By Amy Chartier, BA, MSN, RN, CMGT-BC, Janet Gould, RN, BSN, CCM, CHC, Mindy Owen, RN, CRRN, CCM, FCM

Patient advocate, multi-tasker, knowledgeable, nurse, social worker, efficient, mediator, mentor and educator are all words one can use to describe a case manager. They are most definitely building blocks to a more advanced case manager role.

However, do those words change when a case manager takes on a leadership position? Definitely not. We would place emphasis on the descriptors knowledgeable and mentor, maybe putting them in bold with CAPITAL letters, some confetti — ok, maybe not confetti, but keep the caps and the bold! It can be challenging to get hired for a leadership position in any career, yet there may be some words of wisdom from those that have been leaders. In which case, the question arises: What does it take to get promoted in the case management world?

We would suggest that case managers are leaders in whatever practice or position they hold. Informal leadership is crucial to the success of managing a Plan of Care. Today, as case managers, we are part of patient care teams, revenue cycle teams, quality and risk management teams, transition of care teams and community healthcare systems. It is up to us to assist in the fiscal sustainability of healthcare as we keep our eye on the quality care that our healthcare systems provide. To that end, we believe that we are all leading by our actions, our presence, our expertise and our passion. As the old adage goes – “You can’t make a second first impression.”

If you aspire to a specific leadership role in case management, it’s never too early to prepare as you step down the path towards that goal. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it but taking the initiative to take your first step is really all it takes!

A very beneficial, yet surprisingly simple suggestion – get involved! Sometimes, that means within your own organization: joining a committee, leading an initiative, bringing forward ideas and suggestions that may help a workflow or task at hand. You can also get involved outside of your organization by joining a professional organization, then stepping forward as a committee or board member. That allows your voice to be heard, stretches your organizational skills, builds professional awareness and exposes you to other ideas and ways to practice.

A professional mentor may be another helpful tool in your toolbox. It’s amazing what we can learn when observing and listening to others. You may already have a professional mentor, but if not, specifically seek a mentor and ask if they will help guide you toward a specific goal, which can be so helpful! Their advice, knowledge and, at times, doors opening can help take you to the next level, no matter what that “next level” may be for you.

Leading takes knowledge and confidence as to what YOU bring to the table — we challenge all of us to bring our unique expertise to the table with confidence and professionalism and we will be seen and sought after as leaders in healthcare.

Ready to get serious about leadership?

Register for the 4-Hour CE #CMSA Leadership Workshop - the exclusive pre-conference session at the 2023 CMSA  Annual Conference, June 27-30 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas!

Being a leader can be rewarding but can also be challenging, especially with the current turbulence and uncertainty in health care. The most appreciated leaders create a sense of purpose, generate trust and optimism, and tap into the passion and talent of their staff resulting in success for their organization and those served by the organization. Experienced CMSA thought leaders will inspire leaders at all stages of their careers while providing tangible steps to mastering Employee Engagement and Recruitment, Building a Healthy Case Management Department/Environment, and Training and Managing Your Staff. 

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Bio: Amy Chartier, BA, MSN, RN, CMGT-BC, has been a nurse for sixteen years, ten of which have been in acute care case management. In 2016, Amy became certified in case management and, in 2020, Amy completed her master’s in nursing education and has served on the CMSNE Public Policy committee for five years. She’s co-written posters that were displayed at the CMSA National Conference and she’s co-authored an article on opioid legislation with CMSNE. Amy believes in providing care for the whole patient and not just the illness. Currently, Amy is a case manager in the emergency room of a level 1 trauma medical center.

Bio: Janet Gould, RN, BSN, CCM, CHC, has a passion for case management, and the advocacy a case manager provides as part of the care management team. She has an interest in building grass roots knowledge and awareness about Public Policy and the legislation that has an impact on each community and resident. She is actively involved with the CMSA National Public Policy committee, currently serving on the committee and is a past co-chair. She has been in case management for the past 25 years and currently in a leadership position with a company specializing in complex and catastrophic injuries and diagnoses. Janet is a registered nurse, certified case manager and certified health coach.

Bio: Mindy Owen, RN, CRRN, CCM, FCM, is a founding board member of CMSA and past president of CMSA National, creator and author for the “The Heartbeat of Case Management” column in the PCM Journal and has served as chair and past commissioner for CCMC as well as CCMC committees and the board for 11 years. Mindy received the CMSA Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2021, is a public member of the Clinical Research Professionals and currently is the president/owner of Phoenix Healthcare Associates, which focuses on case management education, consulting and interim management for health systems.

Amy, Janet, and Mindy all serve on the CMSA Public Policy Committee.