Care Coordination positions can have many different titles. Some of these include:
Care manager, care coordinator, transitional care coordinator, nurse care coordinator, patient care coordinator, patient navigator.
Care managers are liaisons between patients and the healthcare system. As a care manager, you would ensure that patients receive the care they need and that they understand their medical condition, medications, and other instructions. You would coordinate patient-care services; coordination can help reduce costs by reducing duplication of services. You could work in any area of healthcare, including emergency, dental, psychiatric, and mental health. Outpatient offices, such as dentists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, and dermatologists, often hire patient care coordinators to help patients decide between and prepare for treatment options.1
Duties and Responsibilities
As a care manager, you will assist the care team with setting goals for quality assurance and best practices. Specific duties including assessing and screening patients as well as providing them with education about medical processes and procedures. You provide referrals for continuing care and locate community resources for patients. With input from patients, families, and the care team, you create outcome goals and an overall care plan. Some care managers may also assist with locating funding for special procedures or other patient needs.1
Medical facilities may prefer to hire care managers with the most education, training, and experience. For this reason, individuals who have completed an advanced certificate related to care coordination may have an advantage in the job market. Nurses in care management or patient advocacy certificate programs learn about health care coaching, health care advocacy, medical laws and ethics, navigating the health care system, health care insurance options, and tracking patient care goals.2
Care coordination is a complex concept which encompasses many aspects of care delivery, organization, and quality. The role of the professional nurse incorporates both the function of ensuring that patients’ needs are met across settings and providers and facilitating the delivery of quality care.3
As recent studies suggest, professional nurses have the potential for significant contributions to patient-centered, cost-effective care through the care coordination role. In order to fully achieve this potential, clear models and outcome measures are needed which specify the context for care coordination, identify nursing competencies, and value the nurse’s role within the health care team.3
Some organizations with certifications relevant to care coordination:
- American Board of Managed Care Nurses (www.ABMCN.org)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (http://www.nursecredentialing.org/certification.aspx)
- Capella University (www.capella.edu)
- Case Management Society of America (www.CMSA.org)
1. Nurse.com. New and emerging roles for nurses. Feb 11, 2013.
2. Study.com. Become a Care Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap.
3. ANA. The Value of Nursing Care Coordination: A White Paper of the American Nurses Association. June 2012.