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What is a Nurse Case Manager?

Nurse case managers are responsible for managing care plans for patients who have physical, mental, or substance abuse problems.

Job Responsibilities

Their daily responsibilities center around helping patients and their families identify needs and goals and what the required steps are to meet them. Specific duties include:

  • Offering patients counseling in an individual or group setting
  • Performing mental health or physical exams
  • Determining a patient’s eligibility for special procedures or treatments
  • Consulting with outside agencies in order to arrange support services when necessary
  • Developing a detailed action plan
  • Keeping detailed records of each home and office visit, along with referrals, and phone calls
  • Keeping in touch with patients to confirm the services they are receiving are helpful
  • Educating patients and their families on how to follow a care plan
  • Reviewing treatment goals
  • Interpreting medical documents
  • Communicating with physicians
  • Facilitating investigations and ongoing legal proceedings when necessary
  • Making good use of all clinical pathways


Nurse case managers are registered nurses who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited program. Courses include:

  • Concepts in Nursing
  • Basic Skills in Nursing
  • Advanced Skills in Nursing
  • Integrated Health Assessment
  • Pathophysiology for Nurses
  • Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Health Appraisal
  • Teaching Strategies for the Healthcare Client
  • Concepts in Community Health Nursing
  • Introduction to School Nursing
  • Topics in Nursing
  • Applying Professional Nursing Principles
  • Leadership and Healthcare Economics
  • Concepts of Acute Illness in Adults
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Cooperative Education in Nursing
  • Basic Concepts and Care of Elderly Clients
  • Nursing of the Childrearing Family

Nurse Case Manager

Many continue their education to achieve a master’s in nursing case management as some employers will only hire nurses who have an advanced degree. To pursue a master’s, students need to have a passing score on the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) as one of the requirements for acceptance. Registered nurses who earned a master’s in another area of nursing can obtain a post-graduate certificate. A doctorate degree is also available for those who wish to achieve the highest level of education.


Once schooling is completed, the training for this profession takes place on the job.


To practice as a registered nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) examination.


There are a few certification options available to nurse case managers, they include:

  • A certification exam that focuses on hospital case management  is offered by the American Case Management Association
  • An exam administered by the American Nurse Credentialing Center allows registered nurses to become board certified. To be eligible, you need two years of hospital experience, 2,000 additional hours of clinical case management, and thirty hours of continuing education
  • An exam administered by the Commission for Case Managers Certification centers on community case and hospital management. It’s only given three times a year and re-certification is mandatory every five years


Nurse case managers can choose to specialize in several ares including geriatrics, pediatrics, and surgery,

Work Environment

These nurses work in private and public sectors including hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab centers.

Desirable Skills

  • Strong knowledge in clinical and financial aspects of care
  • Highly effective skills in managing, teaching, negotiating, and collaborating with different groups
  • Good time management skills in order to work with multiple patients each day

Additional Requirements

Some employers require nurses to have a valid driver’s license (as opposed to state identification) in order to transport patients in their own vehicles or one owned by their employer.

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook is excellent, and in 2012, the median salary was $64,000.

Case management positions are one of the most desired nursing positions. If you would like more information on this career, please contact us.