MDS Coordinator Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options

MDS Coordinator Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options Transcript

MDS coordinators are tasked with managing the medical assessment schedule of Medicare or Medicaid certified geriatric nursing practices. These professionals are almost solely responsible for the timely and accurate completion of periodic assessment data required by federal guidelines. Nearly anyone with the right education or experience in the nursing field can become an MDS coordinator.


MDS coordinators, also known as resident assessment coordinators, are a necessary component to most nursing homes. These professionals are responsible for submitting the periodic assessment data of residents in Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing homes. MDS stands for Minimum Data Set and refers to data asked for by the government. The work requires creative problem solving and adherence to Federal Resident Assessment Protocols.

Job Skills and Duties

An MDS coordinator needs to manage many things. Due dates for the MDS must be coordinated very carefully. A coordinator must ensure that documentation and assessment plans are in place for all aspects of resident care. Federal guidelines require 'the minimum amount of personal data needed to accomplish its stated purpose,' so the MDS requirements can vary from one organization to another. A coordinator must be able to adapt to the services offered by the nursing home. MDS coordinators must also be intimately familiar with the MDS guidelines publish by the Health Care Finance Administration.

Training Required

Most employers will expect MDS coordinators to be licensed as an RN. There are three ways for students to become a registered nurse. The first option is through an associate's degree program. The second is to complete a hospital or technical diploma program, where nurses take college courses, but do not earn a bachelor of science. The final option is to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing. Anyone who completes one of these three options will be able to take the licensure exam for registered nurses. Once these requirements are complete, registered nurses must work under an existing MDS coordinator before they can qualify for most positions.

Work Environment

MDS Coordinators work primarily with nursing facilities, but have been known to work with other Medicaid or Medicare certified organizations. The environment at each facility is different. Facilities can vary by size and arrangement of MDS responsibilities. The scope of responsibility often depends on the size of the practice. Some MDS coordinators are in charge of a team of licensed practical nurses who gather the data. Others operate by themselves. Others still may be directors of nursing in addition to coordinating the MDS schedule.


This career field should only be entered into after serious consideration. Without MDS coordinators, nursing facilities would lose certification and funding vital to their day-to-day operation. It takes excellent problem solving skills and adaptation abilities to succeed as an MDS coordinator. This career is specifically for nurses who want a career change or a chance to expand their responsibilities.


Extended Care News - Mastering the MDS

Wikipedia - Registered nurses

Wikipedia - Minimum Data Set

AllNurses.Com - How a LPN can become a MDS Coordinator

Department of Health and Human Service - Nursing Home Resident Assessment

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