MDS - Where to Begin?


Hi, Very interested in the MDS field. Have been a nurse for almost 3 years in LTC and home care. I see MDS positions posted but all require at least a year of experience. I have interviewed for a couple and neither wanted to hire me without any experience but have offered alternate positions. I do not want to go into a LTC facility and "work my way" to MDS. I am currently a unit manager at one and it's not working out.

Will taking classes or trainings be helpful? I see some locally and online but do not know what is best or even if it's worth my money at this point. Any helpful advice?


24 Posts

Talk to your current MDS coordinator(s). There are big changes coming on October 1st, which may make some facilities not want to hire a new person until after the dust settles. Also check out: American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators. (Google AANAC). What we do is a 500 question assessment, which sets the payment rate, quality measures and lays out the bare bones for a federally (CMS) compliant comprehensive plan of care. There are specific guidelines for when admission, annual and quarterly assessments are compiled and transmitted, with sometimes only a 3 day window of Assessment Reference Dates. It takes a long time to understand all the niceties of the job, which includes analyzing a whole lot of data, and making sense out of charting that makes no sense. Currently skilled SNF patients can require assessments every 7 days during the skilled stay. Hope this helps.

Where I am, they are offering bonuses for new hire MDS Coordinators. Is it an awful job?

Golden_RN, MSN

563 Posts

I support working in direct patient care in LTC before MDS. It will be beneficial to understand the business before going into MDS. The MDS is the basis for not only the care plan, but billing. There is a ton of coordination with nursing, rehab, & billing.

I recently took the 2 day MDS class as a refresher, and it was great, but I think it's better to get the job first, and have the employer pay for the training.