAACLS Standards and Compliance Guide to the process
  3. Identify the most commonly cited Standards
  4. Analyze and discuss sample citations
  5. Identify ways to avoid citations by utilizing the Standards Compliance Guide and other NAACLS resources

Please visit https://www.naacls.org/News/Workshops.aspx for more information and to register (payment and registration is separate from the CLEC). We hope to see you at this NAACLS workshop!

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By Megan Eggert, Meetings and Events Planner

NAACLS will conduct a new workshop titled, “Get Excited About Not Being Cited – The Insiders’ Edition of Commonly Cited Standards,” on February 27, 2020, from 7:00am-12:00pm in Orlando, FL (in concurrence with the ASCLS Clinical Laboratory Educators’ Conference (CLEC)). The workshop will include a continental breakfast and working lunch.

This workshop is a unique opportunity to take advantage of the work and data collection done by the NAACLS Board of Directors. Current committee members, Dawn Tripolino and Dale Telgenhoff, synthesized the Board work and will provide an exclusive look at what these data identify as the most frequent citations. Ms. Tripolino and Dr. Telgenhoff will present detailed strategies to assist program directors avoid these frequent pitfalls.

Upon completion of the workshop, and with the opportunity to discuss questions, the participant should be able to:

  1. Examine the overall accreditation/approval processes leading up to potential citation
  2. Related the use of the NAACLS Standards and Compliance Guide to the process
  3. Identify the most commonly cited Standards
  4. Analyze and discuss sample citations
  5. Identify ways to avoid citations by utilizing the Standards Compliance Guide and other NAACLS resources

Dawn Tripolino, MBA, MT(ASCP), is Program Director of the MLS Program at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ms. Tripolino is a Phlebotomy Educator and Vice Chair of the NAACLS Programs Approval Review Committee (PARC). Dale Telgenhoff, PhD, HTL(ASCP)cm, is Associate Professor, Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Dr. Telgenhoff is a HT Educator on the Review Committee for Accredited Programs (RCAP).

The fee for the workshop is $325/person if you register by 1/10/20. The fee is $350/person if you register between 1/11/20 to 2/12/20).

Please visit www.naacls.org  for more information and to register (payment and registration is separate from the CLEC). We hope to see you at this NAACLS workshop!

 

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