By Dr. Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCM

My involvement with CMSA has yielded such incredible experiences that have enhanced not only my professional practice but also my personal life.  Allow me to explain.

We all have people we look up to, admire, and even idolize. Sometimes we are lucky enough to meet them and let them know the impact they made on us and our lives, and sometimes life works in very strange ways that open our eyes to opportunities we never would have thought existed.

In 2017, I was invited to be part of a panel presentation with my CM colleague in Chicago, Kathleen Moriarty, at a Readmission Reduction Conference hosted by Dr. Josh Luke. I met Dr. Luke at the CMSA National Conference the summer prior, gave him my card, and thought nothing more of it - until he emailed me the invitation.  “Pretty cool,” I thought, given that I was relatively new to public speaking.

Until I arrive at the conference…and who is the opening speaker?  Dr. Eric Coleman!  Co-creator of Project RED from Boston University Medical Center. The same Project RED that I had based my MSN project on and my DNP project that was, at that time, underway. This was a huge moment for me and was I cool, calm, and collected? The epitome of a professional? NO! I totally fangirled the moment (& Kathy has the pictures). The words did not come out organized and coherent but rather, a gush of how awesome Project RED was and what a thrill it was to meet him.

Fast forward to 2023, when I am approached to participate in another panel presentation on readmission reduction, this time in Boston, MA.  And who is one of the panelists? Dr. Brian Jack, the other half of the Project RED creation team. I will admit that having had time to get used to the idea of being in the same room as him, I was much smoother and more professional, but I still mentioned that I was a huge fan of his work. I have pictures too!

And now we come to the CMSA National Conference, coming to Las Vegas, NV in June 2023 - an opportunity to meet the third of the big three who impacted my MSN/DNP projects… Dr. Jean Watson!  While Project RED was the practical framework of my projects, Dr. Watson’s Caring Theory was the heartbeat of my work. Thankfully, I’ve had a full six months to prepare myself to meet her, and I promise that I will be calm, cool and collected (onstage).

These are just a few of my case management/professional heroes… now let’s talk about the beauty of CMSA, in that you get to meet your heroes, learn from them, be mentored by them, and become friends and collaborators. Heroes like Nancy Skinner, Dr. Lynn Muller, June Stark, Dr. Jose Alejandro-White, Dr. Charlie White, Deanna Cooper, Anne Llewellyn, and Dr. Ellen Fink-Samnick come to mind immediately. Each has had a profound impact on my practice; each has made themselves available to learn from and mentor; and I have the great honor of calling each of them friend.  It’s all because of the connections I have made through CMSA.  And there are so many more…the list goes on and on. The beauty of CMSA is that we are all one community, coming together to learn from each other, support each other, and promote the practice of case management for the benefit of our patients/clients/members.

For more on mentorship, don't miss Deanna Gillingham, RN, CCM presenting at the 2023 CMSA Annual Conference in Las Vegas with the concurrent session “All Aboard the Mentorship” Wednesday, June 28th, 2023, 2:00 – 3:00 PM. This session will look at various ways you can impact the profession of case management through mentorship. You will walk away with tools and tactics to make mentoring easy, fun, impactful, and rewarding. Explore more #CMSA2023 sessions in the conference schedule and then register to secure the early bird rate:

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.