RN Case Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an RN case manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

RN case managers are registered nurses who are more involved in the social work aspect of healthcare rather than the clinical aspect. Their main function is to evaluate new patients and develop plans of care. Like all registered nurses, RN case managers must complete nursing school and obtain licensure.

Required Education Completion of nursing school program, typically resulting in associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing
Other Requirements Must obtain proper licensure
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 19% for all registered nurses*
Median Salary (2014) $64,879**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

RN Case Manager Job Description

RN case managers are registered nurses (RNs) who develop, implement, and evaluate individualized patient care plans. They act as social workers, advocate patient welfare, and serve as a liaison between patients, their families, and healthcare providers. Hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, home health agencies, and health insurance companies may employ RN case managers.

RN Case Manager Job Duties

RN case managers work with new admissions, assessing their conditions and needs in order to develop personalized care plans. They regularly evaluate these plans of care and update them on an as-needed basis. They must educate patients and their families on how to follow their care plans. RN case managers may also provide nursing care to their patients.

RN Case Manager Requirements

An RN case manager must first be a registered nurse. They should have an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program, though many employers prefer job candidates who have bachelor's degrees. Job candidates who have earned a master's degree in nursing may be even more attractive to employers. Nursing students take courses involving anatomy and physiology, microbiology, psychology, behavioral science, and nursing.

After earning a degree, the nurse must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed to work in this field. RN case managers are usually required to have a few years of clinical care experience as RNs before they can work as case managers. Some employers also require healthcare experience in a supervisory or quality assurance position.

A credentialing option for RN case managers is to earn the accredited case manager (ACM) certification offered by the American Case Management Association. To obtain certification, an RN case manager must pass a two-part examination consisting of questions about case management in the health system as well as clinical simulations. In some cases, ACM certification can improve an RN case manager's professional standing since it reflects his or her competence.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of nursing case managers working in December 2014 earned between $50,349 and $81,861 a year, with a median annual income of $64,879. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of case managers, the BLS did project that the employment of registered nurses would likely grow by about 19% between 2012 and 2022, a rate faster than the average predicted for all occupations.

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