Meet Healthcare Case Management Manager Barbara King: Nurses Key to Reinterpeted Vision of Case Management

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

This month we provide an inside look at a healthcare case management manager, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

Barbara King, BSN, RN, Co-Founder and President of NurseValue, Inc.

HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?

Barbara King: My first position was as a nurse, working the night shift on a 33-bed male urology unit. My fondest memory: an elderly man with a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) that had clotted. I entered the room prepared to irrigate his catheter, knelt beside the bed, and explained the procedure to the patient. He stopped me and said, “Please go get the real nurse, you look too young to be a nurse.” I explained that I was the ONLY nurse and he did finally agree to allow me to clear his catheter.

I spent many years in various nursing positions before I fell into the role of case management. I had grown tired of nursing and felt that the lack of staffing would eventually lead to an error that I did not want to make. I tore up my nursing license and took a position outside of the nursing field. A short time later a friend from a staffing agency called and asked me to fill an open position. She described a telephonic case management position to me. She overcame my protests of ignorance and I reported to work as a temporary employee for an insurance company that was rolling out one of the first telephonic case management pilot programs in the country. My friend at the staffing company told me just to listen, follow directions and keep quiet. She assured me that I could do the job. I received a superb orientation and began working as a telephonic case manager. I loved the work and was assured by my manager that I would soon be hired. The next thing I knew I was the supervisor of the western division of the company handing all corporate accounts. At this point, I went to my manager to ask if they had made a determination about a permanent position. She said, “I thought we already hired you. You have already been promoted.” I was hired that day and found my staffing friend was right. Listen, follow directions, keep quiet and you can do it.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.

Approximately seven years ago I grew tired of seeing case management interpreted by those who did not really understand the service. Knowing the way I wanted to perform as a case manager, it was time to make a professional change. I resigned from my corporate position on Martin Luther King’s birthday because “I had a dream”. That was the birth of NurseValue, Inc. Yes, I believe nurses have value and so does the population they serve.

In brief, describe your organization.

NurseValue, Inc. offers comprehensive custom consulting services for individuals, attorneys, managed healthcare companies, insurance companies and organizations that require field and telephonic case management, legal nurse consulting, life care planning, disability cost analysis for worker’s compensation, third party medical bill review, and Medicare set-aside allocation services.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?

  • The number one rule in both business and nursing is to always be honest.
  • Next I would say that the nursing process is useful when providing any service: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Lastly, continue to learn throughout your career as you never know when that tiny bit of information will help to solve a pressing issue.
  • What is the single most successful thing that your organization is doing now?

    NurseValue provides custom solutions to our clients. Our experience opens the door to complicated case referrals. We then use our understanding of the health system, our knowledge of health, injury and illness, and our collaborative communication process to drive cases to the most successful end point possible. Our clients appreciate the fact that we have developed a successful case management model that combines the telephonic and field case management services in a unique delivery system that provides a cost conscious solution.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?

    Healthcare is trending toward benchmarking utilizing clinical treatment guidelines. Utilizing benchmarking tools to measure success will become increasingly important to the practice of medicine and nursing.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a case manager?

    I love so much of this profession it is hard to determine what I like most. I guess, it is most satisfying when the client I am working with reaches full potential and returns to life with the tools to be successful.

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Iowa. I was an Iowa “pig farmer’s daughter”. You can take the girl to the city, but a little bit of country will always remain.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    My post-secondary education was completed at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City Iowa. If there was one time in history that I could return to it would be nursing school. So…there are so many fond memories that I could not choose just one.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    My husband and I have been married for over thirty years. We raised two sons who live out of state and visit whenever they get a free moment in their busy lives.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    My sanity is my gardening. The plants still respond to the nursing process, but they are like babies – they present with silent problems and need a lot of TLC.

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    I use to read a great deal of fiction, however now my reading is limited to professional journals. There never seems to be enough time to absorb the ever changing treatment protocols and healthcare regulations.

    Any additional comments?

    Thank you for the opportunity to express my views. When I left for nursing school, my father said, “whether you become a nurse or not, no one can ever take the knowledge away from you.” I don’t believe he realized how prophetic his comment was. Nursing enables us to advocate for our loved ones, our patients (clients), and even strangers that we meet along the way. The opportunities are endless.

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