MDS Coordinators: Cover Letter or Resume Samples

MDS Coordinators: Cover Letter or Resume Samples

MDS Coordinators are, in addition to being nurses, administrators and managers. They are in charge of assessing and submitting the minimum data set, or MDS, which is data required by the government of all nursing homes or facilities that are Medicare or Medicaid certified. MDS Coordinators are responsible for managing the schedule for gathering and submitting this information—important because the Federal government has strict stipulations for the timely submission of the data.

MDS Coordinators must abide by, and have an active knowledge of, the Federal Resident Assessment Protocols as well as the procedures set down by the Health Care Finance Administration.

In this article, we’ll explore the job profile of a MDS Coordinator—what their educational backgrounds look like, their responsibilities, their average salaries, and the job outlook for the next few years. Then, to get job seekers started on their job hunt, we’ll share some resume tips and guidelines as well as some helpful information on cover letters, followed by an easy-to-follow cover letter template.

What Is an MDS Coordinator?

MDS Coordinator

Duties and Responsibilities

Primarily, the duties and responsibilities of a MDS Coordinator fall into three broad categories:

  1. Administering patient assessments
  2. Facilitating Medicare and/or Medicaid schedules
  3. Developing care plans

Depending on the size of the nursing home or facility, you could be working by yourself or be in charge of a team of nurses. Some of the duties of include:

  • Gathering and analyzing resident profiles
  • Completing quarterly and yearly MDS for facility residents
  • Organizing resident tracking sheets
  • Ensured MDS compliance with federal regulatory guidelines
  • Developed ongoing quality assurance programs

It should be noted that many MDS Coordinators fulfill these duties in addition to nursing duties. The full scope of a MDS Coordinator’s responsibilities will be largely determined by the size and function of the nursing home or facility that they work in.

Educational Background

MDS Coordinators are generally nurses and so should be licensed registered nurses (RNs). Becoming a registered nurse can be done a few different ways—either by the completion of a Bachelor of Science in nursing, a nursing associates degree, or during a technical program through a hospital that offers nursing courses. Courses can include case management, pharmacology, science of nursing, advanced physiology, and more. By completing one of these paths, nursing candidates are able to take the licensure exam to become a registered nurse.

Additional Training

In addition to being a RN,  you will need, at the minimum, some informal, on-the-job training or a formal MDS training program. MDS coordinators should be well versed in the Federal Resident Assessment Protocols as well as the MDS procedures as set down in the Health Care Finance Administration.  A keen and thorough understanding of these standards and guidelines are vital to moving forward in this career. Other on the job trainings or certifications will be up to the facility, board requirements, government standards, etc.

Should You Become a MDS Coordinator?

Job Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, between 2016 and 2026 the field is expected to grow by 15% for licensed practical and vocational nurses and 15% for registered nurses. These statistics are for registered nurses, not MDS Coordinators specifically; but since MDS Coordinator is a specialized job within the field, you can extrapolate that the growth is parallel.

Salary

There are a few different estimations you should look at as far as salary. According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary of MDS Coordinators in 2016 was about $61,500, with the lowest salary being about $45,250 and the highest being about $82,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that the average salary for registered nurses in 2016 was around $70,000, or about $33.65 per hour.

How to Write an Effective Resume and Cover Letter

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

When applying to MDS Coordinator positions, make sure that you emphasize leadership skills, the ability to work well both in team and individual settings, communication skills, flexibility, and the ability to cope and thrive in high-pressure scenarios. Obviously, you want to highlight the nursing education and experience you’ve received—but don’t stop there.

Highlight clinical coursework and practical training/experience; if you have advanced degrees or training/certifications, make sure that they stand out. If you’ve previously complete informal or formal MDS training, make it front and center. Don’t forget to include any IT or technical skills you gained over your career.

More broadly, its important that your resume be clear of grammatical errors—double and triple check for spelling errors, typos, run-on sentences, and too much repetition. It should be easy to read and should flow naturally. Sections should be organized and highlight the most relevant and interesting skills and experience that make you a fit for the position.

Make sure your contact information is correct—there’s nothing worse than having a great resume but having an incorrect phone number or email and missing a call for an interview.

Sample Resume

John Dane
09876 Long Lane City, State * 555-555-5555* johndane@dane.net

Experience      ABC Nursing Facility
MDS Coordinator
City, State
[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

567 Hospital
Registered Nurse
City, State
[Date-Date]

  • Describe work experience here

Certifications/Credential

  • List certifications and credentials here

Education        XYZ University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Skills

  • List special skills suited to position

Cover Letter Tips

Generally, a cover letter signals several things to potential employers. First, it contextualizes your resume: it should explain why your skills, education, and training have made you the ideal candidate for the position. Second, it provides an effective writing sample to the hiring manager. Whether or not the position calls for significant writing, employers want employees who are good communicators.

As a MDS Coordinator, you’ll need to show exemplary communication tools, and so your cover letter will be key in showing your aptitude for the position. Employers use cover letters as a screening tool. A good cover letter puts your resume into the running.

Below you’ll find a sample cover letter to use as a template for your job search. First, you’ll find a description of what each paragraph should contain, and below it, in italics, a practical example. This template is just that: a framework in which you can place your own style and skills in a way that best represents you. Use the example below as a guideline, not a rigid standard.

Sample Cover Letter

[Date]
John Smith
[Hospital Name]
5555 Health Road
Town, State US 01234

Dear Mr. Smith,
This first paragraph should contain a brief introduction to who you are, followed by what position you’re applying for. Then you can succinctly provide your educational and career background that recommends you to the position.

As the MDS Coordinator for ABC Nursing Facility for 5 years, I have the exact experience, training, and clinical skills necessary for your open position of MDS Coordinator. I am a graduate of XYZ University’s Nursing program and completed a clinical rotation at 567 Hospital under the direction of Jane Doe, RN. For your consideration, here are some of my credentials and certifications:

  • List credentials here

In this paragraph you should, in more detail, speak to the skills that you have obtained that make you a fit for the job. Talk about stand out experiences, awards, or recognition in the field that more specifically make you the ideal candidate. Go into interesting and relevant parts of your background that aren’t necessarily on your resume (or things that are only briefly mentioned).

I am have completed both on-the-job and formal MDS training at my previous place of employment, and I make certain to stay up to date with the most current and relevant training needed to keep my certifications. My clinical and administrative experiences have taught me a great deal about not only patient care, but also about delivering results. I am committed to developing care programs and managing patient schedules with a high level of excellence. I believe my experiences make me an ideal candidate for the work being done at [Hospital Name]. 

Close with a paragraph that reiterates your interest in the position and the hope (not the expectation) that you will be able to communicate soon with an interview.

I am available for contact at the email address listed above and you can reach me during normal business hours at 555-555-5555. Thank you for considering my candidacy and I hope to speak with you soon.

Sincerely,
John Dane

Conclusion

Those looking to become a MDS Coordinator are in luck if you been cultivating your skills and experience as a registered nurse. Be sure to make sure you have plenty of clinical experience as well as evidence of strong leadership and communication skills. In this position you’ll be called on to develop plans and create patient assessments, so highlight any practice you’ve had with project management—particularly projects where you’ve had to adhere to pre-set guidelines and rules.

Stay aware of the federal requirements you will be held to during the duration of the position and make sure that you choose the right fit when it comes to which nursing facility or home you choose. Good luck on your job hunt!

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