The greatest number of healthcare professionals within healthcare organizations are Registered Nurses. RNs are present in all settings where patients receive care and are effective contributors to multi-disciplinary care teams. A well prepared and contemporary nursing workforce is able to partner with patients and their families positively affecting patient decision-making, and providing comprehensive assessment and care planning. They are able to engage patients in self-management and health behavior change. These RNs are the contemporary workforce able to implement evidence based interventions and advocate for the right care at the right time.

The Role of Contemporary RN Case Managers

Case manager, transitional care nurse, care navigator, care coordinator, complex care managers and health coaches are just a few of the many titles used to reflect contemporary RN Case Manager and Advanced Care Coordination Practice. These newer roles differ significantly from traditional case manager roles that included phone banks, utilization review and resource management. Contemporary RN Case Managers and Advanced RN Care Coordinators partner with patients and their caregivers and work across all care settings from hospital to clinic to home. These nurses are well positioned to connect patients, providers and services to assure that care is coordinated, safe and truly patient centered.

Placing well prepared nurses in these roles allows healthcare organizations to put in place a “proactive” strategy to identify population health needs. This assures that patients most in need of targeted care, and those who utilize expensive services, including high risk patients, are prioritized for specialized care coordination services such as case management and care transitions.

Training the Contemporary Workforce

Training RN Case Managers — and RNs looking to take on the role of Case Managers — needs to be done quickly to successfully match the workforce with the growing healthcare needs of an aging and chronically ill population. The complexity of patients with multiple chronic conditions require specialized knowledge that expands on basic principles of care coordination learned in undergraduate and graduate nursing education. Investing in Registered Nurse eduction as they adopt new contemporary Case Manager and Advanced Care Coordination roles is essential to assure success of both the nurse and the healthcare organization.