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Case Management Nurse: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

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.

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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.

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 26% increase in employment opportunities from 2010-2020. The mean annual wages for registered nurses were $67,930 in May 2012.

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