Director, Case Management
As the manager of case management at South Shore Hospital, Susan's job requires nursing skills, business skills, and an understanding of care after hospitalization.
“Case management is a nursing-focused specialty. We evaluate our patients' clinical needs in the hospital – and assist them in planning their rehabilitation or home care needs following hospitalization,” Susan explains.
Another way she thinks about her role is as a patient “navigator,” moving patients efficiently and cost-effectively from admission to discharge. Case managers not only address clinical issues, but must be very well-versed with regulatory and insurance requirements as well.
“Our goal is to help our patients achieve good health outcomes in the shortest amount of time possible,” Susan says. Doing that successfully, she says, requires a strong clinical background, outstanding communication skills, and an ability to judge how long a person should be in the hospital.
From the outcomes measured, Susan and her staff do an outstanding job. Their success is reflected in low average lengths of patient stay, as well as low rates of hospital readmission among patients who have recently left the hospital.
After earning her BS in nursing at Northeastern, Susan began her clinical career in cardiac intensive care, and progressed through a variety of positions at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she worked for 13 years. She started working in cardiac telemetry at South Shore Hospital after she left the Brigham and has been in Case Management for the past 7 years. Susan has worked at South Shore Hospital for 19 years.
In some organizations, Case Management works more closely with the finance department than the nursing department. Not so at South Shore Hospital.
“Our team is part of the fabric of nursing services,” Susan explains. “Each case manager works in a specific nursing unit, to promote teamwork and collaboration. Part of nursing is preparing patients to be discharged. We’re always available to help nurses assess that aspect of our patients’ care.”
Recognizing that in case management, nursing and business go hand in hand, Susan is navigating her own career by working on a master’s in management program at Emmanuel College.
While it can be challenging, Susan says case management is a great career path for nurses who are interested in applying financial and clinical skills to optimize patient care and hospital operations.
“Case Management is a non-traditional career path,” she says. “But it’s ideal for people who like to think globally.”
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