By Nadine M. Carter, MBA, BSN, RN, CDMS, CCM

I have been a member of CMSA since 1996, that is a whopping 26 years!! This may be longer than some of you have been in practice. I started my case management career in 1987 working for a small private case management company. Over the course of my career, I have worked for managed care companies, hospitals, in the workers’ comp arena, the auto insurance industry, and care management staffing. Regardless of the environment that I worked in, it was important for me to engage in my professional association for networking and educational opportunities. We all know that in many cases, we learn our jobs via ‘baptism by fire. So, I found it beneficial to partner on the job training with the opportunity to speak with, and learn from, other professionals in the field who have mastered certain areas of case management. Case managers are too busy to waste time reinventing the wheel.

CMSA membership is valuable to me due to its many benefits. I can attend monthly meetings and annual conferences at the member-discounted rate. CMSA National also provides free educational webinars online. There is an abundance of educational offerings in the online educational resource library. I have free access to the Standards of Practice for Case Management, which has been recently updated in 2022. I have worked in situations where the case management department did not have a definition of case management, the case managers were just given specific tasks and expectations, such as quantity metrics as it relates to discharge planning, the number of calls per day, avoidance of readmissions, etc. but when you do not have a working definition of Case Management, in my opinion, you miss the quality component of the work you are performing.

CMSA has a newly developed Case Management Adherence & Transition of Care Guide for Clostridioides difficile, (C. diff). If you have ever worked with a patient with this diagnosis, you know that you can use all the current evidence-based treatment protocols that you can get your hands on to manage your patient appropriately. How valuable is it to know that your professional organization can provide you with tools that you may not get from your practice setting that will allow you to excel and provide quality care? Invaluable.

CMSA offers a Case Management Boot Camp for new or inexperienced case managers, an Integrated Case Management program that shows the need for collaboration between physical and behavioral health, a Motivational Interviewing course, several publications and a newsletter. I am CCM certified, so I benefit from all the educational offerings that allow me to easily maintain my 80 continuing education credits every 5 years. There is also a collaborative discount with CCMC so that I receive 20% percent discount every time I renew my certification and renew my CMSA membership!

I have been affiliated with both the NJ and NY chapters as I am originally from NY and lived in NJ. I am a Past President of the NJ chapter. I now serve as Secretary of the Atlanta, GA chapter and the National Board. I cannot even describe the friendships, networking, education and fun that I have had over the last 26 years as a member of CMSA. I have been to many states within the US as I travel to national conferences. I have connected with people via social media and various chapter websites. My membership has been invaluable to me, and I will remain a CMSA member for the foreseeable future. CMSA has several membership discounts including military, student and retiree so that even when I am fully retired, I can remain a member of CMSA! I have been fortunate to have some of my employers pay for my membership dues and meeting costs but even when they did not, I continued to advance my professional career by incurring the cost myself.

As we celebrate National Case Management Week, I want to invite you to take advantage of all that CMSA has to offer and get involved with your professional organization. If you are not a member, this is a great time to join. I promise you will not be disappointed! I hope you've been enjoying all the festivities - let's celebrate case management!

Bio: Nadine is the Consulting Director of Care Management Staffing at Global Care Management, a healthcare recruiting agency.  With 40-plus years of nursing experience and 30-plus years of case management experience, Nadine loves to serve as a mentor/coach to aspiring and/or experienced case managers. She is a Group Expert in the Facebook “Case Managers Community” page hosted by the Case Management Institute, (CMI). Nadine has extensive experience in leadership and executive roles in various areas of the healthcare industry. Nadine is the 2021-2023 Secretary of CMSA national and the Secretary of her local Atlanta, GA chapter. Nadine is a member of the Editorial Review Board for the Professional Case Management journal.

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