I am trying to find a job in case management. All the jobs I see posted require certification, yet you can’t get certified without experience. How is anyone supposed to break into the field?
Frustrated and Confused
Dear Frustrated and Confused,
I am asked this question frequently. Not every employer requires case management certification for every position. However, since certified case managers are harder to find than non-certified ones, those are the ads you are most likely to see in the classifieds. In truth, nurses are hired into case management positions all the time.
These positions exist primarily in insurance companies and private case management companies (you can search for both online). Make direct contact with these companies by phone, ask to speak to human resources and inquire about employment. If they direct you to their website, fill out an application there. Your RN credential, along with your nursing knowledge and experience, is what is needed and of value in a case management position.
When considering any new specialty, I always recommend you do some informational interviewing with others currently working in the specialty. This is a good way to learn more about the specialty to be sure it is for you. But is also a way to expand your professional contacts and sometimes even learn about opportunities. Also, read the article, “The scoop on informational interviewing” for additional information.
Find case managers by asking around, searching on social media sites such as LinkedIn, and researching professional associations such as the Case Management Society of America.
Go the CMSA website and locate your local chapter. Attend some meetings as a guest for now and network with fellow attendees. Networking is a great way to learn of opportunities and get interviews.
Additionally, contact some nursing employment agencies that place nurses in case management positions. This can be a way to get a foot in the door somewhere. Agency work often leads to regular employment. It is also a way to gain some relevant experience and try a specialty out to be sure it’s what you really want to do.
When someone asks you if you have any case management experience, you might answer by saying, “Although I’ve never had that title, I am very involved in the case management process in my current (or former) position.” Every nurse in any patient care setting is involved in case management even though you don’t always see it that way. Think of ways you have done something related, such as discharge planning, and present it in that way.
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, Nurse.com’s career advice columnist is president of DonnaCardillo.com. Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” She brings more than 20 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru. To ask Donna question, email [email protected]
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