what do i do to be a MDS coordinator


Dear Nurses,

I am currently a bedside nurse for almost 10 years now...a friend informed me of how easy and stress free her job is as an MDS coordinator/RNAC. How do i do it? aside from AANAC.org, is there any other class or programs that i should attend. I would love to have a day job Monday to friday, no holidays.

Thanks for your help.



7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Are you in LTC? That's a start.


617 Posts

Specializes in Care Coordination, MDS, med-surg, Peds. Has 22 years experience.

LTC for sure, and should probably be a charge nurse for awhile in order to better understand the residents and the facility work flow. The cert from AANAC is helpful, but won't teach you all you will need to know.

Many MDS coor are involved in the on-call rotation, so you may be working weekends,holidays, nights, etc., if there are call offs when you are on call.

Believe me... there is stress in the MDS position, don't be fooled by what others say. There are timelines, schedules, etc., that MUST be followed with NO exceptions. TONS of monitoring and assessing of residents, their ADL's, etc.

The state, with the annual surveys just tear into the MDS and care plan and dissect them to bits. They can, and will look for anything to cite you on, and many times, if they can't find much else, they know that a care plan is a good thing to dissect, because no matter how good you are, you may rarely be state survey totally perfect with a care plan.(LOL)

You need a good understanding of diseases, their progress, cause and effects, medications, GT tubes, IV's, effects and side effects of medications,--so your years of experience will be very very helpful..

I would check out the RAI manual online read/learn the manual as much as you can. The RAI manual is your "bible" with MDS. Enough from me... best wishes and good luck!


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Know also that MDS helps to drive reimbursement for the facility. If you're wrong, you may cause the place loss of $. Talk about stress!

Has 9 years experience.

I have been a MDS Coordinator for 4 months now. I can honestly say Stress is part of the job. This weekend is my 2nd without being on-call, called in, or required to complete an assessment over the Weekend. I worked Thanksgiving. I have been in the facility for every holiday resident party, employee party, and in service we have had. I love my job and my position, but Mon-Fri 8-5 is an illusion. We in service all shifts, we monitor all shifts, and can be found hanging around to verify this, that and ask questions about all things other. NEW admissions and discharges become time consuming and everything has a very specific time frame for completion. Before accepting any position read the whole job description. I am responsible for several different programs and the CNAs, RNAs, and Med Aides that are under my supervision. I am never board. To be successful at this position you must be organized, detail oriented, a good leader and supervisor, and very organized. Wish you the best of luck.

Specializes in Psych, Case Management, Care Coordination. Has 8 years experience.

This is also one avenue of Nursing I am interested in, although I do not have the expectations of it being an easy, stress-free job, nor am I hoping for "Banker's Hours". I'm used to working any and all hours, including holidays. What are the qualifications and where or how does one obtain them?


23 Posts

Specializes in MDS/PPS. Has 23 years experience.

The most important aspect of being a MDS Coordinator is making sure you have quick access to alcohol when you get home. LOL