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Nurse Case Manager: Certification and Career Information

Nurse case managers require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Nurse case managers are registered nurses who specialize in working with patients to coordinate courses of treatment. They must meet the requirements of being a registered nurse, which includes completing a degree in nursing, passing an exam and obtaining a state license. Nurse case managers have a median annual salary around $67,000.

Essential Information

A nurse case manager is the liaison between the healthcare provider and the patient, working to coordinate the best possible care within the dictates of insurance and other requirements. They need to be a licensed registered nurse with several years of experience as well as have good communication and organizational skills. A nursing case manager can be certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, which requires experience, training and passing an examination.

Required Education Diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing
Licensure/Certification Valid nursing license; professional certification in case management is available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% for all registered nurses*
Median Salary (2016) $66,532 for nurse case manager**

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com.

Certification Information for Nurse Case Managers

Case management nursing is a specialty field; this role is certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. To apply for certification, a nurse must hold a current, active nursing license in the United States, have 2,000 hours of case management experience within three years prior to applying, have practiced for two years as a registered nurse and have completed 30 hours of continuing education within the previous three years. Certification must be renewed every five years.

Career Information

Nurse case managers must meet with a patient and assess the type and degree of care the patient requires. In order to understand and relay doctor's recommendations, this nurse must have practical experience working with both physicians and patients. Most employers require nurse case managers to have a minimum of three years of experience in clinical nursing.

Many insurance companies insist that a procedure be pre-approved. The nurse must be able to prioritize many cases and ensure that forms are processed in a timely manner so the patients will get the care they need as soon as possible. He or she is often placed in a negotiation position to work with an insurance company or HMO office to find the means of covering essential treatment or experimental procedures.

Strong oral and written communication skills are essential for a nurse case manager. This professional should also boast excellent time-management and organizational skills. The nurse case manager spends a great amount of time processing forms, assessing charts and writing reports; computer skills are an asset.

These nurses must excel at human relations. Much of their day is spent talking with and listening to patients and their families who are in pain or under stress. At times, a nurse case manager must explain to a patient that a certain procedure is not available or that all resources have been exhausted. Nurse case managers must be able to maintain a sympathetic nature in difficult circumstances.

Salary Outlook

According to PayScale.com, nurse case managers earn between $51,328 and $83,628 annually as of January 2016. The majority of nurses in this role have over ten years experience. Hospitals and primary care facilities are the largest employer of case management nurses.

Nurse case workers are registered nurses who have case management experience. They can be certified for this position by meeting educational and work requirements. Registered nurses have a job growth outlook that is much faster than average.

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