AIM. This paper is a report on the concept of role confusion as it applies to nurse case management.
BACKGROUND. Nurse case managers (NCMs) play an important role in the delivery of quality health care. There has been considerable discussion and debate as to the exact role of the NCM. Research has not produced a conceptual model for the NCM. A clear and concise definition of the role of the NCM is not available from published literature.
METHODS. This analysis was conducted using the Walker and Avant method. Literature searches were conducted using Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health, ProQuest, PsychInfo, PubMed, Academic Search Premier, and ERIC. Time line covered the period of 1980–2010.
FINDINGS. Based on the analysis, role confusion occurs when there is no clear set of expectations for the NCM. Organizations have created positions that often are not patient centered and underutilize the nursing aspect. Nursing literature does not report significant investigation of the phenomena of role confusion in nurse case management.
CONCLUSION. There needs to be a conceptual model for the role of the NCM. A skill set designated exclusively to nurses who practice case management would emphasize the patient–nurse relationship and provide clarity of the role and function of NCMs.