Select programs with real-world clout

Don’t register for a bachelor’s or master’s program in case management or a related field at your local university without first making sure the program you select has some real-world application, cautions Nancy Skinner, RN, CCM, case management consultant with Riverside Healthcare Consulting in Whitewell, TN, and past president of the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) in Little Rock, AR. Here are her tips for selecting a program that will advance your career:

• Does the program follow CMSA’s "Standards of Practice for Case Management" for multidisciplinary case management?

• Have the instructors ever performed the roles and functions of case management?

• Does the program review the core functions of case management across all practice settings and health care disciplines?

• What backgrounds and credentials do the professionals and educators who developed or contributed to the core curriculum hold?

"I believe there must be a balance between skill set development and higher education," Skinner says. "Yes, we need the how-to’ knowledge, but to advance the practice of case management, we also need the validation of professional status that can only come from institutes of higher learning."