Image of a nurse case manager speaking with a patient

What Do Nurse Case Managers Do?

Meta Description: Case Management is a growing and vital field in the nursing industry. Case managers bridge the gap between care plans and patients with identified health care barriers.

Nurse case managers are registered nurses (RN) who work with individual patients who have been identified to have barriers that could prevent them from reaching their intended health care goals. They will assist patients by making sure they have all the tools available to ensure the best quality of life.

What Does a Case Manager Do?

Case managers work directly with patients and sometimes their families to assist people in understanding their disease process, and or injuries. They help them follow a treatment plan directed by physicians and keep patients accountable for healthy behaviors. 

Nursing case management is helpful so that patients get assistance in planning and coordinating care for them on an individualized basis. A nurse case manager can help with insurance and providers, and ensure that cost-effective models are used. Most importantly, they are there to make sure patients are getting quality care and wrap-around services. 

How Do You Become a Nurse Case Manager?

You can look at becoming a case manager as a stepping stone after you have gained some work experience as an RN. Nursing case management positions usually require nurses to have at least one year of experience in their specialized area before they will be considered to move up into case management. Organizations usually prefer that the RN have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, but will look at associates degree nurses if they possess the required leadership skills and job experience. 

There are also certificate programs that BSN nurses may want to explore if they are interested in pursuing case management as a career. Holding a certificate is not a mandatory requirement in holding a case management position, but it will be a plus on your resume. 

Here are the four most popular certificate credentialing associations:

  • American Case Management Association (ACMA)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC)
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB)

In order to sit for any of the examinations, nurses will have to meet the requirements, which typically include the number of hours worked in the field, education, and character. 

How Much Money Do Case Managers Make?

The salary increase is quite sizable for case managers as well. According to PayScale, the average salary across the board for case managers is $71,372.  Experience and geographical location will also affect your pay. As the population ages, it’s expected that case managers will assume more roles and responsibilities in the communities they serve. 

Where Do Nurse Case Managers Work?

Nurse case managers are employed in a variety of care-based settings. Typically, you’ll find case management positions available in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, however, you can also find jobs in other health care facilities, such as: 

  • Private practices
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Home health
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospice care

Case managers are also often used by health insurance companies to help communicate and bridge the gap between what is needed for the patient, and what is cost-effective for the insurance company. Case managers also do a lot of the leg work in worker’s compensation cases. 

Case management nursing is a vital service in our health care system, and the case managers are used for their critical thinking, clinical knowledge, and their ability to provide care coordination services. They advocate as well as provide an abundance of resources to help patients with comprehensive health care needs to achieve a level of autonomy and optimal wellness.