Several master's degree programs in health care and social services offer courses in case management. Fewer offer case management as a degree option, and very few offer it fully online, primarily in the nursing field. These programs are open to licensed, experienced registered nurses who hold at least a bachelor's degree in nursing.
An online master's degree program in case management usually requires 36 credit hours of study, and students may be allowed to transfer applicable credits from previous master's courses. Graduates of these programs may qualify to take the nursing case management credentialing exam from the American Nurses Credential Center.
An online nursing case management program gives students knowledge of the resources available to guide patients in the healthcare system. Students learn about the role of the case manager, including as a client advocate, while studying the process of caregiving from a case manager's point of view. Students may be required to complete a final research project.
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Master's Degree in Nursing Case Management
An online master's degree in nursing case management prepares nurses to move patients efficiently through the healthcare system, both at facilities that provide care and in the insurance industry. Students learn to identify and implement improved methods of patient care, collect and analyze data on patient outcomes, develop client care plans and assess the financial impact of care decisions. Programs also introduce life care planning. Admission to a master's degree program requires a bachelor's degree and work experience as a registered nurse.
Program Information and Requirements
For the convenience of working students, courses in an online master's degree program in nursing case management are structured to be interactive, but do not have scheduled start and stop times. Readings, lectures and presentations are also accessible 24-hours a day. Interaction with faculty and other students is conducted through online discussion boards and email. A master's degree is typically earned in two years.
Master's degree programs in nursing case management are organized into core and specialization courses. Core courses examine healthcare systems and healthcare management, and specialization courses are subject-specific to case management.
Modern Healthcare Organizations
This course surveys the structure and operations of currently active healthcare organizations. Course content emphasizes organizational management and the relationship between theories of administration to the present healthcare system.
Case Management Concepts
Students learn current theory and principles concerning effective case management and study the evolution of case management practices. The role of nurse practitioners as case managers in a variety of institutional settings receives particular emphasis in the course.
Case Management Process
This course explores implementation of quality improvements and the planning of day-to-day and long-term care for patients with ongoing medical needs. Additional topics include the nurse case manager's role in facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration.
Introduction to Life Care Planning
Students in this course consider the ethical and financial complications inherent in providing long-term care for patients with complex injuries or chronic or congenital conditions. Topics discussed include identification of patients with long-term needs and coordination of care.
Hospitals are likely to have the largest need for nurse case managers and offer the vast majority of positions. The increasing need for long-term medical care services by an aging population should create favorable prospects for trained case managers. PayScale.com reported that as of October 2016, nurse case managers earned a median annual salary of $68,997.
Continuing Education Information
Schools are not offering doctoral degrees in nursing case management. However, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree might be considered the logical next step for those interested in nursing as a day-to-day profession rather than an academic discipline. DNP degrees are available online.
It is easier to find online courses in case management rather than an entire master's degree program, although there are a small number of these programs available. Experienced registered nurses who do enroll in an online program in the field can expect to improve their skills in the design and implementation of patient-specific treatments.