Case managers are incredibly important to patients and healthcare providers. They act as a liaison between patients and their care team and advocate for their patient’s needs to be met every step of the way. Let’s take a closer look at a case manager’s job description, along with the skills needed to perform well, and ultimately, advance in your career.
Qualifications and Skills
There are certain skills and qualifications that a person needs to obtain before becoming a case manager.
Education and Certification Requirements
There are many different types of case managers. Some may require a specific bachelor’s degree, while others can be in a related field. This can include health care administration, nursing, social work, psychology, or sociology. Once an undergraduate degree is obtained, an aspiring case manager can apply for an internship in case management or a similar field, and even consider pursuing their master’s degree. In most states, you will need to gain one to two years of professional work experience in a field that’s relevant to your specialty. These jobs can include being a registered nurse, a case management assistant, or a social worker’s assistant.
Each state has its own licensing requirements, as well. Check with the American Case Management Association (ACMA) to determine which license or certification you may need to obtain.
A case manager’s duties are plentiful and incredibly impactful for their patient. There are certain skills that can make the job easier to perform. A successful case manager is:
A case manager juggles many clients at once, and must keep their care plans well-organized and strictly confidential at all times.
Excellent at communication.
They will act as a liaison between the client and his or her care team, including health care professionals, home health agencies, and related service providers, and must be able to clearly communicate the patient’s progress and needs.
A critical thinker and problem solver.
Patients have unique needs and circumstances, and its the case manager’s responsibility to create the right care plan that meets their needs and provides the right goals for the patient to work toward.
Patients require understanding and compassion, as the case manager helps them progress and work toward achieving their goals.
Good at time management.
It takes a lot of thought and organization to juggle many clients and their care plans at once.
A case manager’s role requires them to use certain software to communicate with other health care professionals, and to send appropriate documents as needed.
Duties and Responsibilities
Case manager’s work tirelessly to advocate and care for their patients. Their duties and responsibilities can vary, depending on the work environment and specialty. Some primary duties in a case manager’s job description include:
Develop individualized care plans.
A case manager’s main role is to develop and implement an individualized care plan for each patient, based on the patient’s unique care needs.
Conduct client assessments
This will help the case manager to determine each patient’s unique needs and goals, so they can create an individualized care plan.
Coordinate services and resources
Once the care plan is created, the case manager will communicate with the right service providers, resources, and healthcare professionals, in order to support their patient best. The case manager will also need to communicate with each member of the care team as the patient’s needs and goals change.
Monitor progress and outcomes.
The case manager is in charge of implementing the care plan and documenting the patient’s progress along the way. They also may adjust the care plan as needed to better suit their patient’s needs.
Comply with legal and ethical standards.
Each patient deserves to be treated with respect and privacy, and the case manager’s duty is to ensure that all legal and ethical standards are being every step of the way.
Case managers have large caseloads, and their days are often packed with meetings, emails, and home visits. There are many different types of case managers, and their work environments vary greatly. A hospital case manager, for example, will work onsite, visiting patients throughout the day and acting as a liaison between the patient and their doctors, the pharmacy, and even home healthcare services. A home health case manager, on the other hand, may travel to patient homes in order to meet with them and monitor their progress.
Prospective case managers should expect to manage the care plans of multiple clients at once. You may have an office or work remotely, but you’ll need a place to organize patient files and communicate with the patient’s care team each day. Although office work is a part of the case manager’s job description, they also spend a lot of time visiting with each client. This may include walking from one hospital room to another, or driving from one patient’s home to the next. The job can be unpredictable, and a case manager must be ready to problem solve and quickly adapt in response to each unique patient’s needs.
Career Path and Advancement Opportunities
Case managers have plenty of options when it comes to career advancement. After a couple of years of experience, a case manager can advance to a higher management position like a senior case manager or program supervisor. If a case manager becomes passionate about one specialty in particular, he or she can pursue further education or specialization in that field. In fact, this is one of the biggest advantages to being a case manager. There are many opportunities for advancement, and a case manager can create their own career path based on their unique interests and skill sets.
Depending on a case manager’s interests, they can begin to explore opportunities in related fields like patient care, population health, and patient navigation. There are also many different leadership roles for case managers to pursue, if that’s something they’d like to achieve.
Become A Case Manager and Make a Difference
Case managers are an invaluable member of a patient’s care team. They advocate and act as a liaison between the patient and their care team, so they can get the best care possible. A case manager’s job is very rewarding, and it opens the door for many unique career paths and advancements. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a case manager and what the job entails, contact us. PASCO’s main mission is to advocate and provide care for patients who need it most, and we’d be happy to connect you with the right resources to be a part of our team.