MSN in Case Management
Healthcare in the United States can be incredibly complex and difficult to navigate. Patients are often unsure about what they need to do to follow up on chronic conditions, which providers they need to see, and what resources are available to them. For this reason, patients who are dealing with complex medical issues often fall through the cracks and are unable to self-manage certain conditions.
Master's-prepared nurse case managers help patients navigate the complicated healthcare world, and follow up to ensure that their chronic conditions are managed timely, efficiently, and effectively.
Nurses who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree in case management need to keep several things in mind when selecting a program:
Students need to ensure the MSN program is accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Accreditation from one of these two entities ensures that national educational standards are met in order to practice safely. Some programs may be locally accredited; however, nurses should be cautious as it could affect licensing in their state if their state board does not accept the accreditation.
Cost is a significant factor when selecting an MSN in Case Management program, and often a deterrent when considering a higher degree in nursing. Graduate programs can vary in cost significantly depending on the location and even reputation. Out-of-state tuition may also be a consideration. Nurses should be prepared for additional costs such as parking, books, supplies, and university fees. The good news is that most schools offer some type of financial aid to help reduce or offset the cost.
Master's degree nursing programs can vary in length, but average around 36 credits. However, there are variables that affect how long the program will take. For example, some programs allow nurses to transfer graduate study courses towards the program, which will reduce the amount of time it will take to complete it. Also, some nurses choose to go a little slower through the program due to family or work obligations.
Students enrolled in MSN program for case management are required to apply the theory they learn to real-life patient care. Before selecting a program, prospective students should research area healthcare facilities to see if they will be able to partner with them to fulfill this requirement.
Many master's degree programs are offered online. However, students do have the option to choose classroom or hybrid programs as well. Some students prefer in-person, face to face learning with the opportunity to interact with peers and faculty, while others prefer the flexibility of online learning. Whichever method nurses prefer, there is an option for them.
Case management nurses help patients navigate the complex and sometimes confusing healthcare world. They help steer patients towards the most cost-effective and appropriate treatment options to improve outcomes. The curriculum for case management includes a set of foundation courses for advanced-practice nurses followed by courses specific to the field of case management. Additionally, students are required to complete a capstone project. An example of the curriculum for an MSN in Case Management can be found on American Sentinel University‘s website:
- MSN Role Development
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Advanced Physical Assessment
- Theoretical Foundations
- Research Design
- Clinical and Administrative Systems
- Concepts of Case Management
- Process of Case Management
- Case Management and Evidenced-Based Practice
- Life Care Planning
- MSN Capstone Project
Many nurses who pursue a higher degree are already working part or full time. More and more advanced degree programs offer online learning to help students achieve their academic goals while they continue to work.
Advantages of Online Programs
Students who choose online or hybrid learning enjoy the flexibility the programs offer. Students may study at their convenience, around work hours, and on weekends and holidays if needed. Additionally, students can complete the program at their own pace. They may take on more courses to complete the program faster, or they can space the curriculum out to complete in a more slow-and-steady pace.
In many cases, students have a wider range of schools to select from as well, as out-of-state tuition may not apply to all online programs.
Each school specifies its own admission requirements, and they may vary between schools. Prospective students are encouraged to research admission requirements carefully before applying. General admission requirements for a Case Management MSN program include:
- A current, unencumbered RN license
- A BSN degree from an accredited school
- Minimum GPA of 3.0 (GPA requirements may vary between schools)
- Submit any transcripts from prior schools
- Submit a resume/CV/statement of purpose
- Complete a faculty interview
- GRE may be required
Nurses can also become certified in Case Management. While it's not specifically for MSN-prepared nurses, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers RN-BC Certification and is valid for five years. Requirements for this certification include:
- A current RN license
- Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse
- Have a minimum of 2,000 clinical practice hours in nursing case management within the prior 3 years
- Have completed 30 continuing education hours in case management within the last 3 years
To find an MSN in Case Management program near you, peruse our state-by-state listings below:
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