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Arkansas State University

What Is a Case Manager?

Case managers — sometimes called patient advocates or care coordinators — play an important role in the nursing profession. By coordinating appointments, planning treatments and tracking healthcare services, case managers help their patients remain healthy and avoid hospital stays.

These nurses manage their patients’ care over a long period of time to prevent complications. The demand for case managers will likely increase dramatically, offering greater career opportunities to nurses with the right training and education, such as a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.

Case managers take an active role in their patients’ wellbeing and often serve in leadership roles within their nursing departments. Earning a BSN through an RN to BSN program can help nurses advance into positions such as these and command higher earnings.

The Benefit of Case Management

Case management is often beneficial for patients with complex conditions or diseases, although case managers can also work with healthy patients. Case management is dynamic and collaborative, and allows for customized, continuous patient care tailored to the needs of the individual. Specializations are available, allowing case managers to focus on particular patient groups such as geriatric patients, cancer patients and many others. As Registered Nurses (RNs), case managers are licensed to practice nursing, and most hold a BSN degree. Quality BSN classes teach the leadership, management and advanced treatment skills nurses need to effectively track and manage patient care long-term.

Case Management Salary, Demand, and Certification

Qualified nurses can enjoy a well-paid and in-demand career in case management. With an aging U.S. population and the rise of complex conditions such as diabetes, obesity and other health issues, more case managers are necessary to manage and care for chronically ill patients.

According to ZipRecruiter, the median salary for case managers is about $71,077 annually, with higher salaries for certain specialties and settings. As they gain experience, many case managers advance into nursing leadership positions, which often offer higher salaries. Cultivating specialty skills is another way for case managers to increase their pay. Some specializations and practice settingssuch as insurance companies, hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilitiesoffer significantly higher pay than the median.

Certified case managers (CCMs) also enjoy many employment opportunities. Licensed nurses can earn the CCM credential to boost their earnings and demonstrate the additional skills and knowledge necessary for case management work. The majority of CCMs earn more than $80,000 annually, with salaries increasing over the past five years. Moreover, many employers recognize the value of CCM certification, with now requiring case managers they employ to have it.

Advancing to Nursing Case Management

Nursing case managers are in demand, so additional nursing education is the first step toward a case management career. Licensed nurses can enroll in an RN to BSN program to complete the additional coursework necessary to earn a BSN. Furthermore, many RNs receive credit for their previous education and experience, so they complete RN to BSN programs more quickly. In just 12 months, nurses can earn their BSN degrees and become eligible for more advanced nursing positions, such as case management jobs.

Continuing education (CE) after graduation is another important part of pursuing a case management career. As nurses manage care for their patients, they encounter new challenges and different patient needs every day. CE courses help nurses develop competence and understand changes in healthcare. These classes discuss new treatments, administrative changes, insurance issues and other advances. Since these courses are available in a variety of different formats, case managers can often complete CE when it works with their schedules.

As nurses seek career advancement, case management remains a strong choice that offers new opportunities, higher pay and a variety of work duties. You can qualify for a case management position by earning a BSN, choosing a case management specialty and continuing your education after graduation. Nurses who are looking for challenging work, meaningful ways to care for patients and real leadership opportunities may particularly enjoy a career in case management.

Learn more about the A-State online RN to BSN program.

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