How long have you been using AIS?
I have been using AIS since 2007 when I joined the Trauma Services Department at a Level One Trauma Center. I had been working as a bedside nurse in the ICU when I met the Trauma Program Manager at my hospital and she encouraged me to join her team and work with the trauma registry. She thought it was something I would enjoy since I really liked taking care of trauma patients and she was right.
What inspired you to obtain CAISS credentials?
The hospital I work at has high standards for validity and accuracy when it comes to trauma coding and scoring. I knew that if I obtained my CAISS certification, I would be amongst a unique group of individuals who have a solid foundation in AIS coding rules and application.
What are your main areas of interest in the field of injury scoring?
My main area of interest in the field of injury scoring is traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries are so complex to code because there are so many structures in the skull and the brain. I continue to learn and grow in this particular region of the body and it is also an area where I think the research being conducted is truly fascinating.
What do you find most rewarding about working in this field?
I know I have found a job that I really enjoy and am passionate about. I can see the bigger picture and understand that everyone in this community is working together for the greater good of improving performance and outcomes within the trauma population.
What do you hope to accomplish while on the AIS Certification Board?
I am really looking forward to meeting and developing relationships with experts in their various fields and broadening my own knowledge base. I am excited to be a part of a group of individuals that helps others grow and advance through education and certification.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
When I was in high school, I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I really enjoy playing tennis because you have to constantly be thinking of your next move and where you want to place the tennis ball. It is a very strategic game, and you have to use your mind a lot and think one step ahead of your opponent.
How do you think the field is changing and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon?
The field of trauma data management continues to become more and more robust with a big emphasis on validation. On the horizon, I see the integration of pre-hospital data with hospital data to create a more unified health data exchange. Having both pre-hospital and inpatient data accessible should help guide best practices and advance trauma care.
What advice would you give to someone interested in CAISS credentials?
If you want to grow professionally and want to ensure you are coding at the highest standard, then definitely take the CAISS exam. My advice is to take the time to really understand and know how to apply the coding rules to different scenarios. Following the rules is key to determining the appropriate code.
What’s one thing – either field-related or not – you learned in the last month?
In the last month I have learned a lot about effective teams and things that can lead to team dysfunction. An effective team has taken the time to build trust amongst its team members by creating an open and honest environment, aligning on common objectives and priorities, and taking accountability. An effective team will be more highly motivated and can achieve the best results. These principles are so important when you apply them to trauma systems management and the teams we develop that support the trauma center.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your colleagues?
I am really happy to work in a field where colleagues come together to make a difference in promoting the optimal care of the injured patient. Trauma patients definitely benefit from having a strong trauma system in place and it requires a coordinated effort by so many individuals. I appreciate how we all come together and work toward common goals and are always looking for those opportunities where we can improve.