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  1. Tahan, Hussein M. PhD, RN
  2. Watson, Annette C. RN-BC, CCM, MBA
  3. Sminkey, Patrice V. RN


Purpose: The purpose of this national role and function study was to identify the essential activities and necessary knowledge areas for effective case manager practice from the perspective of those currently functioning in various care settings and across diverse professional disciplines.


Primary Practice Setting(s): The national study covered all case management practices and/or work settings across the full continuum of health care.


Methodology and Sample: This cross-sectional descriptive study used the practice analysis method and online survey research design. It employed a purposive sample of case managers, in which 52,370 individuals received an invitation to participate. Data collection completed over a 4-week period, resulting in 7,668 useable survey responses (nearly a 15% response rate).


Results: The study identified the common activities and knowledge areas necessary for competent and effective performance of case managers, as is highlighted in this article, which is the first of a 2-part series on the role and function study. The results informed the needed update of the test specifications for the Certified Case Manager (CCM) certification examination, as will be delineated in Part 2 of the article series, to ensure that it continues to be substantiated in current practice. Of special note are the emergence of specific activity and knowledge domains in the area of case management ethical, legal, and practice standards, and an increase in the number of employers requiring certified case managers to fill vacant positions and compensating them financially for such qualifications.


Implications for Case Management Practice: This study helps keep the CCM credentialing examination evidence-based and maintain its validity for evaluating competency of case managers. Specifically, the study identified essential activities and knowledge domains that define competent case management practice. Findings can be used for developing programs and curricula for the training and development of case managers. The study instrument also can be used for further research of case management practice.