Throughout 2016, the American College of Surgeons’ (ACOS) National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) has been meeting to work on updated standards for their accreditation requirements. The updated standards serve to clarify any uncertainty for staff of centers either currently accredited or those seeking accreditation. The new provisions provide education resources, define leadership titles, and clarify survivorship care plan compliance.

ONS member Erica Fischer-Cartlidge, MSN, CNS, CBCN, AOCNS®, is the NAPBC liaison for ONS. She attends board meetings to ensure nursing needs and practices are considered in discussions regarding changes to ACOS breast center accreditation. Because Fischer-Cartlidge is in the room for these discussions, she’s able to keep ONS members up to date on NAPBC standards and changes. 

“Amendments to Standard 2.17 requires providing educational resources about fertility to women of child-bearing age, along with resources being available fort metastatic patients,” “Oncology nurses are at the core of patient education.  It may be the nurse’s role within an NAPBC-accredited breast center to ensure that patients have received information on fertility preservation,” Fischer-Cartlidge said. “They can incorporate the resource list that’s currently being developed by the NAPBC into their practice to assist with this.” 

Other updates dealt with clarifying the definition of the breast program leader (BPL), as confusion existed as to whether it was referring to an individual or a committee.  “The BPL is to be named by the breast program medical director (BPMD)—a single director with the authority and accountability for the operation of the program,” Fischer-Cartlidge said. “The oversight committee for the breast centers will now be referred to as the Breast Program Leadership Committee (BPLC)—a governing body of the breast disease program chaired by the BPMD.” 

Other leadership clarifications redefined the term “roster” to “breast care team,” which Fischer-Cartlidge said is defined as a “group of individuals that contribute to the active assessment, treatment, and dissemination of information in the breast program themselves.”

Standard 2.20, which addresses survivorship care plans, has been clarified when determining compliance rates.  New wording for the standard says the goal is to have 100% compliance of survivorship plans. “If that’s not possible,” Fischer-Cartlidge said, “the rationale for exception must be documented for each case.” There have also been modifications to expand who can deliver a survivorship care plan; this will now include credentialed members of the care team such as oncology certified nurses, advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and/or a clinical nurse navigators, in addition to the physician. They cannot be delivered by lay navigators or someone who is not part of the patient’s care team. 

Playing a pivotal role in implementing these new standards, oncology nurses will find themselves assisting with patient education and survivorship plan compliance.  “Care planning is another core component of the nursing role,” Fischer-Cartlidge said.  “Working with the BPLC to identify how to meet the NAPBC accreditation standard and ensuring its documentation is essential.”

These modifications to the standards will go into effect in 2017 and will available in the updated NAPB Standards Manual, on their Website, in September 2016.