I am so tremendously honored and grateful for the honor of being selected the Case Management Society of America’s 2020 National Case Manager of the Year. I was asked to share more about the award so here you go. The ceremony and pre-recorded acceptance speech is located here.
The following is a transcript of my acceptance speech…
I wish to thank the CMSA Awards Committee and Board of direction for this honor. You know, when I received the call from Angie Millan about this, my first question – quite honestly – was “Is this a joke?”. I think I shocked her but you have to understand that when my husband asked me to marry him, I asked him the same question.
The support of my husband Dave and my family – Patty and Glenn, Tim, Mike, Alan, Matthew, and most of all my Mom – have meant the world to me. Friends and colleagues – the list is long and I won’t be able to name them all. Hussein, Suzanne, Ellen, Lynn, Anne, and Cheri. My Dad, Patrice, and Ricardo have moved on to their next life but I feel their impact to this day. Each have given me advice or as I prefer to call them – life tips to which I still refer.
I also want to give a shout out to everyone at CMSNE and especially Maureen Ferguson. Talk about a heartbeat of case management, Maureen is the longtime executive director of the chapter and the first person I met at the very first CMSNE event I ever attended. Her warm welcome and our conversation that day set the stage for my getting involved in the chapter.
Without these wonderful people and so many more, I would not have been able to follow the path of doing what I love for the last 30ish years. So Tip #1 – Do not underestimate the importance of a smile and taking time to engage newcomers at your chapter events.
Meaningfully connecting with people has everything to do with case management. . . but not everyone is going to be your bestie, some may disagree with you for good reasons and a few may override you without any apparent reason. Those things happen but don’t let the negatives dampen your reality. That is where resilience lives. I walked away from toxic jobs and people in search of better – and you know what? I found it every time. If someone is not supporting and helping you develop as a case manager, then find someone else who will.
As much as we depend upon each other, we must also be self-starters. Tip #2 – Ultimately, your professional growth and development as a case manager is on YOU. It is up to you to get certified, to go back to school, to read the journals, and so on. If your employer does not support those things then be your own best advocate to find support but don’t let your employer be a barrier to your professional growth.
After a few years in my career, it became clear that there were many people and organizations dedicated to building up case management. I also realized that there was and is no single oracle of case management wisdom. Some of my most impactful learnings were actually from sources outside healthcare altogether. When we engage critical thinking, we will find there are many reliable sources to learn from. When we fail to critically consider sources, we hurt ourselves and quite possibly our clients. So, Tip #3 – Pursue life-long learning. Open your eyes and ears to many sources of objective, evidence-based information to improve your professional practice.
Case management is about collaboration. Tip #4 – Celebrate your victories and learn from your disappointments together. My most memorable career experiences have been the ones where the teams I serve on achieve success. Find ways to help yourself and your colleagues to do a better job. Each of us has special abilities and valuable perspectives that we can share so to coin a phrase – just do it!
We care enough about case management to attend conferences and other professional events. So Tip #5 – Don’t let your enthusiasm wane when an event ends. Events are wonderful because we come together to regenerate our energies as a force for good. So, find a way to plug into this vibrant light, especially when your days are long and things are not going according to your well-laid case management plan. When things seem most dark, turn on this light.
It is with deep gratitude that I accept this honor on behalf of all the people who collaborated with me over the years. So stay healthy and strong. Thank you all, very much.