Leading the Charge: Nurses with Advanced Education Take on Management Roles

FEATURED ARTICLE | JUNE 28, 2016 | BY JANICE JONES, PHD, RN, CLINICAL PROFESSOR

Often people envision nurses as scrub-clad individuals at a patient’s bedside taking vital signs and administering medications. However, bedside nursing is just one of many nursing career trajectories -- there are many nurses who choose to work in indirect care positions.  

Nurses with master’s degrees in nursing leadership are sought after because they possess skills and knowledge in management, leadership, organization, evidence-based practice, critical thinking and analysis, and ethics. New positions are constantly being created within hospitals and health care organizations for nurses with these particular skills.

The titles of nurse navigator, patient or population care coordinator and case manager are sometimes used interchangeably. These jobs generally involve coordinating the care of patients either within the hospital setting or from hospital to home. Read on to find out more about these three important nursing roles.

"Selecting UB as the institution for my master’s was easy. Course offerings have been relevant to my everyday work responsibilities, allowing me to use my new skills immediately. There have been times that the experience is so seamless that I can't differentiate between work and school projects."
–Pamela, MS Nursing Leadership Student, 2017

1. Intra-Hospital Nurse Navigator

An intra-hospital nurse navigator may make sure that patients progress in a timely manner to avoid increased lengths of stay. Did the patient get their CT scan or MRI? Delays can prolong hospitalization.

2. Population Care Coordinator

A population care coordinator might involve the discharge planning for a group of patients such as stroke patients. Care coordination does not stop at discharge, but also needs to be carried on beyond the hospital setting to prevent or minimize readmissions.

3. Case Manager

Case managers may work both within hospitals and for insurance companies. Case managers may earn CCM certification by successfully completing the exam offered by the Commission for Case Manager Certification.

These nurses are trained to evaluate evidence, formulate health policies, develop quality improvement projects and business plans, and become leaders. Nursing is a profession that offers many unique career paths -- throughout your nursing career, your interests and values may change, and that’s OK! The good news is that there will always be opportunities to learn, grow, and take on new and exciting responsibilities.

Interested in training for these types of positions? Check out our MS in Nursing Leadership program.

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