By Hussein M. Tahan, PhD, RN, FAAN

Chair, CMSA Membership Committee

As you celebrate National Case Management Week this year, I invite you to engage in three strategic activities (3Rs): Reflect, Recognize, and Re-envision. These should provide you with opportunities to continue to grow your professional stature in the industry and to advance your career and the impact of your role on the health of the individuals and community you serve. We have been recognizing case management annually for over three decades. Each time, we acknowledge and celebrate an area of special impact case managers had that year on their professional practice and the health and human service outcomes of the people they cared for.

This year, the theme is “Navigating the journey to health.” Indeed, our recent experiences with the global pandemic (COVID-19), which has remained a concern for nearly two years, have been unprecedented. Our contributions as professional case management practitioners and leaders have also been unique, deliberate, and invaluable in advancing people’s health and wellbeing.

We have:

  • Replaced long-standing silos with seamless and impactful partnerships across the continuum of health and human services – vertically and horizontally – while putting aside competition, protection for intellectual property, and concerns for divulging innovative/transformative practices.
  • Truly practiced person-centered care and paid close attention not only to the needs of those who have appropriate health insurance plans or can afford healthcare services but to those who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, uninsured (and underinsured) and historically under-represented, as well.
  • Embraced the expeditious use of disruptive health technology and developed a sense of comfort in the provision of case management services in non-traditional settings – those to which we had thought would take us several years before we transition to in the provision of some essential health and human services: tele-case management, virtual clinic and home visits, home-based monitoring, remote consultations with specialty healthcare providers, and virtual interdisciplinary care rounding – to cite a few.

We experienced these and numerous other advances – all for the betterment of society and the people we serve. However, despite these enhancements, there continues to be a greater need to address the concerns of health equity, social justice, systemic racism, and timely access to health and human services. Therefore, as professional case managers, we must continue to support every person in “Navigating the journey to health” rather than stopping at celebrating what we have achieved the past year. I invite you to engage in reflection, recognition, and re-envisioning to recalibrate your professional case management journey going forward.

Hussein Tahan


Reflection is the activity of carefully and thoughtfully revisiting something that has already occurred to understand its context, meaning, characteristics, value, and impact. It is also an act of introspection; that is, the self-examination or observation of one’s mental (thoughts), emotional (feelings), and behavioral (actions) processes surrounding a specific aspect of life – for example, professional case management practice. We reflect to gain a deeper appreciation for what we have done and achieved, but also for where we ought to journey next.

For reflection, I encourage you to evaluate the state of your practice as a professional case manager during the past year (or the most recent years). Here, perhaps you may examine the state of:

  • Your knowledge, skills, and competencies for practice. What is current and optimal; what aspects need refreshing; what new practices you have not yet adopted; what changes you must adapt to or develop confidence in.
  • Outcomes of your practice – the impact of your role and responsibility on the people you have cared for individually and collectively. Where and how have you have been successful and effective? Where are you lagging? And how will you seek to address the gaps you identify?
  • Support you have in your environment that helps you advance your professional practice and stature. For example, have you been working with a specific mentor or coach? Where and how have you been accessing current evidence and innovations for the necessary advancement of your practice? Do you belong to a professional association or society such as the Case Management Society of America (CMSA)? Why not, and what are you waiting for?


Recognition is an adjunct to and outcome of reflection. It is the act of noticing, accepting, or acknowledging that something or someone exists and knowing its state, merit, or quality – regardless of whether optimal or suboptimal; favorable or unfavorable. Recognition is the identification of a need for praise and admiration or the act of agreeing with the need for improvement, continued evolution, or transformation. It helps raise your awareness as a professional case manager to:

  • The condition and quality of your practice and the outcomes of the health and human services you provide to the people you serve. For example, when you engage in effective reflection, you recognize whether your practice is current, innovative, meeting the needs of your clients, or in need of further growth and advancement.
  • Your contribution toward client and organizational outcomes whether clinical, financial, care experience or reputation in the community.
  • Your engagement in the practice and your role in its advancement – innovation, scholarship, association membership, public or health policy, and so on.

Recognition is a time to pause and celebrate your achievements, value, and status as a professional case manager. This case management week, I invite you to do just that; celebrate your practice and being a stand for everyone receiving the best and timely health and human services they deserve, especially in this past year of global pandemic challenges. I also urge you to identify the areas of your practice (knowledge, skills, competencies) that will benefit from continued improvement, growth, advancement, or transformation. Additionally, I ask to be concrete about where and how you can address these gaps; for example, are you taking advantage of what CMSA offers? What are you waiting for? Act urgently!


Envisioning is imagining or picturing a bright, successful, and valuable future for one’s life purpose and/or that of others. Re-envisioning on the other hand is an act of examining the state of a person’s already established life purpose or intention (or a specific aspect of one’s life such as professional role and career) for the deliberate task of recharging, recalibrating, revising, or reimagining. It is pausing to revisit where one is and what has been achieved relevant to the articulated vision, goals, or purpose, and to ultimately decide about specific aspects that will benefit from intentional change and refresh.

I invite you as you celebrate the National Case Management Week, to re-envision your commitment to professional case management practice. You can do so by:

  • Examining your current state as compared to your vision, purpose, and goals.
  • Identifying different or renewed ways of exercising your role and responsibility to improve or transform them to meet current and future demands. Set yourself up for long-term relevance and success.
  • Updating your professional practice goals and career plan while considering anticipated changes in the industry/field.

A Manageable Call to Action

When done effectively, reflection, recognition and re-envisioning should result in an individualized action plan for the professional case manager. The action plan must also identify a clear and concrete vision, purpose, goals, expectations, and key milestones, deliverables, and measures to evaluate the success of the plan. Since these activities present the case manager with an opportunity for professional renewal, continued growth and advancement, the benefits of the CMSA member come in handy. Take advantage of these benefits. They support you in remaining relevant in your practice to ultimately affect desirable outcomes for the people and communities you care for. CMSA member benefits are diverse. For example:

  • Networking with chapter leaders and other members, locally, regionally, and nationally.
  • Seeking a mentor to support you in your ongoing growth and career progression; or becoming a mentor to a professional case manager colleague.
  • Accessing evidence-based practice guidelines; for example, health literacy and adherence to health regimens.
  • Availability of textbooks, journal articles, or training programs at discounted rates; for example, CMSA’s Core Curriculum for Case Management, Integrated Case Management, motivational interviewing, or local and national conferences.
  • Educational Resource Library with educational resources available anytime, anywhere.
  • Continuing education credits you can use toward specialty certification or licensure renewal.
  • Diverse types of membership and discounted annual dues.
  • Publishing in professional case management journals; opportunity to share your innovations and scholarly activities for the benefit of fellow case managers and the people they care for.
  • Engaging in political activities where you can join fellow public/health policy experts in their efforts to advance the health status of people and communities.

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HUSSEIN M. TAHAN, PhD, RN, FAAN is the System VP of nursing professional development and workforce planning at MedStar Health, Columbia, Maryland. In this role Hussein drives innovation in nursing professional development and workforce planning in support of over 8,400 professional nurses. Hussein also plays a leadership role in the implementation of clinical care transformation initiative – the Interdisciplinary Model of Care and contemporary primary nursing across the MedStar Health hospital entities. Hussein has over 25 years of experience in acute care services, having worked in a variety of settings and healthcare systems. He is known in the industry for his scholarly contribution to professional case management practice. He is a past commissioner and chair of the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC); a member of the editorial advisory board of the Professional Case Management journal, and a peer reviewer for 2 other nursing journals. Hussein has a strong publication, public speaking, and research record in case management, care coordination and transitions of care. He is a coauthor of three textbooks including the CMSA’s Core Curriculum for Case Management, 3rd Edition, and is the knowledge editor of CCMC’s peer-reviewed Case Management Body of Knowledge online portal. He has participated on various national taskforces on a variety of healthcare issues. Hussein is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. He is a two-time recipient of the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award; the Award of Excellence in reviewing from the Nursing Outlook journal, and the 2016 CMSA Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to professional case management practice. Hussein holds a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing from Columbia University, a Master of Science in nursing administration from the College of Mount St. Vincent both in New York, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon.