Classes that help nurses achieve a minimum data set certification include seven core courses and three elective courses that must cover care coding, training for resource utilization groups, care area assessments, prospective payment system assessments and care planning. MDS nurses typically also have an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing.
The ten-course program may be obtained through the Resident Assessment Coordinator Certification program, which is offered by the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination. Once a nurse has received the RAC-CT certification, he must renew it every two years until he becomes a certified nurse executive. As of 2015, MDS nurses must have the MDS 3.0 certification to perform this field of nursing.
MDS nurses are vital to hospitals and healthcare facilities as the data an MDS nurse collects from a patient may aid in treatment and may prevent a lawsuit caused by inadequate treatment and diagnosis, according to Learn.org. An MDS nurse uses care coding and other data-collecting methods to calculate a patient's RUG score as a way to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment he is receiving. The score enables the facility to see how much special care and attention the patient needs as well as the state of his mental health and ability to do menial tasks, such as eating or moving, on his own.