The Role of RN Case Managers

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Also referred to as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators RN case managers are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services. RN case managers design and implement health care plans for patients according to their individual needs and situations.

Smiling nurse interacting with patient

Acting as the primary bridge between patients, their families, and health care providers, RN case managers often act as social workers in the medical field, advocating for patient welfare. They are commonly employed by hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, home health agencies, and health insurance agencies.

“RN case managers work with new admissions, assessing their conditions and needs in order to develop personalized care plans,” says, a website dedicated to providing information on higher education and employment in a multitude of categories. “They regularly evaluate these plans of care and update them on an as-needed basis (and) must educate patients and their families on how to follow their care plans.” Because they are registered nurses, RN case managers are also able to provide nursing care directly to their patients.

The online RN-BSN program at Duquesne University is designed to provide students with the critical thinking, analytical skills, and clinical reasoning needed to advance in their careers.

Qualifications of an RN Case Manager

As with any job, prospective RN case managers have some boxes to check before they can begin their careers. First and foremost, the candidate must be a registered nurse. He or she should have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a recognized nursing program, though most employers prefer the bachelor’s degree.

In addition to the degree, the candidate must also have passed the National Course License Examination (NCLE-RN). In most cases, RN case managers are expected to have at least a few years of experience providing clinical care as an RN before being allowed to work as case managers. In some cases, employers will require experience in a supervisory or quality assurance role as well.

As an alternative, RN case manager candidates can seek a credentialing option by passing a two-part exam featuring questions about case management in the health system and clinical simulations. Those who pass will earn the accredited case manager (ACM) certification from the American Case Management Association.

Duties of an RN Case Manager

RN case managers have numerous responsibilities on the job and should excel at multitasking. They must regularly maintain dialogues between patients, families, doctors, and insurance providers. They should possess an understanding of the features of Medicare, Medicaid, and a variety of other insurance options, as well as a deep knowledge of healthcare services and medical terminology.

The primary responsibilities of RN case managers include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessing new patients
  • Updating and revising patient healthcare plans as needed
  • Educating patients and families about healthcare plans and options
  • Making clinical decisions for routine patient care
  • Accurately documenting and submitting medical records
  • Demonstrating knowledge in medical care, such as diagnostic procedures, medication, symptoms, and other treatment-related therapies
  • Providing emotional support to patients and families
  • Evaluating and determining patient needs
  • Reviewing results from medical tests
  • Implementing physician orders and other nursing procedures
  • Creating an environment for open communication

Salary of an RN Case Manager

According to, salaries for RN case managers in the United States as of May 2017 range from $54,737 to $86,686 with the median salary being $69,521. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2017, the median salary for all medical and health services management jobs is higher, at $96,540.

Job Outlook and Growth

The future is looking bright for prospective RN case managers. Although BLS does not currently provide information specific to RN case managers, it does predict a roughly 17 percent increase in medical and health management jobs continuing until 2024. BLS also projects a growth of about 16 percent in registered nurses in the same time frame, which is a faster than average rate.

About Duquesne University’s Online RN-BSN Degree Program

A leader in nursing education, Duquesne University’s 100 percent online RN-BSN program allows RNs to complete their coursework in an accessible setting. Courses include contemporary nursing and health-care issues, population-based health and community health nursing, nursing ethics, and organizational and clinical leadership. For more information, visit Duquesne University’s online RN-BSN program website.