Case management nurse practitioners care for patients who are receiving long-term treatment. A case management nurse practitioner’s work focuses on fully assessing a patient’s condition and needs from medical, social, and psychological perspectives, and appropriately coordinating care.
To ensure that patients receive the care required, case managers coordinate with agencies to facilitate additional care that may be needed for a patient. With additional education, case managers can become case management administrators and lead case manager departments. Case management nurses also serve as liaisons between different agencies and facilities to ensure that each patient receives the necessary treatment. Matching patients with appropriate care programs requires knowledge of medical and social environments. Case managers often work with a special demographic (i.e., cancer or long-term care patients) and may be employed in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings as well as long-term care facilities or community environments
A case management nurse practitioner salary is estimated at $90,000 per year, depending on experience, education, and region.
Curriculum and Core Classes
The path to becoming a case manager begins with becoming a registered nurse (RN). This may be accomplished by obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Current trends are shifting many nurses to bachelor’s programs as recommended by several professional nursing organizations and many healthcare facilities are choosing BSN nurses over ADN or LPN licenses. After completion of a nursing program, the nurse will need to successfully complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
There are two routes for case management nursing education programs. One option is to obtain a master’s degree in case management from an accredited university or case management nursing education program. Offered at a variety of schools across the country, most programs require 36 credit hours for completion. Program curriculum focuses on the real-life application of case management principles with a preceptor and emphasizes the continuum of care and client advocacy.
The second option is to work 2,000 hours (approximately two years) in case management and then sit for the Clinical Case Management Certification (CCMC) exam, which is offered three times a year. Exam components include questions regarding health care reimbursement, psychological aspects of patient care, rehabilitation, health care management and delivery, principles of practice, and case management concepts. There is a multitude of preparatory materials on the Internet, but an extensive list is located here. The certification is good for five years and must be maintained by re-examination or completion of relevant continuing education.
Getting a job in case management without a master’s degree may not be that difficult, however employers may require a few years of patient bedside care in med-surg, critical care, or require the nurse to work a set number of months under the supervision of a CCM. Nurses who pass the CCMC exam will also need to complete 30 hours of continuing education units to be considered a case management nurse.
Regardless of the certification sought, most studies cite that patient outcomes improve when they are cared for by nurses who hold specialized certification. An additional benefit that typically results is a compensation increase, which often prompts many nurses in this role to seek certification.
Dependent on the path chosen, it may take two to four years to complete the candidate’s ADN or BSN nursing degree. This may be followed by a one to two year period or longer in which the registered nurse practices case management actively to attain the experience required to take either the CCMC exam or to be admitted to a master’s level degree program. RNs who enroll in a case management education program can expect to spend two years or slightly more in classroom and clinical time. The number of credit hours the student carries and other life demands can influence training time, and attending on a part-time status can influence how long it takes to complete the degree.
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American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Type of Certification: Registered Nurse – Board Certified (RN-BC)
*Active registered nurse license;
*Equivalent of two years full time as a registered nurse;
*Minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in case management within the last three years;
*30 hours of continuing education in case management nursing within the last three years.
Certification Process: Applications may be submitted online or via mail with a paper application. Within six weeks after submitting applications, the candidate will receive either an Eligibility Notice or a letter requesting additional information. With an Eligibility Notice, the candidate has 90 days to schedule and take the exam.
Fees: $395 for non-members of the American Nurse Association (ANA)
Renewal Process: Case management nurse certification is valid for five years. Requests for renewal must be submitted eight weeks prior to expiration of current certification. Renewal can be completed online or by mail with the paper application.
Learn about other advanced practice nursing specialties.
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