History can tell us a lot. Through the lens of case management history, we can appreciate how our practice has evolved and what have been the sticking points along the way. We can better understand how our practice became knitted into the fabric of the health care system, and why we apply certain functions and processes of case management across different practice settings. Historical lessons captured by national case management organizations or found in the literature can help us think about how to improve the future, as well as the care we deliver today. Higher education is another good resource for honing our skills. As the complex care of patients has evolved over time, there has been growth in advanced case management education (P. Stark, 2020). Yet, not everyone has access to formal education.
Primary Practice Settings(s):
Practical knowledge gained from the experiences of other case managers is not only free but also valuable. When we are exposed to the practical experiences and advice of seasoned case managers, we create an opportunity for knowledge sharing and reverse mentoring, which can result in leadership development (S. Powell, 2013). This article provides a historical glance into the evolution of today's case management practice, as well as provides salient lessons and advice from senior case managers who share practical tips and stories for tomorrow's case management leaders. Mentors share their career-long experiences in hospital case management, rehabilitation case management, pediatric case management, military case management, and hospice case management.
Valuable lessons can be learned from reviewing case management's history that can be applied to improve current and future case management practice. Sources of information can be obtained from national organizations as well as from a review of the literature. Senior case managers who have dedicated their careers to case management can also be a vital resource, lending insights into pitfalls to avoid and best practices to implement in everyday practice.
Implications for Case Management Practice:
The case management mentors in this article have imparted the following key points to assist tomorrow's case management experts in maximizing their value:
- Case managers across practice settings need to work together to streamline services for patients, enabling patients to navigate the health care system and find appropriate resources.
- Patients' biopsychosocial needs are as important as their clinical prognosis, whether in rehabilitation or at the end of life, and will require creativity to develop an individualized care plan.
- To remain motivated in an often stressful job, case managers should celebrate one accomplishment each day and be continuously mindful of one's own well-being.
- Identify and quickly adapt any specific nuances, information, and tools required to be successful in your particular case management setting.
- No matter what rank your job places you in, be a leader within your health ecosystem, displaying professional confidence, skill, and knowledge that demonstrate the value you bring to the patient and the team.