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Learning Center Experience
Registered nurses (RNs) play a pivotal role in the U.S.
health care system. Within the nursing field, case management nurses serve a
particularly important function in preventative medicine, as they leverage
their medical knowledge and interpersonal and management skills to meet their
patients’ health care needs.*
Though the health care system has long emphasized preventive
medicine as a means of controlling costs and improving outcomes, the 2010
passage of the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) prompted a renewed focus on ways that such measures could
potentially save billions of dollars and vastly improve health outcomes. This,
in turn, has spurred a renewed focus on how RNs can help keep people healthy
while saving money.
Unlike other kinds of health care practitioners, case
management nurses perform a variety of tasks across a wide range of
disciplines. They develop close bonds with their patients, becoming a critical
part of the team, working alongside doctors and other health care professionals
and facilities providing care and services to patients. They will often perform the following tasks:
Develop and/or manage the overall long-term
health care plan for patients with chronic or serious conditions.
Book their patients’ doctor appointments and follow
up to make sure they keep them.
Serve as a resource for their patients, offering
guidance to both patients and their families as they navigate the complex medical
decisions that arise when people are battling illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease,
diabetes, or heart disease, among other conditions.
Act as a liaison between patients and their
insurance providers to guarantee they receive the best possible health care at
a fair price, according
to Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future.
Case management nurses work in varied settings, according to
the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, including insurance companies, hospitals,
and long-term senior living or rehabilitation facilities. Oftentimes, their
specialty can influence their work settings. If, for instance, a nurse
specializes in working with elderly populations, he or she could work in a rehabilitation
center, home health care service, assisted-living facility, or long-term care
facility. Many case management nurses also operate as consultants, working with
a variety of health care clients.
It’s this kind of broad and comprehensive scope, advocates say,
that makes case management nursing such an exciting field. Coordinating care
for many patients with a variety of needs, questions, and circumstances while working
with a variety of health care clients makes for interesting work for nurses
searching for a challenge.
Case management nurses must have either an associate’s or
bachelor’s degree in nursing. To become officially certified in case management,
they must first complete a number of prerequisites, according to the American
Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To be eligible for certification,
nurses must possess an active RN license as well and accumulate at least 2 years
of practice. ANCC guidelines mandate that they also complete a minimum of 2,000
clinical hours, along with 30 hours of continuing education coursework within
With the Bureau of Labor
Statistics predicting strong job growth for RNs as a whole,† prospects
are similarly positive for patient representatives, a group that enjoys a “bright job
outlook,” according to the Occupational Information Network. Among other
factors, the ACA is expected to continue driving demand
higher for preventative care health care workers, especially as millions of
Americans obtain health coverage for the first time.
For their part, case management nurses can play an
instrumental role in supporting primary care practitioners as they help reduce
overall medical costs by boosting efficiency, cutting unnecessary spending, and
improving patient outcomes.
We encourage you to share this article if you
learned anything #TIL or found this useful information.
If you are interested in other nursing career
insights, we invite you to take a look at other Kaplan University nursing
articles and publications under the
Nursing 10 Year Anniversary site or our Career
Moves site, each of which periodically publish new
articles and other content on nursing.
And if you are exploring or considering a nursing
degree we invite you to find out more about our Kaplan University School of Nursing undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
Colleen Dutile Faculty Story
Barbara Erickson Student Story
Master of Science in Nursing Program
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
† Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Registered Nurses, on the Internet www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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