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Case Management Nurse: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and training needed to become a case management nurse. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job responsibilities, and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Case management nurses are registered nurses who are responsible for organizing a patient's care during all stages of their treatment in a hospital. They typically have an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, along with their registered nursing license. Optional certification in this area of specialization is available as well.

Essential Information

Case management nurses function as a key part of patient care in the modern hospital system. Responsible for organizing a patient's case from admittance to discharge, a case management nurse understands hospital processes and the importance of making cost-effective decisions. These positions require licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Additional education or optional certification in the field of case management may increase employment opportunities.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or diploma in nursing
Other Requirements RN licensure required, additional optional certifications available; completion of case management nursing program after RN licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 16% for all registered nurses
Mean Salary (2015)* $71,000 annually for all registered nurses

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Case Management Nurse Job Description

A case management nurse often works with hospital staff to coordinate the care a patient receives, especially in long-term cases, such as cancer treatment. Case management nurses are central to utilization review, the practice of assessing resources, evaluating healthcare treatments and negotiating the most cost effective options available. Adhering to ethical and legal standards, case managers make decisions that affect the care a patient receives. To improve familiarity with the case decisions and process of utilization review, case management nurses may specialize in a specific medical discipline, such as oncology or geriatrics.

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Duties of a Case Management Nurse

A combination of social work and healthcare, case management nursing requires organization and the ability to assess all possibilities in a patient's situation. Nurses trained and familiar with the processes of case management typically compile data for reporting and collaborate with a team of resource managers to make large-scale decisions. Case management nurses act as intermediary between patients, physicians and healthcare institutions. Common duties include providing patients and their families with advocacy support, accurate healthcare information, potential referral services and proper treatment plans.

Case Management Nursing Requirements

Case management nursing programs typically require candidates to complete a nursing program and become a registered nurse prior to enrollment. Building on the foundation of RN experience, master's and postgraduate certificate programs train nurses to implement case management and supervisory duties for overall patient care. Some schools may offer working nurses the flexibility of evening, weekend or online courses.

Several professional organizations provide optional certification for nurses who choose to demonstrate their proficiency in case management. Credentials offered through organizations, such as the Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission or the American Nurses Credentialing Center, test case management nurses on interviewing techniques, treatment plan development and legal requirements for the profession. Specific education or experience in the discipline may be required prior to earning a credential, and continuing education courses must usually be completed to maintain a valid certification.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, case management nurses fall under the broader category of registered nurses, which is projected to see a 16% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. The mean annual salary for registered nurses was $71,000 in May 2015.

Case management nurses are involved in coordinating care for patients, particularly when they may be in the hospital for a prolonged period of time. They serve as an intermediary between patients, physicians and health care institutions. They may advocate for their patients and provide referral services or treatment plans.

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