10 Productivity Busting Tips for Nurse Case Managers

Most nurse case managers have a daily or weekly production standard to meet. While, this can be frustrating, it is a necessary evil. Learn 10 Productivity Busting Tips that you can put into your case management practice today. Specialties Case Management Article


  • Workforce Development Columnist
    Specializes in Workforce Development, Education, Advancement.
10 Productivity Busting Tips for Nurse Case Managers

Nurse case managers produce results. They manage a caseload of patients with unique healthcare needs. The nurse case manager must be uniquely attuned to patient needs, even between visits.

Most companies that employ nurse case managers create a method of measuring productivity. This may be clients seen/called per day, week or month. It may be the number of case management plans updated per day, amount of time you are on the phone each day, or any other tangible way to measure the nurse's work.

While this can be a frustrating measurement for many nurses, it is a necessary evil. We must meet productivity expectations while finding creative ways to bond with our patients and meet patient outcomes.

10 Tips for Busting Your Productivity

1. Manage Your Time

Most nurses fancy themselves to be great multitaskers. In reality, most of us are not that great at it

The biggest waste of time for many case manager is getting stuck in the weeds of tasks! Do you jump in and out of emails all day? Do you check the latest notification that popped up in your queue? Fight the urge. Schedule your time and stick to your schedule.

2. Schedule Regular Breaks

Your brain needs a break. Block off time on your calendar and take a break. When we work in small bursts of time with frequent breaks, we are more productive.

During your break, take a walk, do a little chair, yoga or some light stretching. According to Psychology Today, breaks can replenish the psychological costs

associated with working hard, improve work performance and boost energy.

3. Use Templates

Before becoming a nurse case manager, I hated templates. Now, I create templates whenever possible. Don't get me wrong, I do not advocate "cookie-cutter" documentation. Use the template to give you the "bones" of the note. Individualize the template with details specific to your patient.

4. Develop a Routine

Case Managers are busy. Once the day begins, it may be difficult to complete all your tasks. Start and end your day the same way every day. Whether you start with emails, voicemails or a little research, do it the same way every day.

At the end of the day, plan for the next day. Take a quick look at your queue to see what you have and move visits around if needed. Taking 5-10 minutes at the end of each day will be time well-spent.

5. Bookmark Your Go-To Resources

Whether you are on a desktop, laptop or mobile device, make sure you bookmark your go-to resources. This helps save keystrokes and time.

6. Take Control of Your Queue

I have seen many nurses allow their queue to work them. It must be the other way around. Don't over-schedule yourself.

If anything, under schedule and then work ahead. If your queue is anything like mine, once you get behind it takes great effort to get it back under control.

7. Know Your Policies

This takes practice and intention. If you are new to case management or have new policies, read them!

You are accountable to them, so build time into your day to ensure you understand all policies. If something is unclear, ask for clarification. It is better to ask up front than to have points deducted in your monthly audits.

8. Never Let Goals Expire

Okay, never may be a little strong. But, strive to update all case management goals 1-2 days before they expire.

This is best practice. You want to give yourself and the patient time to develop a collaborative best case management plan. This may require calls to other healthcare professionals or community organizations.

Start working on the plan a few days before it is due so that you have some cushion-time built into your calendar.

9. Use Technology to Stay Organized

Many electronic medical records keep track of appointments and tasks. Others require you to create your own system to stay organized. Here are a few of my personal favorite tech go-to's are:

  • Google Calendar - Keep appointments and notes that make each patient visit a bit easier.
  • OneNote -This is my go-to for organizing templates, policies, procedures and job aides at my fingertips for easy copy/paste abilities.
  • Google Keep -This is great for lists, tips, goals and other handy information that may change often.

10. Batch Related Tasks

One of the greatest productivity boosters is to batch similar tasks together. This allows you to quickly complete multiple tasks at one time and increase your productivity in a short amount of time.

Productivity can be difficult. It takes time to get a system down that works for you. Do you have other go-to productivity boosters that help you surpass your goals each day? Comment below!

Workforce Development Columnist

Melissa Mills is a nurse who is on a journey of exploration and entrepreneurship. She is a healthcare writer who specializes in case management and leadership. When she is not in front of a computer, Melissa is busy with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a fat cat named Little Dude.

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