How can you move your nursing career into a care coordination role?

If you've been considering moving your nursing career into a care coordination role, 2016 is the time to make it happen. Whether you're looking to become a nurse navigator, case manager or a health coach, care coordination nursing jobs tend to require more management and leadership skills than many other nursing careers. It's important that you begin to prepare for this shift in responsibilities and do everything you can to show that you're ready to take on the tasks of a care coordinator. Use these tips to get started.

Go after higher education
Have you been contemplating whether or not to advance your career with a higher nursing degree? If you haven't received your Bachelors of Science in Nursing, keep in mind that most care coordination roles require a BSN. This means that if you're a registered nurse and want to pursue a care management role, you may have a difficult time finding the job you want until you've earned your BSN or MSN. Thanks to online learning programs, you don't have to put your career on hold to attend classes. There are even online care coordination courses that are focused specifically on preparing you for this type of role with the proper skills and knowledge. 

Use local resources
Beginning your transition locally will help give you a leg up on the competition. For example, use your practice settings, local universities and professional nursing organizations to take advantage of networking opportunities. Just as it is with other professions, it's always easier to get the nursing job you're after when you know the right people.

Making connections with health professionals in your area is a good start to advancing your career.Making connections with health professionals in your area is a good start to advancing your career.

Shift your focus
Care coordinator roles are all about focusing on the patient and improving care outcomes. Therefore, in addition to advanced skills, these roles require a certain attitude and mindset.

"The push today isn't for more care but the right care, in the right place, at the right time, and to standardize care for a population with complex medical issues," Sheila Haas, Ph.D., professor at Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago explained to NurseZone. "Providing this care requires education that insures nurses have the right knowledge, skills and attitudes."

In addition to applying the knowledge and practices learned in school, care coordination positions require a good listener; someone who wants to understand patients' goals and problems, according to NurseZone. One key to meeting these standards is adapting your mindset in accordance to the healthcare industry's recent shift from the sickness model to the wellness model. 

Consider all job opportunities
As the healthcare industry continues to put a greater focus on enhanced patient care, an increasing number of care coordination roles are opening up for nurses. These cover a wide variety of specialties.

"Care coordination roles cross public and private, inpatient and outpatient, and specialty practice sectors," RN Kathy Mertens, M.P.H. told "The primary differences in these roles often include the population of focus, the practice setting and length of time the nurse coordinates the care."

Make sure you do your research and understand the difference between each role so you end up finding one that allows you to pursue your passions and put all of your hard-earned skills to good use.

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