By Dr. Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM
The month of March distinguishes itself in the case management community with the designation of being National Social Work Month.
Social workers, as we all know, are an integral part of the case management team. From Mary Richmond in 1901, who published the very first model of case coordination with concern for the client as the center. This focused on a lack of communication and a lack of coordination to 1905, when the first professional social worker was hired by Massachusetts General Hospital to the present day. Today the role of the professional case manager social worker has never been more important.
Case management professionals have long known the impact of the social determinants of health on our patients/clients. Social work case managers’ knowledge of the social determinants of health, gap finding, resource provision, wholistic care coordination and providing emotional and mental health support through the continuum of care make them indispensable members of the inter-professional care team, regardless of the care setting.
The National Association of Social Workers’ theme for Social Work Month 2023 is “Social Work Breaks Barriers” to “highlight how social workers have enriched our society by empowering people and communities to overcome hurdles that prevent them from living life to the fullest ” (NASW, 2023).
My own experience with social workers in every care setting I have worked has been nothing short of incredible. Indeed, just prior to sitting down to write this blog entry, I received an email from a physician, commending one of our social workers on "going above and beyond.” The physician states,” We appreciate all of our social workers immensely, but today 'Ms. Smith' truly went above and beyond, for the patient, family, and the care team, ensuring that this patient and his family would have the support they needed to care for him during an incredibly challenging time, in a very short period of time, on a weekend.” Indeed, the epitome of Mary Richmond's patient-centered vision.
That is just the most recent of my innumerable experiences with social workers. From my professional experiences to personal experiences with hospice social workers and school social workers, please know that you are appreciated, valued and an irreplaceable part of the case management community.
Thank you for helping to make me a better case manager by sharing your insights and wisdom.
Bio: Dr. Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM, is the Associate Chief Clinical Operations Officer, Care Continuum for University of Illinois Health System, and the current President of the Case Management Society of America National Board of Directors. She has held positions in acute care as Director of Case Management at several acute care facilities and managed care entities in Illinois, overseeing Utilization Review, Case Management and Social Services for over 14 years; piloting quality improvement initiatives focused on readmission reduction, care coordination through better communication and population health management. Her current passion is around improving health literacy. She is the recipient of the CMSA Foundation Practice Improvement Award (2020) and ANA Illinois Practice Improvement Award (2020) for her work in this area. Dr. Morley also received the AAMCN Managed Care Nurse Leader of the Year in 2010 and the CMSA Fellow of Case Management designation in 2022. Her 1st book, “A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management”, published by Blue Bayou Press was released in February 2022. Dr. Morley has over 20 years of nursing experience. Her clinical specialties include Med/Surg, Oncology and Pediatric Nursing. She received her ADN at South Suburban College in South Holland, Il; BSN at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL, MSN from Norwich University in Northfield, VT and her DNP at Chamberlain College of Nursing.
In honor of Social Work Month, we have curated a selection of our most popular SW courses for you! Go to https://cmsa.org/monthlyed/ to get started!