From the staff development bookshelf: Skills of effective case managers

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 13, 2012

Not all nurses can be successful case managers. Case managers must possess many skill sets in addition to those needed in a traditional staff nurse role, and might be considered “advanced practice” for that reason. Let’s take a look at the skills believed to be critical to the success of the hospital case manager. The skills needed include:

  • Clinical
  • At least five years in the acute care setting (relevant to the area where the case manager will be working)
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • Organizational
  • Autonomy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Teamwork
  • Delegation
  • Political savvy
  • Tolerance
  • Commitment
  • Role modeling
  • Teaching
  • Cultural sensitivity

It is difficult to prioritize these skills, and they may all come into play at various times for effective case managers. Case managers must consider that on any given day they may need to call on many of these skills in order to effectively accomplish their job. It is the combination of these skills and the flexibility of the individual carrying them out that will make the difference.

For example, case managers have to be able to work autonomously and make quick decisions. However, those decisions must be communicated to the rest of the case team on an ongoing basis.

Book excerpt adapted from Core Skills for Hospital Case Managers: A Training Toolkit for Effective Outcomes by Toni Cesta, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Beverly Cunningham, MS, RN.

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