A case management nurse (CMN) coordinates a patient’s long-term health care by developing a history with their patients, tracking their healthcare progress, scheduling appointments and identifying areas of improvement.
In many cases these are usually outpatients that may visit the hospital or healthcare clinic regularly for checkups or other needs.
These patients are usually on a care plan related to some condition that requires frequent care and monitoring.
The CMN becomes that patient’s primary point of contact in the hospital.
These nurses manage the patient’s appointments, ensure that they receive the proper treatments and refer them as needed to specialized doctors or care facilities.
Case management nurses are often the deciding factor when it comes to selecting and providing care for their patients.
They will determine what care is necessary and what the next steps in a treatment plan will be.
They may coordinate with other professionals and take counsel from doctors, but they are expected to be very knowledgeable about their patients’ needs.
This means that the job is multifaceted and complex.
As they work with their patients and develop quality health care plans they will get to know their patients well, and they will be in contact with them often both inside and outside of the care facility.
In some cases a CMN may also choose to further specialize in a field of study based on disease, such as HIV or cancer, or a certain age group, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
For some healthcare organizations and facilities this type specialization is often recommended because the nurse will need to have expert knowledge of her patients and their conditions, and by specializing in a specific field of healthcare nurses can acquire lot’s of training and experience about their field.
How to Become a Case Management Nurse
The first step to becoming a CMN is to get your general nursing education out of the way by acquiring either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. You must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Nursing (NCLEX-RN).
This qualifies you to work as a general registered nurse.
Once you are qualified to work, you will need to accumulate two years or 2,000 hours of clinical experience in case management.
Your facility manager should be aware of your long-term education goals so that you can get this experience while working.
After you have met this experience requirement, you may get your case management nurse certification.
This usually requires passing a more specific nursing exam and possibly taking additional credits or study courses.
You may then work as a CMN.
Case management nurses are required to take 30 continuing education credits to maintain their certification.
Why are case management nurses important?
Nursing can be a demanding and rewarding career.
Nursing is also a broad and expanding career choice in the healthcare industry.
Case management nurses help ensure that their patients receive the type of care they need to lead happy, healthy lives and oversee the process of their recovery in ways that other nursing professions cannot.
By managing the healthcare of their patients case management nurses can obtain adequate knowledge of their patients medical histories, recovery process, health care issues and other important patient related data that can affect the outcome of their health.