Essential Skills for a Case Manager

Posted in Career Blog

A case manager is essentially an individual who serves as a liaison in a medical setting, helping to improve communication between patients, their caregivers and their families. As a case manager, there are several skills that you should possess in order to be successful.

Interview Skills

Since a case manager will typically work with a patient over a long period of time, it is important to gather as much information about the patient, the medical condition and his or her day-to-day life as possible. This will allow for much better results in the long run. You should remember that you will inevitably need to ask some difficult questions, and these should be presented with as much respect and tact as possible. You will also need effective note-taking skills in this regard so that you can easily decipher all of the information and apply it to the patient’s records after the interview is completed.

Communication Skills
Communication is very important for a case manager. You will need to be able to convey ideas and information in such a way that both the patient and his or her caregivers can understand. When discussing treatments or plans with the patient, it will be important for you to use terminology that is not too difficult for the patient. Conversely, when speaking with the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals caring for that patient, you will need a solid understanding of medical terminology as well as an effective means of getting your point across.

Teaching Skills
When a patient is facing a long-term, chronic or terminal illness, they are going to have plenty of questions over a long period of time. As a case manager, it will be your duty to answer those questions as well as help to create a treatment plan that will keep the patient as healthy as possible and out of the hospital. By developing and utilizing teaching skills in the case management field, you can empower the patient to take charge of his or her condition and make the best decisions possible. By providing your clients with the information they want and need, you are helping them to make independent choices regarding their healthcare.

Critical Thinking Skills
In many cases, you will be faced with a vast amount of information about a patient and his or her condition, and you will need to sort through this information in order to come up with effective solutions for the problems the patient faces. Critical thinking is a skill that is absolutely invaluable; it will allow you to process all of the information that is presented to you in medical records and through patient interviews. This way, you can work with the patient and his or her caregivers to create a treatment plan that will keep the patient happy as well as healthy.

While all of the skills listed here are incredibly important in order to be successful as a case manager, there are other skills that should be honed, as well. These include negotiation skills, patient advocacy and perhaps even the ability to terminate your case management when your services are no longer needed.

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