Becoming a MDS Nurse can be a rewarding career choice. MDS Coordinators, also known as Clinical Reimbursement Specialist or Assessment Nurse Coordinators are responsible for assessing and evaluating levels of care in skilled nursing, extended care and swing bed acute care facilities. The role of the MDS nurse requires keen organization and a detailed eye for reviewing and assessing clinical documentation. The MDS 3.0 tools includes a very comprehensive understanding of how to manage the MDS 3.0 process from start to finish. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires that all rules and regulations related to the MDS tool be followed.
The manual of rules and regulations is approximately 1160 pages or so. Experienced MDS Coordinators will tell you first hand that learning all of this information, and how to properly become an MDS Coordinator in 3 or even 4 days in nearly impossible. You really have to ask yourself is the quick “certification” as important to you as really taking the time to properly become trained.
Upon applying to MDS positions, employers will advertise ” experience needed”. Skilled nursing facilities are really searching for individuals who can take over this role with little or no on the job training. The truth remains that most of the time, the facilities simply may not have the resources to prepare a novice MDS Coordinator. If a clinician isn’t knowledgeable enough, the facility can loose vital revenue. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to be responsible for that!
The advise to those that are seeking to gain knowledge, especially with the idea of applying for a “experienced only” positions, is to shop for a certification program that will hold your hand until you gain the confidence in managing the MDS process for your Long term care facility properly.