Case Management Nurse

Case Management Nurse – Providing Quality Care Coordination
A case management nurse specialist is an exceptional career path for the skilled nurse who has exceptional coordination skills as well as a large degree of empathy for patients. Most frequently patients who require a case management nurse are suffering from long term or very serious illnesses. The case management nurse coordinates the various health as well as social services required by the patient in order to provide better care and a better outcome for the patient.

Case Management Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice

A case management nurse will usually be in charge of coordinating health care services to patients with complex medical conditions such as cancer or medically fragile patients who may require the services of several types of physicians. Health insurance providers are making greater use of this trained nurse who helps coordinate various treatments in order to deliver the best and most cost effective health care to the patient.

The health care system often requires multiple physicians and health care providers to deliver special services or procedures to a single patient. An example might be the cancer patient who may have radiation therapy, followed by a surgical procedure, followed by chemotherapy.  The case management nurse coordinates the various stages of treatment in order to assure the best outcome for the patient.

These nurses are usually administrative and do not usually deliver patient care.  They may stand act as advocates for the patient or intermediaries when dealing with insurance companies or medical facilities.

How to Become a Case Management Nurse

Case management nurse positions are very well paid and competition for available positions may be intense. A registered nurse (RN) with a Bachelor’s of Science degree (BS) in nursing can technically serve as a case management nurse. However, as health care choices become more complex, health insurance companies as well as medical facilities are tending toward selecting Case Management Nurses with a Master Degree in Medical Case Management.

Case Management Nurse Education Requirements, Certification and Schooling Programs

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited nursing school is a minimum for Case Management Nurses. Nurses who hold associate degrees may take an accelerated course to achieve their bachelor degree in less time. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) and licensed vocational nurse (LVN) may receive some credit toward their bachelor degree for courses taken while pursuing their nursing diploma.
  • A continuing education certification in Case Management Nursing is highly advisable. Although a few nurses who serve as case managers do not hold an advanced degree a certification can give a nurse the edge in a highly competitive field.
  • A Master of Science in Nursing with a Case Management focus can prepare the nurse for administrative and supervisory positions as a Case Management Nurse. Most of these advanced courses include case management principles, statistics, clinical hours as well as leadership courses.
  • Case management nurses obtain a Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To become certified, interested persons must possess two years full-time experience as a registered nurse and 2,000 hours of case management nursing experience as well as 30 hours of continuing education. Applicants must also successfully complete an examination consisting of 175 questions covering topics such as clinical case management practice, resource management, quality management, legal and ethical considerations and education. Although certification is not required, the American Case Management Association (ACMA) highly recommends nurses working in the field to become certified.

Case Management Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook for a case management nurse is particularly bright. More aging patients and more complex medical procedures have led to an increase in demand for trained nurses who understand  and can coordinate  health care  services provided by many specialists to one patient .  The nurse case manager job is primarily an administrative position with the potential to advance to supervisory positions.

Salaries for this nursing specialty range from $80,000 a year and upwards depending upon the employment setting and the geographical location of the case management nurse.