1. Section Editor(s): Rodts, Mary Faut DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN
  2. Editor

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Case manager, utilization manager, discharge planner, nurse coordinator, nurse navigator, patient navigator ... the list goes on. The importance of a knowledgeable healthcare provider who has the skills to oversee and manage care of specific populations of patients is becoming increasingly important. As new care initiatives such as bundled payment programs evolve, the ability to manage the patient's care and costs will be imperative.

Mary Faut Rodts, DNP... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Faut Rodts, DNP, CNP, ONC, FAAN Editor

The setting for these providers varies just as the names listed earlier. This coordinator of care may be found in hospitals, accountable care organizations, physician health organizations, private practices, skilled nursing facilities, physical therapy companies... this list also goes on.


There is one extraordinary point related to this discussion. Some entities are employing project managers who have no clinical background or experience to oversee care management programs. There is no question that some skills that a traditional project manager possesses would offer a great deal to the evolving healthcare programs; however, the understanding of the clinical management is essential. The model for managing these new programs would be best developed to include individuals who have both clinical and management capabilities.


Entities that are able to see that nurses have unique skills to help manage patients in the new healthcare environment will fare far better as these new programs take shape. The concept of having nurses manage care is not new. It is a concept that we cannot diminish or lose sight of now as healthcare becomes more and more complex.


Orthopaedic nurses should be the provider of choice to manage the care of orthopaedic patients. The orthopaedic nurse has the knowledge of orthopaedic problems; the essential components of excellent care; the potential areas of concern that could impede the outcome; and an understanding of what benchmarks need to be met at the appropriate stages that will create the best possible patient outcome, are all part of what orthopaedic nurses do on a daily basis.


No matter what the job will be called, in orthopaedics, the role should be that of an orthopaedic nurse. If a care team is developed to manage this population of patients, an orthopaedic nurse must be part of that team. Now is the time to become part of that discussion within your organizations. We must be the advocate for the orthopaedic patient.