If you or a loved one have ever been hospitalized overnight, chances are good that you spoke with a nurse case manager regarding discharge needs.  They may have been the one to set you up with home health care, a wheelchair, or even began the process of applying for Medicare/Medicaid.  The nurse case manager is the one behind the scenes, ensuring that patients have what they need when they go home.

What is a Nurse Case Manager?

According to Nursing Explorer, a nurse case manager has a widely varied job description.  “Case management nurses are registered nurses who coordinate all aspects of the care of individual patients. They ensure proper utilization of services and resources as well. Case managers provide assistance within, between, and outside of facilities…. They are experts at obtaining resources.”  To simplify the job description, a nurse case manager anticipates patient needs and assists them with finding resources for their needs.  The nurse case manager is employed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, LTC facilities, insurance agencies, mental health institutions, and community agencies. Explore related nursing careers Charge Nurse, Clinical Nurse Leader, or Clinical Nurse Manage.

What Does a Nurse Case Manager Do on a Daily Basis?

A case manager’s day-to-day responsibilities will be dependent on where they are employed.  A hospital nurse case manager may spend their day setting up home health care or hospice, assist with setting up home oxygen therapy, or finding a way for a patient to be able to afford an expensive medication, such as Lovenox, at home.  A case manager working with an insurance agency may work with a certain patient population, such as heart failure patients, and implement strategies to prevent the patient from being admitted to their local hospital.  A case manager working in a community agency may help patient’s locate community agencies that assist with the cost of their medications, set up transportation for doctor’s appointments and find programs that promote well-being, such as Meals on Wheels so that the patient is ensured meals.

How Do I Become a Nurse Case Manager?

The minimum education requirements will depend on the job description of the hiring facility.  Some facilities may require a minimum of an ADN degree, while others will require a BSN degree.  To achieve the best chance of finding employment as a nurse case manager, enrolling in a BSN program may be in the students’ best interest.

What is the Job Outlook for Nurse Case Managers?

Nursing in general is expected to see an employment increase of 16% from 2014 to 2024.  Nurse case managers can expect to see a similar increase in employment needs due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Purdue Global notes that when the ACA was implemented in 2010, there was 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.”  Basically, the ACA caused a boost in nurse case manager jobs – these jobs were put into place to not only benefit patients, but to potentially save their facilities money.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Nurse Case Manager?

According to Payscale, the average nurse case manager can expect to earn about $67,000 per year.


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