Nurses and social workers who are interested in clinical case management can consider certificate program coursework, as well as required and voluntary certification options. It can also be helpful to find out about job duties for case managers.
Clinical Case Management Certificate Program
The most common type of clinical case management program awards a case management certificate. These programs can usually be completed in one year or less. Programs are available to nurses and social workers who need continuing education credits or internship experiences in order to meet state certification requirements. Graduates may also sit for voluntary certification exams.
Some case management certificate programs are designed specifically for nurses. Topics of study within these programs can include:
- Ways to provide quality care despite budgetary constraints
- Assessing patient strengths and abilities
- Creating healthcare plans that address both-long term and short-term goals
- How the major kinds of insurance programs affect both the patient and the patient plan for recovery
- Financial concepts of case management
- Disease management
- Case management ethics
Case management programs for social workers are designed to help graduates improve the social conditions and well-being of the populations they serve. These programs provide education and training in a variety of relevant topics, including:
- Crisis intervention
- Social barriers to treatment services
- Client advocacy
- Ethical standards
- Client assessment
- Interviewing skills
- Social welfare
In most states, nurses do not need certification to work as case managers. However, some states require nurses or social workers who are case managers in the mental health field to become certified by passing a written examination. Continuing education requirements may be required to renew this certification.
Additionally, some states require social work case managers who wish to work in family and child service, mental health or substance abuse agencies to undergo a certification process. Different certifications exist for this field; some require a bachelor's or master's degree, while others require a high school diploma or equivalent. Work or volunteer experience in the field may be required.
Voluntary certification is available through the Commission for Case Manager Certification. Successful completion of a case management certificate program can prepare an individual to sit for the case management certification examination. Earning certification shows prospective employers that the certification holder has the skills and knowledge to perform quality case management.
Nurse case managers serve as administrators in medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. Working with patients, providers and health insurance companies, they devise healthcare programs for patients, including admissions, treatment and discharge plans. Sometimes, they directly examine patients in clinical settings. They are also involved in case load management. In March 2017, Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary for nurse case managers was $69,449.
Social workers with jobs as clinical case managers perform similar administrative duties as nurse case managers, although they are never involved in direct clinical assessments. Instead, they focus specifically on evaluating medical records and discussing issues with clients, in order to come up with admissions, treatment and discharge plans. Payscale.com reported a median annual salary of $36,882 for case managers in the social services industry in March 2017.
Both nurses and social workers have the option of focusing their careers on clinical case management, which usually involves completing a certificate program and/or earning certification.