Note: This blog entry was originally begun over two months ago. It was just after CM Week and the tone of the piece was a bit more on the celebratory side. But something held me back from posting it and then it continued to gnaw at the back of my mind… but I just could not put a finger on it. Anyway, I decided not to publish it, hoping that in a week’s time I could mull things and perhaps edit the piece to be sure I covered the points that I was looking to make. Needless to say, I had a lot more mulling over to do than I anticipated! But the time was well-spent (I hope). So after a little bit of updating and as the new year approaches, here you have it!
On a recent walk-through a telephonic case management department, I observed a lot of people busy conducting calls, at their computers occupied with administrative tasks. I looked closer and noticed there were not many smiling faces and the tones of voice belied annoyance more than encouragement. I stopped myself from going off the cliff of passing judgment without having all the facts and continued to look around. I saw an obvious common trait which was that every one of the group of thirty (30) was white, immediately followed by the realization that all were women. The age range fell into place, pretty much on a bell curve
- 2 — 20-somethings
- 5 — in the 30-ish range
- 7 — in their 40s
- 12 — in the 50th decade
- 4 — looked to be closing in on retirement
Oh and one other detail that was impossible to ignore, two-thirds of the case managers were significantly overweight.
As I have talked to case managers across the country, oft cited reasons for going into a healthcare profession have been “I want to make a difference”, “I want to work with people”, or “I want to take care of people”. Admirable sentiments that echo my own motivation for going into nursing … oh so long ago. But, two factors have been taking a toll on the aging (yes, I said aging) case management workforce, years of caring for patients, and often family members too and the sedentary nature of many of our jobs. Both are taking their toll on us.
Now, I’m not pointing the finger at everyone else but not accepting accountability for my own life-long struggle with weight. Quite the contrary! Gaining a better understanding of my own challenges is why I consider the current state of our workforce to be approaching critical mass. As we continue case managing our clients and caring for our children, parents, and in some cases significant others… and as we continue to age… and as some of us head down a path of physical decline, we would be remiss if we did not take a hard look and consider that case management may not be perceived as a particularly inviting profession to pursue.
This got me thinking… perhaps the impression we give off is one of the reasons why it seems to be such a challenge to attract younger people to the case management workforce? I think the time come for our community to examine itself and decide what the next steps should be in relation to our health, wellness, and career development as well as consider the implications of case management’s professional survival is concerned?
In future posts, I do hope to cover some of the issues I believe must be considered as case management continues to mature. I will also be doing a bit of informal surveying in order to validate with my case management contemporaries.
I propose that now is exactly the right time to look at the landscape before us… and I willingly take up the challenge – – – will you?
Yours in case management,
and if you have a moment… please participate in this brief survey
Case Managing Ourselves Initiative survey -> http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B98BT78