By Hussein M. Tahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCM
Have you reflected lately on your leadership in and contribution to the professional practice of case management? Have you thought about your eligibility for recognition as a Fellow in case management (FCM™)? Well, the time is now. Do not procrastinate! I invite you to examine your readiness for such recognition and pursue it NOW. It is never too late to reflect on your professional practice and leadership, and to determine whether you are ready to apply for FCM recognition. Periodically, successful leaders engage in reflective thinking and pursue industry recognition at certain stages in their professional careers and leadership journey. They are usually goal-oriented, actively contribute to their professional field, innovate in their practice, support their own and others’ growth and development, and are intentional about being recognized for advancing their field of practice. Case management leaders are no exception and recognition of one’s value in an industry or discipline is characteristic of mature/advanced leadership.
The Case Management Society of America (CMSA) offers the FCM™ recognition for those who have contributed significantly to the professional practice of case management. This program is two years old and growing. I had the privilege to be recognized as an inaugural Fellow in 2021 and I advocate for other accomplished leaders to pursue such an honor. Achieving the FCM status is a testament to someone’s profound contribution to, and impact on, the field – regionally, nationally, and sometimes even internationally. My fellow honorees of the past two years (all twelve of them so far) represent a diverse community of thought leaders from across the continuum of health and human services, who have assumed active roles in the field, and have advanced the practice in many ways, such as:
- Forecasting the future of case management,
- Identifying key issues affecting the practice and addressing them,
- Implementing innovative case management models,
- Contributing to the science of evidence-based case management practice,
- Serving the community and advocating for the public’s best interest,
- Advancing the standards of case management practice,
- Disseminating their work through publications and presentations, and/or
- Mentoring others, especially the next generation of professional case managers.
Fellows in case management are leaders who push boundaries, challenge the status quo, are confident with their stature in the industry, inspire transformation, and are often engaged in scholarly activities. They are accountable for their own and others’ ongoing professional growth and advancement. They are also committed to expanding case management knowledge through research and innovation to ultimately enhance quality, safe, and cost-conscious outcomes for those served. Additionally, FCMs are recognized as visionary and inspiring leaders of the case management community, champions of the profession, strategic thinkers, mentors, published authors, educators, speakers, volunteers, award recipients, and facilitators of necessary change and transformation. They are passionate about serving professional case management societies, other practitioners, and the community at large.
I am confident there are many professional case management leaders in the field who are currently ready for FCM recognition. I am sure some are reading this blog and wondering whether to apply or reflecting on their eligibility. I encourage you all to prepare and submit your application; detailed information is accessible at https://cmsa.org/cm-fellow/; and the current application cycle ends on January 13, 2023. The qualification criteria are as follows:
- Hold a case management certification from a nationally recognized certifying body.
- Be a current member of CMSA for the most recent five (5) years.
- Minimum of ten (10) years in the professional practice of case management.
- Possess professional licensure or hold an advanced health and human services degree.
The online application process consists of 5 sections. These focus on your leadership, and contribution to and impact on the professional practice of case management.
- Section 1 focuses on key demographic information, evidence of professional licensure and case management certification, and membership in CMSA.
- Section 2 addresses leadership and innovation. Here as a candidate, you may showcase your leadership roles in professional societies, including CMSA; volunteer activities in service of the public highlighting your impact on the community you serve; professional employment history and formal leadership roles you have assumed with a special focus on those that have had a lasting impact on the innovative practice of case management; mentoring of other case managers and your contribution to the development of the next generation of case managers; and anticipating the necessary changes in case management practice (e.g., care models, standards); and leading transformation activities to charter the continued evolution of the practice.
- Section 3 presents an opportunity to highlight your scholarship activities and key contributions. Here you are asked to “brag” about your value in the field of case management and the journey of becoming known as a valuable leader. You are encouraged not to hold back, but rather to share your extensive contribution and impact as a recognized leader. You are to explain how your scholarly activities have impacted/advanced the profession. For example, describe your roles in the areas of practice, teaching, research, health and public policy, patient advocacy, accreditation, practice standards, and organizational boards. Additionally, you may reference the publications of your original work and presentations at regional or national forums.
- Section 4 requests a personal statement as a candidate. Write a statement that illustrates your commitment to the field of case management. As an established leader your value, contribution, and impact continue beyond being recognized as FCM. Therefore, here is the opportunity for you to share your continued professional goals and commitments, how you will inspire others to follow in your footsteps, and how you plan to remain in service and contribution to professional case management.
- Section 5 asks for an essay explaining “WHY” becoming an FCM is important. Describing your FCM why is as important as the rest of the application. Here, be vulnerable in articulating what FCM means to you; courageous in how you will use the FCM credential in furthering the field; and inspiring in identifying goals you aspire to achieve and delineating your ongoing commitment to supporting others in their growth, advancement, recognition, leadership, innovations, and practice transformation.
I have heard the misconception that FCM candidates are required to have assumed formal national leadership roles in CMSA. I tell you that is a mere misconception. I myself have not assumed formal CMSA board roles; however, I have served the society in different capacities such as committee chair or member of practice standards development taskforces. Your involvement in CMSA is an example of service to case management and not a primary evaluative criterion for FCM recognition. As you see described in this blog, the comprehensive application allows you to describe your professional case management practice holistically. The peer review committee will examine your full application and determine your qualification and readiness for FCM recognition based on your significant contribution to the practice of case management. Your contribution may be in the areas of leadership, innovation, scholarship, community volunteerism, professional service, and/or value to the industry.
Becoming an FCM was a humbling experience to me and my colleagues who have been recognized so far. I am confident it will also be humbling to you. I encourage you, those established leaders in case management, to pursue such recognition. Those of us who are FCMs, let us continue to serve our professional practice, lead it to a brighter future, transform it for impactful outcomes, expand its body of knowledge, and disseminate our innovative practices and scholarly activities. And those who may not be ready yet for this recognition, add FCM to your professional goals – as Gary Wolfe said, “(i)f you are growing in your career, use the criteria for becoming a Fellow to guide you so at some point you too might become a Fellow” (Wolfe, 2022, P 36).
Case Management Society of America (CMSA). Case Management Fellow Program – FCMTM. Available at https://cmsa.org/cm-fellow/.
Wolfe, G. (December 2022/January 2023). Becoming an FCM–A Fellow in Case Management. Care Management, Vol. 28, No 5: 2 & 36.
Bio: Hussein M. Tahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCM is the system vice president of nursing professional development & workforce management and chief nursing officer for ambulatory services at MedStar Health, Columbia, MD. Hussein was recognized as a Case Management Fellow in 2021 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.