Hospital Case Management can be a remarkably rewarding career, as professionals apply their skills and experience to help individual clients navigate complex medical situations with greater success. While the field is growing fast, and recruiting efforts are ramping up, it’s important to also be ramping up retention efforts. How can your organization ensure that your top talent stays satisfied, effective, and loyal to your team for the long haul?
A Growing, but Demanding, Field
There’s no doubt that the demand for case managers is increasing rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall “medical and health services managers” job sector is projected to grow at a rate of 28% between 2021 and 2031, making it a field that is expanding “much faster than average.”
Hospital Case Management is a demanding career, though, and the healthcare challenges of the last few years have certainly increased stresses on these professionals. Retaining top talent requires a clear understanding of what challenges case managers are facing and what support they need to do their jobs, avoid burnout, and remain satisfied. Consider a few of the following questions:
- How do you support work-life balance? Without a sense of balance, Case Managers are likely to burn out, due to the mental and emotional demands of the job. Is your organization encouraging a culture of balance?
- Are your teams properly staffed? Inadequate staffing is a leading cause of burnout for healthcare professionals, who are stretched beyond limits to cover with too-small staffs. Is your organization staffing to reliable levels, or is it trying to operate with the bare minimum?
- How are achievements recognized and rewarded? Beyond celebrating work anniversaries or similar “special days,” what does your recognition program look like? A genuine sense of appreciation, with real recognition, can help boost Case Managers’ satisfaction and improve retention rates.
- Do you encourage a culture of collaboration? Case Management requires coordination and collaboration between multiple providers, patients, and loved ones. That culture of coordination needs to start on your own staff, ensuring that case managers feel fully supported, rather than left adrift.
- Do you actively seek advice and improvement? Case Managers, like any other employees, want to be heard. Does your organization actively seek out feedback and work to make shifts accordingly, or is your feedback structure more of just a formality?
Career Development and Case Management
For many healthcare professionals, case management itself is the next step in their careers. The majority of Case Managers come from roles in either nursing (typically RNs) or social work, where they have chosen to further specialize their work or advance their careers through the more specialized case management field.
Retaining talented individuals may include offering opportunities to support their pursuit of Case Management. There isn’t one, single path or licensure that Case Managers pursue. Instead, they may come to the field in a variety of ways, leaving plenty of options for organizations to offer benefits and support. That might include:
- Training and skills development opportunities
- Support (i.e., tuition reimbursement or partnerships) for continuing education
- Advice and mentorship
- Support for accreditation (CCM, ACM, CMAC, CMGT-BC, etc.)
For existing Case Managers, the key is focusing on clarity about career development paths and promotion opportunities. The pursuit of a Case Management career is often tied to an individual’s ambition to combine patient advocacy with professional advancement, so it’s important to keep those two aspects in mind when considering retention strategies. What opportunities does your organization offer for Case Managers? What different levels of work are supported? Where is Case Management represented in leadership, and where are those leaders recruited from?
All of these are key questions that top talent will want answer to before committing to a long-term career at an organization.