Why Becoming a Case Manager Might Be Your True Calling

Apr 5, 2017

Nurses enter the medical field determined to make a difference in people’s lives, yet how they do it depends on their own unique knowledge, strengths, and personality. Just like a pair of scrubs, there is no single nursing role that fits everybody. Some people thrive in the frenzy of an ICU. Others need a different vantage point to affect abiding changes such as education or management.

Finding that perfect position is essential to a long and happy career. Nurses working in acute care roles but craving change should consider becoming a case manager. If the following examples sound like you, it’s definitely worth contacting one of our recruiters.

1.) You Want to Offer End-to-End Care

An acute care nurse provides an important lifeline in emergencies. Remediation of serious injuries, illnesses, and infections depends on a nurse’s action in the ICU. Yet once the immediate threat is relieved, what happens to the patient? Your ability to affect their ongoing health and wellness stops the moment they leave your unit – unless you are a case manager.

Becoming a case manager expands your influence on a patient’s comprehensive health. You take charge of end-to-end treatment. The case manager works with healthcare payers to evaluate the scope of treatment and coordinate care options. Your role is on par with that of a coach. You evaluate and coordinate visits, treatments, medication, and overall care to prevent devastating fallout all the while motivating your patient to take an active role in their health.

Consider this. One in five Americans with chronic conditions are prescribed medication that worsens their condition or clashes with another prescription. This leads to costly ER visits or much worse. A case manager makes the judgement call to avoid those types of errors, mitigating the chance that harmful mistakes aggravate a patient’s health.

2.) You Love to Educate People

Most people do unknowing damage to their bodies in little ways from day to day. The risk is even worse for someone with chronic pain or conditions. Though these people might research symptoms as they intensify, reactionary measures are often too little too late. Acute care nurses are usually not given a chance to enact preventative medicine. On the rare occasion that they can, they have one or two opportunities at most to make an impression that patients will heed. Most people require more than that to change a habit.

A case manager has an opportunity to get involved in more preventative medicine. In fact, the opportunity to educate patients is what draws many into these roles. Coaching, educating, and developing care plans for patients gives these nurses the opportunity to prevent what’s avoidable. Not only do they avert conflicts in medication, but they can wean patients off of bad habits that impact their health.

Let’s say that a patient is going through physical therapy. Each session in PT will be different, but certain treatments require home exercises to ensure faster rehabilitation. In those cases, a case manager can act as a reminder and a resource to encourage the right forms are practiced as often as needed. That way, the overall process is shorter and patients’ lives are interrupted for a less substantial period of time.

3.) You Want to Be Part of Your Patients’ Safety Net

Imagine this situation. An elderly man has been discharged after dialysis resolved his renal failure, but he now faces new challenges at home. Previously, he took antibiotics to cure an infection, but the medication triggered his kidney failure. He can’t figure out how to regulate his kidneys and eliminate the infection at the same time and he has no one to ask. If he’s lucky, there is someone available to help with his care coordination.

The above situation is all too common. When a person leaves in-patient care, the success of their ongoing health depends on the ability and strength of their social safety net. Patients with limited social connections or complex treatment plans face the greatest risk. Moreover, hands-on involvement is difficult for busy and untrained family members and friends. Case managers ease the process.

Becoming a case manager provides opportunities to balance out the care plan. You prevent conflicts in medication, reinforce medical instructions, act as a reminder for crucial appointments, and present a voice of reassurance during tense situations. In situations where mental health or substance abuse threaten recuperation, you are the one identifying opportunities for intervention, keeping patients on the path to recovery.

4.) You Love Life Hacks

Working with patients over the long term requires creative problem solving. Case managers are in positions to impact change. Because of that, people who thrive in these positions are capable of seeing new ways to improve existing situations. Opportunities to save healthcare providers money, streamline appointment schedules, and prevent redundant treatments are waiting to be uncovered in this role. In essence, you get to be the ultimate life hacker.

Take this situation, for example. Each year, $4 billion is wasted on breast cancer overtreatment that ranges from getting false-positive mammograms and breast cancer overdiagnoses. When a barrage of six or seven tests are ordered by a doctor, there’s a 20% chance of getting a false positive.

A case manager in this situation would be able to measure an individual patient’s medical history, weigh it against age-related and congenital risks, and make a care plan recommendation. The case manager would arrange mammograms at the appropriate times and avoid costly and potentially harmful overtreatment. In these and countless other situations, they are serving the patient and healthcare payer in the same instant.

Becoming a Case Manager

For acute care nurses who want to contribute to end-to-end care, love educating people, and always find more efficient ways to do things, the transition isn’t very difficult. Becoming a case manager builds upon existing acute care skills, strong communication, and a willingness to take charge.

If that sounds like you, check out our job opportunities to begin the shift into a satisfying new life as a care manager.


Recent Articles

Share via
Copy link