Nurse case managers must have a background in nursing and additional experience working as health administrators or social workers. Therefore, the process of becoming a nurse case manager requires a strong background of professional experience. If you have no experience in this field yet want to become one of them, discover all you need in this article!
Nurse Case Managers Job Description
Nurse case managers work with other healthcare professionals to provide full care for patients. They also cooperate with social workers to help members of different populations and communities. Their patients range from children who have experienced abuse to elderly people in hospice care. Nurse case managers also perform other tasks such as advocating and taking care of individuals who need long-term hospitalization or providing an immediate care plan for current patients.
Nurse Case Managers Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of nurse case managers include:
- Assess new patients’ condition
- Create case management plans for healthcare needs. Communicate with medical professionals about patients’ needs and care preferences.
- Document and update information on case management plans for patients.
- Identify patient payment plans and insurance coverage.
- Discuss with patients and their family members about current and future treatment plans.
- Determine effective plans for ongoing treatment processes.
- Communicate with other professionals beyond the medical field like social workers or health administrators.
Nurse Case Managers Work Settings
Nurse Case Managers can work in lots of environments. For instance, 33% of nurse case managers work in state and local hospitals according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurse Case Managers also find jobs in physicians’ offices or government organizations. Sometimes, nurse case managers may work in outpatient medical facilities (not as common).
How to Become a Nurse Case Manager
Nurse case managers have the responsibility of planning and providing efficient healthcare. Due to holding an important position in the healthcare field, they oversee the ethical, legal, and financial aspects of case management plans. Consequently, becoming a nurse case manager requires both higher education and strong experience. Below is a practical guide to pursuing a good nurse case manager.
Pursue an Advanced Education
As an aspiring nurse case manager, you can start your practice by earning a bachelor’s degree like a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Next, you can obtain a master’s degree in nursing, health administration, health management, or a related field. To become a qualified nurse for the role of a nurse case manager, you must pursue a registered nurse with a master’s degree as well as complete specialized advanced education through a post-master’s certificate.
If you want to advance your career from a social worker or health administrator, you have to work as a nurse and complete a general MSN or MSN in Nursing Administration program. Then, you are qualified for careers as a nurse case manager.
Gain and Increase Work Experience
After getting a BSN and passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can work as a registered nurse. Then, gaining on-the-job experience is the next step to becoming a nurse case manager. You can get work experience in hospitals, outpatient facilities, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, or other medical institutions. Additionally, you can get more experience as nurses, healthcare administrators, or social workers in healthcare settings or clinical facilities.
Though each state has different policies, a nurse case manager must be licensed to practice their experience. A registered nurse who works as a social worker needs to have a social worker license and a nursing license. While RNs working as administrators have to complete training and pass a national exam.
Nurse Case Managers Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for nurse case managers is good and they project employment for this position will grow 18% by 2028. The BLS also reports a median annual salary of $99,730 for medical and health services managers.
The salary varies from state to state and depends on the professional’s level of education and experience, Payscale.com shows the average pay by experience level for nurse care managers:
- Less than 1 year of experience: $65,490
- 1 to 4 years of experience: $67,413
- 5 to 9 years of experience: $71,301
- 10 to 19 years of experience: $74,278
- 20 years and higher experience: $76,570
The patient needs become more diverse leading to the demand for skilled and dedicated nurse case managers increases. To ensure effective and high-quality care for patients, if you want to pursue a career as a nurse case manager, you should spend more time following higher education and gaining experience in healthcare environments.