Top Reasons You Should Be A Nurse Case Manager
Registered Nurses: Have you ever felt like this?
“I got injured working in a hospital, and my body can’t take the 12 hour shifts anymore”
“I don’t want to become an administrator, but I just can’t see myself working here for the next 20 years”
“I want to leave my current nursing job, but I don’t want to take a paycut.”
“I wish I could work from home, but you can’t do that as a nurse”.
If you found a nursing job where you could make the same amount of money (or more) that you do as a staff nurse in the hospital, while working from home, having a flexible schedule, no weekends, no holidays...would you do it?
Did I mention that you get a ton of 1-on-1 patient time where you make a massive impact on their quality of life?
Let me introduce to you...the nurse case manager role!
What does an RN Case Manager, Field Nurse Case Manager, or Workers Compensation Nurse Case Manager do?
There are a wide variety of nurse case manager positions across our industry. Some work for hospitals, while others work for insurance companies, or even specialized worker’s comp case management companies.
Simply put, the nurse case manager makes sure the patient has access to the resources they need for their care. This may include making house visits to assess, plan, and implement a plan of care for the patient, attending doctor’s appointments with the patient, or even helping patients troubleshoot their care over the phone as a telephonic nurse case manager.
But don’t take my word for it. I reached out to the members of the excellent FB Group: Case Managers Community to find out what the job is like for people doing the work today.
Here are real-world testimonials from nurse case managers:
Ali: Says she loves seeing her clients progress over time and knowing she had a direct impact on their progress.
Stacy: Did workers comp for 12 months, enjoyed the flexibility but spent 4 hours at minimum on the road driving to client’s homes and back to her home. Stated she had to do documentation once she got home as well. Made for a LONG week (50-60 hours)
Jayne: Works from home, everything is telephonic, third party administrators (TPA) and is a complex case manager. She has to have greater than 30 patients but needs to bill 64 hours per pay period and that can be a challenge
Lynne: Says at first she worked like a dog putting in 60-100 hours a week, but she modified her approach electing to do all of her at-home patient calls in one long day, and then spent the rest of the week working from home.
Linda: Says family and friends will forget you really are working and they think they can call, drop by, or that you have all the time in the world to go do things for them. You never get to leave work. It’s there 24/7. You still have to get up and work. There’s still deadlines. You could be working 20-12 hours a day or more and be salaried so the overtime is unpaid.
Donna and Sean both agree that if you’re doing Workers Comp case management, as long as you keep the IW (injured worker) and Adjuster happy, life will be good.
For those of us that worked at the bedside in the hospital, some of the most challenging times physically and mentally are when our patients unexpectedly code on us, and it doesn’t go our way. These experience make their mark and take their toll on every nurse at the bedside. Having no experience as a nurse case manager, I asked the group if there are any equivalent situations that you might experience as a case manager.
Here is what they said.
"What is the hardest part about being a case manager?"
Bonnie: “The toughest ones for me are the patients without friends or family, and are now needing hospice. No medicaid, and no one to care for them. Our county office of Aging and People with Disabilities takes 30-45 days to process Medicaid. Some people don't have that long.”
Ashlee: “People that need help, have no support, and aren't safe at home any longer. They are hard to place and it takes time. They can't stay in the hospital because it's not medically necessary( I work in a emergency department ), but they don't feel safe at home... nursing homes in our area offer respite care. But, they want a few thousand dollars up front... We just had a lady come in last night after a fall where she split her head open. She was covered in blood and I had to go tell her her options. With no inpatient midnights and straight Medicare, what else can I do? I actually went into case management last year thinking there weren't that many barriers and really not knowing much. I try to stay positive, but these things really upset me. Because I work in the emergency department, I support families when they first come in after a family member has had an accident or emergency. It takes spiritual care/chaplain/pastoral care a while to come in at night sometimes. Being there for families when their family member has just died is the greatest gift and greatest burden we have as healthcare providers. I will never forget the stillborn babies to the 103 year olds great-great grandparents that have died and I have cared for during the 7 years that I have been a nurse.”
Catherine: “When I was a case manager with the severely and chronically mentally ill. I had 3 older patients who also had severe and complex medical conditions. They all completed suicide in a 6 month period. Fortunately at the time I was also working alongside a very wise physician who took the time to pull me aside and say, in cardiology you expect heart attacks, in psych it is suicide. You did everything you possibly could, it is NOT your fault. I've never forgotten those 3 patients and they definitely impacted my case management work. Do your best every day and you have no regrets.”
Jessica: “Sometimes I deal with moms that have experienced fetal demises or poor outcomes of their babies. I found working with them in the hospital during the situation in labor and delivery before this job,and experiencing it was much much worse emotionally for me.”
Karin: “People call you who say they want to end their life. You learn the protocol from where you work of what to say and what to do, but those calls never leave you whether you did everything right or not.”
Beverly: “As a nurse for 36yrs, worked in cardiac surgery, trauma ortho,spine surgery, home health, family medicine and even school nurse, and now case management as the body is wearing, I can tell you so many stories. Always remember the patient makes the final choice, decision. Sometimes they need help, education, guidance support, and many time we intercede for them, call social services when necessary. We as nurses feel we must always fix, or heal everyone. However, we can't and must accept our limitations. Sometimes, being that gentle hand, warm smile, soft soothing voice of support, is all they need. Because you can't solve every problem, or heal every disease. You call, delegate, report, document, follow-up. Rinse and repeat. It's what we do.”
Do I need a masters degree (MSN) to be a nurse case manager?
Nope. Acute care experience, utilization review, and even home health nursing experience can be the stepping stones to a job as a nurse case manager according to Eddie Braun at IW Care Connections, a company that specializes in providing nurse case manager services.
How do you become a nurse case manager?
She specializes in training nurses that want to switch from traditional staff nursing roles to nurse case management. It’s a great episode and you’ll get a ton of value from it.
How do I get a job as a Nurse Case Manager?
[SPONSORED]: If you are in California, check out IW Care Connection. They are looking for nurse case managers with:
Experience in workers compensation
However, if you are a Spanish speaking Nurse, they will train you for the nurse case manager role from scratch
For a bonus segment of The Project Nurse Podcast, we interviewed Eddie Braun, the CFO of IW Care Connection to ask him about working as a nurse case manager. We covered topics like:
- Taking care of victims of a terrorist attack
- What does IWCC look for in a successful candidate?
- What makes a good nurse case manager?
- What are some common pitfalls they see with new case managers?
Additional Nurse Case Manager Jobs:
Head to the RN Job Search tool at Clipboard Health. Then put in your education, years, of experience, location, and then you can filter through over 180,000 healthcare jobs across the nation.
Vicki from the Case Manager FB group says Anthem hires case managers without experience
All of these nurse case manager jobs ask for experienced case managers, how do I get that experience?
Tips from Case Manager FB Group:
“Reach out to your hospital’s case managers. Drop your name, tell them you are interested and willing to learn. Continue to follow-up until you get an opportunity “
“Apply to insurance companies, they hire nurses to do utilization review and have the resources to train inexperienced nurse case managers”
Should I be a nurse case manager?
At some point in our career, every nurse that has worked in a hospital has gotten that feeling that what they were doing wasn’t making as big an impact as we thought we would coming out of school.
How many times have you heard a nurse complaining that they spend all their time in front of a computer, or dispensing narcotics to addicts?
How many times have you wished that you had more time with your patients, to talk to them, educate them, and to follow-up with them to see how they are doing after they have left the hospital?
You can solve all of these issues, and make good money AND working from home as a nurse case manager.