When I was completely burned out with doing bedside nursing in the hospital, I asked a discharge planner what she did exactly, and if she enjoyed doing it.
I left bedside nursing 11 years ago and do not regret it. Being a case manager has affored the opportunity to work regular hours (although some companies may require some "on-call" stuff) and no longer worry about working weekends or holidays. It was a great transition in that I still had contact with patients and could help them obtain the care that they needed and still utilize my nursing skills and knowledge fully.
It seems that physicians now have a better understanding of nurse case managers and their role in helping them to provide care to their patients and act as a liason between them and the payor source.
Some of the cons is having to work with clients with a long period of time. With workers comp, the time it takes to resolve an injury may take YEARS. At some point you may feel you have exhausted all your resources to help the client and it gets frustrating when you see the client developing a "disability mentality". In those instances, it's helpful to have someone else review your case to give you a fresh point of view or a "reality check". We're human, and sometimes we need a breath of fresh air to help us along every now and then.
With case management you are not just restricted to workers compensation. There are case managers doing discharge planning in the acute care setting, long-term care setting, dialysis units, home health (like Renerian), group health, and independent organizations like PPO's, IPO's and TPA's.
You also have the ability to specialize in different areas. You can obtain a certification in case management. If you enjoy work-place disability management you can specialize in occupational health nursing. Those are just a few.
All of your nursing background gives you a firm foundation to build as a case manager and grow into almost any area you find interesting.
I did disability case management for 8 years and utilization management for 3 years. It's not hard to find your niche.