What's the Job Description of a Patient Care Coordinator?

Are you a nurse or social worker? Would you like to help people navigate the healthcare system and help patients get their needs met? If you enjoy helping people, keep reading to see how you can become a patient care coordinator. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Patient care coordinators are liaisons between patients and the healthcare system. As a patient care coordinator, you would ensure that patients receive the care they need and that they understand their medical condition, medications, and other instructions. You would coordinate patient-care services; coordination can help reduce costs by reducing duplication of services. As a patient care coordinator, you could work in any area of healthcare, including emergency, dental, psychiatric, and mental health. Outpatient offices, such as dentists, audiologists, ophthalmologists, and dermatologists, often hire patient care coordinators to help patients decide between and prepare for treatment options.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Similar Occupations Front office manager, medical assistant, customer service supervisor
Professional Certification The Care Coordination and Transition Management certification is available for RN patient care coordinators
Work Environment Typically in a hospital, physician's office, or nursing care facility; sometimes traveling is required
Key Skills Compassionate, respectful, team player, critical thinking skills, resourcefulness, leadership skills, emotional stability

Duties and Responsibilities

As a patient care coordinator, you will assist the care team with setting goals for quality assurance and best practices. Specific duties including assessing and screening patients as well as providing them with education about medical processes and procedures. You provide referrals for continuing care and locate community resources for patients. With input from patients, families, and the care team, you create outcome goals and an overall care plan. Some patient care coordinators may also assist with locating funding for special procedures or other patient needs.

Qualifications

Although the qualifications to become a patient care coordinator may vary vary depending upon the type of facility and care involved, almost all coordinators are trained in a specialty field related to healthcare, such as social work or nursing. Some patient care coordinator positions require that you are a licensed social worker, which means that you've completed a minimum of a bachelor's degree and that you have met the licensing requirements of your state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that social workers who work in a health setting typically have a master's degree.

You could also be a registered nurse (RN) patient care coordinator. For this position, you first need to become an RN by completing a nursing education program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). RN patient care coordinator jobs may require that you have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and have experience working as a nurse.

Although there are jobs with the title of 'patient care coordinator' that only require a high school diploma, these jobs are more about coordinating office activities than coordinating patient care. No matter your academic qualifications, you must have knowledge of healthcare delivery systems and case management.

Salary Information and Employment Projections

In June 2019, PayScale.com reported that most patient care coordinators made between $31,000 and $73,000 in total pay, which includes all earnings, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions. Your years of experience, location, job responsibilities, facility type, and level of education may be important in determining your actual salary.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to patient care coordinators, it does publish data pertinent to both registered nurses and social workers. The BLS predicts that the employment of both RNs and social workers will likely grow by about 15% and 16% (respectively) between 2016 and 2026.

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