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Nurse Case Manager Career Overview

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Mar 4, 2024
Nurse holding a clipboard and talking to a patient.

Nurse Case Manager Career Overview

Every patient in a hospital deserves exceptional care. Nurse case managers not only work directly with patients but also oversee care plans to ensure that quality care is delivered and that wellness goals are met. While some of their duties and educational requirements are similar to those of registered nurses (RNs), case management nurses have other, unrelated responsibilities as well. Prospective case managers should review this career overview to see if this career pathway is right for them.

Overview of a Nurse Case Manager Role

Working inside and outside of hospitals, case managers work with patients to create long-term care plans. Patients are typically recovering from serious injuries or facing chronic illnesses, though older adult patients also work with case managers.

The goal of this position is to coordinate care by connecting patients to various health care services and developing a personalized plan. Nurse case managers are RNs, but they offer a holistic approach that focuses on a broader range of the patient’s social, emotional, and physical needs.

Responsibilities of a Nurse Case Manager

Because a nurse case manager focuses on the long-term care plans of patients, their daily duties may not be the same as those of other nurses. Here are some common responsibilities of a case manager:

  • Reviewing and responding to patient needs to develop a care plan

  • Discussing care options with patients

  • Maintaining patient medical records

  • Scheduling appointments with physicians and health care specialists

  • Exploring emotional support options for holistic care

These are just examples of the responsibilities that may be included in case management in nursing. Managers can work in hospitals, medical facilities, and community facilities to provide care and education.

Nurse Case Manager Salary Career Outlook

In addition to being a rewarding career — working with patients to achieve long-term care outcomes — nurse case management offers a competitive salary for nursing professionals. The median annual salary for nurse case managers is approximately $78,620 as of December 2023, according to Payscale.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects significant job growth in the medical and health services management field. According to BLS data, the number of manager positions in the medical and health services field is expected to increase by 28% between 2022 and 2032.

How to Become a Nurse Case Manager

As an advanced role in the nursing field, a nurse case management role requires education, certification, job experience, and relevant skills. Prospective managers should explore each area to prepare for this rewarding career opportunity.


Most positions require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to successfully work as a case manager. While experience as an RN is helpful, prospective case managers should explore RN to BSN educational pathways to qualify for this position. Graduates of a BSN program can also consider enrolling in a master’s degree program to enhance their resume and refine their health care expertise.


Case managers need to be RNs, so applicants need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), an exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Passing the NCLEX-RN allows nurses to not only practice in their state as RNs but also qualify for case management positions.


While some case management positions don’t require previous work experience, most require at least two years of experience working as an RN or in a related position. This work experience helps improve relevant skills and allows nursing professionals to learn more about the health care industry.

Hands-on experience is also helpful for determining the best career pathway. After obtaining two or more years of experience, some RNs pursue a different health care career. Prospective case managers should also explore related fields, such as learning how to become a research nurse, to find the best option for their personal goals.

Relevant Skills

Nurse case managers must possess a broad range of technical and interpersonal skills to succeed in this fast-paced, rewarding career. Here are examples of some skills that are essential to the job:

  • Analytical skills. Medical documents containing complex information need to be analyzed and applied to patient care plans.

  • Communication skills. Managers need to communicate with patients and their families with respect and empathy.

  • Medical knowledge. As RNs working to develop long-term care plans, managers must have an extensive understanding of anatomy and medical knowledge.

  • Technology skills. A case manager needs to work in an office setting managing spreadsheets, electronic record management systems, and other computer software.

Find Out How to Earn Your BSN With The University of Tulsa

Take the next step in your career as a nurse case manager with the help of The University of Tulsa. The online RN to BSN program is an accredited program to help RNs pursue their BSN degree. Develop the communication skills, medical knowledge, and theoretical understanding you need to prepare for a career as a case manager through this flexible, online degree program.

Recommended Readings:

The Benefits of Nurse Mentoring

What Can You Do With a BSN?

What Is Roy’s Adaptation Model of Nursing?


American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Nursing Workforce Fact Sheet

American Nurses Association, ANCC

Indeed, Nurse Case Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Indeed, “What Does a Nurse Case Manager Do? (With Skills and Salary)”

Payscale, Average Nurse Case Manager Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

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