How to Become an Mds Nurse

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Minimum Data Set (MDS) coordinators are licensed nurses responsible for the accuracy and compliance of patient charts. In addition to regular nursing duties, MDS coordinators review the charts for precise coding and ensure that the data is transmitted to hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other treatment centers in a timely manner. MDS certification is not a requirement for the profession, but does earn priority when applying for the MDS coordinator position.

  • Enroll into a nursing school to become licensed. Community colleges and universities require that you complete one to two years of prerequisites before entering a nursing program, but nursing institutions offer an accelerated program at a higher tuition.

  • Decide what type of a license you will need based on your career expectations. Some medical facilities only accept registered nurses (RNs) with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) while others employ licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Understand that the educational requirements for each title differs greatly--an RN certification requires approximately one more year of schooling than LVN/LPN, and at least two more years for a bachelor's degree.

  • Register with the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (AANAC), a nonprofit organization that provides training through an accredited MDS certification program. Certification is not a requirement to become an MDS nurse, but it is an adequate alternative to lack of experience in healthcare administration.

  • Check with your state's department of business for your state's licensing requirements. Some states do require MDS nurses to be licensed.

  • Keep your license current through the continuing education courses offered by the AANAC. You will then be a qualified candidate for MDS coordinator positions at various healthcare centers.

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