Although the role of case manager is one that is more frequently reserved for RNs the job title of “LPN case manager” is becoming more and more common as the nursing profession changes and LPNs are given more responsibilities and duties. Becoming an LPN case manager means that you have stood out from among your colleagues and are a gifted leader.
Being An LPN Case Manager
An LPN case manager has a more restricted scope of practice than an RN case manager on the basis that they have not received the same advanced training as an RN. However, there are a growing number of nurses who are entering roles as case managers with nothing more than an LPN qualification. This is because it is becoming increasingly apparent that LPNs can do more than they were initially given credit for and a subsequent increase in responsibilities and job roles for nurses with this qualification has occurred. Case manager jobs are limited, generally speaking, so you will really need to stand out from the crowd.
Typical LPN Role
Typically an LPN is involved in very basic tasks, as according to her scope of practice. These tasks include duties like:
- Taking a patient’s vital signs
- Assisting a patient with eating and dressing
Consequently it is rare to see an LPN case manager as this role is usually considered to be better suited to a nurse with an RN qualification behind her name.
However the nature of nursing is changing and LPN nurses are being recognized more fully for their potential to act in supervisory capacities, which is why it is possible to become an LPN case manager.
In long-term care facilities an LPN may be given certain supervisory roles when the managing RN is not available to supervise nursing aides and other LPNs. If you are able to work your way into a position such as this you will find that it is significantly easier to become an LPN case manager in the future as you will be able to prove your ability to handle a leadership and management position even though you are only an LPN. This useful step in becoming an LPN case manager is not always available to all LPNs, however, depending on the rules of the facility where they work.
LPNs are more and more frequently allowed to become case managers. LPN case managers are primarily responsible for the following duties, tasks and roles in the healthcare facility:
- Ensuring the quality of care that patients receive
- Reviewing treatments to determine their quality in helping patients recover from illness
- Reviewing treatments to determine their cost effectiveness in helping patients recover from illness
- Reviewing treatments to determine their medical effectiveness in helping patients recover from illness
- Making recommendations regarding alternate treatments, proper resource utilization, and compliance with legal mandates
Job growth for LPN positions is expected to continue at a rate faster than the projected average rate across all professions through 2018 and the number of jobs in the field of licensed practical nursing is expected to grow by 21 percent. Becoming an LPN is therefore a good idea as you will most likely be guaranteed of job stability. If you are unable to attain your goal of becoming an LPN case manager you will still have the opportunity to benefit from the many jobs available for regular LPNs. LPNs make an average annual salary of $41,360.
Role Of LPNs In Case Management And Chart Reviews
There is some debate regarding whether or not LPNs can be case managers. Different state boards of nursing, for example, have different ideas on the matter. The Kentucky state board of nursing is in favor of allowing LPNs to work in case management to a certain degree, stating that “it is within the scope of licensed practical nursing practice for the licensed practical nurse to participate in and assist with case management activities under the direction of a registered nurse”. In other states, however, there may be different rules or more stringent restrictions on what an LPN case manager can and can’t do.
Become An RN Case Manager
An RN case manager, or “case manager” as they are more commonly called, are in charge of coordinating long term care for their patients. Often they will be in charge of a number of different patients at the same time, all of whom they will be in charge of caring for. Generally a case management nurse with an RN qualification will work with specific groups of patients. There is, therefore, an opportunity to specialize in areas such as HIV. Being an LPN case manager will pave the way to becoming an RN case manager in the future.
The basic tasks that a case management nurse performs are the following:
- Coordinate doctor appointments
- Schedule surgeries
- Determine the best treatment for your patients
In short your role is to manage the overall care of the patient. This is not simply limited to their actual physical care, but includes administrative and planning procedures as well. This is a role that both RNs and LPNs can fulfill, which is why it is becoming more common to see LPNs in case management roles, although they do tend to be supervised when in this position.
How To Get There
There are a few steps you can follow to become a case management nurse with an RN qualification:
- You must earn an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- You must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
- You must work as a Registered Nurse for at least two years and get 2,000 hours of clinical experience in case management
- You must apply to take your certification exam
- You must get your case management nurse certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center
- You must complete 30 hours of continuing education classes in case management nursing
Once you have done all of the above you will be a case management nurse with an RN qualification.
Where You Can Work
Once you have become a case management nurse you will be able to work in the following locations:
- You can work in hospitals
- You can work in rehabilitation clinics
- You can work as an independent consultant
The same applies for LPN case management nurses, although it is far easier to work as an independent consultant with an RN qualification than with an LPN qualification as your credentials will be taken more seriously.
As a case management nurse you can expect to earn anything from $48K to $66K a year. This is more than what a regular RN earns, and it is certainly much more than what a regular LPN or an LPN case manager will be able to earn. Consequently a career as an RN case manager is a good one to strive towards if you want to enhance your opportunities for finding the best employment and pay. Salary can, however, vary based on a number of factors, including the state you live in, the industry you work in, and your employer.
This is the perfect line of work for someone who is a ‘people person’. This is because you’ll have an opportunity to develop long-term relationships with your patients, getting to know them, their needs, and have a vested interest in their health. Case management involves working with the same patient or patients over a very long period of time and this will allow you to form a deeper relationship with them than if you were simply a regular nurse. This can also serve as a warning to those nurses who prefer to work with many different patients all the time.
RN/LPN Case Management Exam
To become a case manager as an LPN or as an RN you will probably, at some point, be required to complete an examination. Although these examinations are not necessarily compulsory, they are still often administered to assess your ability to do the job well.
According to prophecyhealth.com the following topics are covered in the LPN case manager examination:
- Clinical pathways and continuum of care
- Linking patients to community resources
- Determining appropriateness of care
- Management for the Hospice patient
Knowledge of types of insurance including:
Once you have become an LPN case manager it will make it far easier for you to move on to becoming an RN case manager in the future, provided you are willing to complete the training necessary to receive RN licensure in your state. completing the necessary exam will repaper you for the role of being an LPN case manager and will also go a long way to improving your job prospects and career outlook as you will have even more doors open to you in terms of where you can seek employment.