BY, JD, MSW, LCSW/LCSW-C, CCM
As a healthcare social worker with over a decade of case management experience working with diverse populations across multiple practice settings, I have dedicated my professional efforts toward improving the health and well-being of individuals and populations who are most vulnerable. Rooted in fundamental social work theory and practice, I have embraced a multidimensional definition of health and have applied a strengths-based framework to my work and in my understanding of individual and population health and wellness. Working in medical case management, a field dominated by nursing professionals, I have also come to rely on and fully embrace interdisciplinary practice and professional collaboration in order to provide the highest quality care for our clients whose conditions and needs vary across bio-psycho-social domains of health and are increasingly complex.
In an attempt to adapt to our rapidly changing healthcare environment, I have recognized and appreciated the necessity of professional development and have sought opportunities to improve my practice whenever possible. I have developed knowledge and skills through formal continuing education and in real-life growth under the mentorship of highly skilled co-workers along the way, and have grown into my role as an advocate and problem-solver, frequently being called upon to work with clients presenting with high psychosocial complexity and those who require a well-informed and empathetic case management response. Despite many years of formal and informal professional development, I can unequivocally state that after completing the CMSA Integrated Case Management (ICM) training, I finally feel adequately prepared to utilize a shared systematic framework and language that transcends across professional disciplines in order to achieve the goal of linking and integrating care coordination across all domains of health.
As the 2020 recipient of CMSA’s ICM Training Scholarship, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to fill key gaps in my own knowledge and skills and was given a platform from which to apply these practical solutions to real-world scenarios in an interdisciplinary format that has further expanded my capacity for navigating the complexities present in the case management field. For example, over the years I have noticed practice silos present in healthcare and the field of case management, but was unclear on the way forward to improve these systems of care for the benefit of clients and professional case managers alike. Therefore, I am particularly appreciative of the distinct interdisciplinary nature of the ICM approach, which values each case manager’s professional and experiential expertise, and encourages a team-based approach to ensuring that clients’ needs are comprehensively assessed and addressed, which works to break down these professional silos. The practical concepts, skills and guiding principles offered through the ICM training have improved my ability to engage clients, assess and stratify their needs and develop comprehensive care plans to address these needs through evidence-based practice strategies. The ICM program distinctly emphasizes that we can no longer work in silos, and provides practical guidance on implementing collaborative best-practices applicable in a multitude of settings. The ICM program also provided opportunities to learn alongside and from case managers of varying backgrounds and experience levels that truly enhanced the learning experience.
The ICM program has impacted my case management practice by expanding my knowledge base and skillset in a way that prepares me to promote ongoing collaborative and multidisciplinary care in my immediate workgroup and in the field as a whole. Notwithstanding the program’s focus on evidence-based direct practice tools, I also anticipate the program supporting and influencing my long-term career goals of informing policy and leading change in the area of healthcare transformation. In particular, I am energized by the anticipated growth of ICM-trained professional case managers who will be ready to advance the improvement of patient care in this complex and currently volatile healthcare environment, where we are needed now more than ever.