By Jenny Quigley-Stickney, MSN, BSN, RN, MHA, MA, CCM, ACM-RN. CMAC, CPHM, FCM
When I was recently honored at the 2023 CMSA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the experience brought me to tears. The awareness that my professional colleagues would support me in such a wonderful, nurturing manner truly humbled me. This award, of course, raises the bar for me both as a case manager and as a person who always looks at what I could do better, and what I need to provide for the patients and families I serve. I felt it was time for a moment of reflection to look at what brought me to the profession of case management and look at what opportunities I could strive to achieve in the future.
Advocacy is the word that comes to mind when I think of how I became a case manager. In the early nineties, when case management was still a young field, advocacy and weaving ourselves through the red tape that health care was beginning to emerge into in the medical community is why I moved from program management to case management. The SOP Advocacy Standard in our current 2022 Standards of Practice best encapsulates my personal version of advocacy. I felt the case manager needed to be a professional willing to seek creative ways to advocate for the client’s best interest in health care. As a new case manager, I set my goals to develop case management skills and case management practice to always provide the client and family with the most relevant information for their particular health condition. I advocated for the best care and high quality I could find using evidence-based practices to promote the client and family's self-determination, through shared decision-making, autonomy, growth, and establishment of self-advocacy. (CMSA Case Management Standards of Practice, 2022, 26)
Looking at my practice when I returned from the conference, I was once again reminded of the patient/family interactions that best reflect advocacy and the shared professional relationship created between the case manager, patient, and family. As I brought my golden retrievers for a walk at the local lake, as I often do, I took the time to reflect on what I can do differently and contemplate new skills I may want to develop. This time though I focused on the recent experiences that were special to me about the work that I do daily and how each experience over the last week was so varied but each uniquely special to the concept of advocacy.
For example, the shared grief over a patient who had just passed after making the decision for CMO and spending an extra few hours with family to let all members arrive to say their goodbyes and chat together to determine the correct next steps for family preparations, or providing a few extra dollars from the petty cash fund so a homeless patient can purchase the right medication for his diabetes, or showing a patient how to access the new electronic health record so they can follow their care plan and dialogue with the medical team, or taking the time to speak with a new nurse colleague overwhelmed by an angry family member and helping them to talk it out and use strategies to for healing and better coping. It is in this time of reflection that we remember how important this job is to the healthcare profession, patients, and families. Advocacy is not just a learned skill but the courage to ask questions, which continued to grow and evolve within us and the profession. Only the future will tell us where we will next be in this field for advocacy but with a CMSA strategic goal for future workforce development in healthcare, it will be important to watch and participate with CMSA to see the changes that emerge in 2024.
CMSA’s public policy initiative serves to represent member interests on issues affecting care management professionals and their patients' well-being. The CMSA Public Policy Committee has determined the following legislative focus for the coming years. If you have a public policy issue for consideration, please contact email@example.com. Learn more about how you can get involved by clicking here: https://cmsa.org/advocacy/
Bio: Jenny Quigley-Stickney MSN MHA MA BSN RN CCM ACM-RN CPHM, FCM is a professional case manager serving over 30 years in roles across the continuum of care. She manages traumatically injured patients TBI, CVA and spinal cord working in acute rehabilitation, hospital-based home care, outpatient rehabilitation case and acute care management for vascular and trauma patients. Jenny has served as both a patient case manager and advocate. She facilitates navigation for both the patient and family through all levels of transitions of care to promote successful health outcomes. Professionally, Jenny has been heavily involved in politics with the Nurse Licensure Compact and telehealth bills to promote new healthcare models in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Jenny has been an active member locally for the Case Management Society of New England (CMSNE) serving on the board for the last 10 years. Jenny has held many roles at CMSNE from Director, Vice President, President Elect, President and past President. Jenny served the chapter working on the Hospital based Conference and Annual CMSNE conferences. Jenny has also presented both locally and nationally for both CMSNE and the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) regarding public policy legislation. Jenny is the past chair for CMSA Public Policy Committee and has been active over the last 10 years with CMSNE Public Policy Committee as chair and a committee member. Jenny has collaborated locally with both Massachusetts Nurse Association and Massachusetts Hospital Association for passage of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact and telehealth legislation and lobbying. Jenny currently serves on the Board of Directors for CMSA working on the CMSA Today Editorial Board, CMSA Annual Conference and Sponsorship Committee. Jenny received her BS at Boston College (BC), earned her first Masters in Counseling, Nursing degree at Cape Cod Community College, BSN and MSN/MHA at University of Phoenix and plans to start soon on her doctorate in nursing.