Nurse Liaison Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a nurse liaison career? Read on to see real job descriptions, salary info and career prospects to find out if this career is the right choice for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Nurse Liaison Career

Nurse liaisons, also called liaison nurses, serve as contacts between healthcare staff, patients, patient families and insurance companies. Check out some pros and cons to see if a nurse liaison career might work for you:

Pros of a Nurse Liaison Career
Above-average salary (about $66,640 median annual earnings as of May 2014)*
High growth field (19% employment increase projected during 2012-2022)*
Provides many different opportunities to advocate for patients during their time of need**
Can work in variety of facilities across the nation, including hospitals and urgent-care facilities*

Cons of a Nurse Liaison Career
Licensure required to practice*
Work may include nights or weekends*
The need to meet health insurance deadlines can create stress**
Susceptibility to medical malpractice actions if patient care goes awry**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Nursing Journal

Essential Career Info

Job Description

A nurse liaison's role is to facilitate communication among various parties at a healthcare facility. Specifically, the liaison advocates for a patient's needs by talking to doctors, insurance companies and the patient's family. Nurse liaisons typically work in long-term care, hospice or rehabilitation facilities as well as in hospitals. One of their main job tasks is assessing whether patients will benefit from a stay in the facility.

In this position, you work to build relationships with healthcare staff so that you can provide the best care for and information to your patients. Depending on the facility in which you work, you may have nighttime, weekend or holiday shifts. Because this is a communication-based job, much of your time may be spent on the phone, and you may sometimes be responsible for meeting insurance companies' deadlines for providing patient information to determine the type of care necessary for treatment.

Salary Info and Career Prospects

Although salary figures specifically for nurse liaisons are unavailable, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, in May 2014, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of about $66,640, and that licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a median salary of about $42,490 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projects a 19% increase in employment for registered nurses during the 2012-2022 decade, which is much faster than average. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that there is a nursing shortage, which may lead to increased job opportunities in this field.

Education and Licensing Requirements

To work as a nurse liaison, you must be either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The difference between the two designations is established by the types of clinical procedures you are permitted to perform, which varies from state to state. To become an RN, you can enroll in a 1-year diploma, 2-year associate's degree or 4-year bachelor's degree program. To become an LPN, you can enter a 1-year certificate program. All of these nursing programs combine classroom learning with supervised clinical experience.

Licensure

After completing your nursing program, you sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses or the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses, depending on your level of education. Your license must be maintained by completing a certain number of hours of continuing education every few years. Be sure to check with your board of nursing for rules and regulations specific to your state.

Skills

As a liaison nurse, your communication skills are important. You should feel comfortable talking on the phone as well as dealing with patients and their families, who may not agree on certain issues. A calm, compassionate manner is also helpful for this career. Finally, you should also have enough computer skills to allow you to input patient information and send it to insurance companies.

What Employers Are Looking For

Job postings for nurse liaison positions usually mention what type of nursing license and experience the company seeks in applicants. Some postings mentions that travel is involved. These summaries of job postings found in June 2012 provide an idea of what some employers look for:

  • A hospital in Michigan sought a part-time nurse liaison with an RN license and previous experience in marketing or working in a nursing home. Strong assessment, communication and computer skills were necessary.
  • A rehabilitation center in California wanted to hire a clinical nurse liaison with an RN or LPN license and two years of experience. The position required some travel.
  • A long-term care facility in Maryland sought a nurse liaison for the surrounding area in a position that required traveling most of the day. The company preferred to hire someone with an RN license and one year of experience, but would consider LPNs with two years of experience.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Because a nurse liaison position involves some marketing as well as nursing skills, you may want to take courses in marketing while completing your nursing degree program. Part of your job could include promoting your facility, so knowledge of how to get the word out about your company would also be beneficial. In addition to marketing classes, you may want to complete computer classes so that you feel comfortable inputting data, emailing and using various industry-specific programs.

Other Careers to Consider

If you enjoy working with people, but want a career with more hands-on patient care, you might consider a career as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists clean patients' teeth and educate them about proper dental hygiene. You can begin working as a dental hygienist after completing an associate's degree program in the field. The BLS reports that, as of May 2011, dental hygienists, who have a projected employment growth of 38% during 2010-2020, made a median annual salary of about $69,000.

If you'd like to work in healthcare in an administrative role, but don't want to go to nursing school, you could become a medical assistant. Medical assistants take patient histories, help with physicals, make appointments and generally help out in a physician's office. You can start working as a medical assistant after completing some on-the-job training. The BLS projects a 31% employment increase for medical assistants, who made a median annual salary of about $29,000 as of May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
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    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor - Nursing Practice
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
      • MS - Nursing - Nursing Education
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
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    4. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
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    5. Loyola University New Orleans

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • MSN to DNP
      • MSN to DNP - Nurse Practitioner
      • MSN to DNP - Executive Nurse Leader
    Master's
      • RN to MSN
      • RN-MSN Bridge
      • MSN - Nursing Leadership
      • RN to MSN - Nursing Leadership
      • RN-MSN Bridge - Nursing Leadership
      • MSN - Nurse Educator
    Bachelor's
      • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
      • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
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    9. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
    Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

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Herzing University

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Associate of Science - Medical Assisting Services
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor - Nursing Practice
  • MS - Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • BS - Nursing (RN to BSN completion)

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration

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Loyola University New Orleans

  • MSN to DNP
  • RN to MSN
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

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Keiser University

  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

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Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
  • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)

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Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

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