By Carol Garner, Founding Member of the Case Manager Association of South Africa and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Directors

The question I hear time and again is, "Why should I belong to the Case Manager Association of South Africa (CMASA)?" What is in it for me?

The quickest answer is that what is in it for you starts with you. You are not an island. We need each other to learn from, guide, and share common challenges because many hands make light work.

How many of you are “Poof, Case Managers," as a friend once said — One day a nurse and then, “Poof,” a Case Manager. Who of you knew what you were doing when thrown into Case Management? No formal training was available, yet you needed to do the job.

Instead of asking, "What is in it for me?" The question we should be asking is, "What can I do for others?" We all have something to give, something to share, and something to learn.

We all know how many Case Managers are needed to carry the workload and yet how few are available, especially those who know what they are doing. What better way to learn than from each other? If we join forces and embrace challenges together, the burden becomes lighter and the goals achievable.

Associations, societies, and clubs include like-minded individuals with common goals and purposes. They create opportunities to network, share challenges, and learn from each other during face-to-face meetings and conferences, and now virtually through online seminars and webinars. The global pandemic has changed how we interact and learn with online meeting channels, making learning opportunities far more available now than ever before.

CMASA has partnered with industry specialists to develop content and speakers for meetings, seminars, and workshops. In addition, webinars are available at no cost for members, along with sponsorship of venues.

Additional features include access to educational materials, a free download of the latest version of the International Standards of Practice, and career opportunities (available vacancies and opportunities to recruit staff). Member-only awards and sponsorships are available to members, including discounts on conferences and training courses. CMASA offers quarterly regional meetings, focussing on local areas of interest in 3 provinces, and an annual conference where industry-wide topics are presented and discussed.

With resources restricted and not enough Case Managers to fill all the vacancies, a series of one-day workshops has been launched, sponsored by the CMASA, in collaboration with hospital facilities to introduce the concept of Case Management for new and aspiring case managers.

Partnership with Duxah Training Academy has created a formal training opportunity for both clinical and non-clinical staff to be trained and educated in the world of case management.

Further allegiances with our international associations provide additional opportunities. We can learn from those who have walked this walk before us, or alternatively we can sow into the lives of new associations in neighboring countries to help them develop.

CMSA has recently taken significant steps to make its membership cost-effective for international case managers by implementing pricing based on World Bank country classifications. Combined with what is available in South Africa, we now have access to even more information and material. CMSA is also launching a Special Interest Group for their international members (the CMSA ISIG) to provide education and networking tailored to their needs. There are endless opportunities for professional growth.

The Case Management world is becoming smaller, and this removes any excuse to avoid growth and development. The system is set up. The opportunities are there. All you have to do is join up and participate. While this blog is specific to South Africa, the principles, advantages, and benefits are applicable anywhere in the world.

CMSA, CCMC and ACMA are uniting for National Case Management Week, Oct. 8-14, to raise awareness about the vital role of case managers. As One Voice, we shine a spotlight on the value of case management, aligning behind the theme 'Keeping the Person at the Heart of Collaborative Care.' Join us in our collaborative efforts! See the full schedule here:

Bio: Carol’s extensive healthcare career began in 1975 where she began her nursing career at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. During 1986 Carol joined CAMAF (Chartered Accountants Medical Aid Fund) where she embarked her journey in the medical schemes industry spanning the past 38 years. Carol is involved in both local and international healthcare markets with a broad client base across all sectors of the community with a specific focus on case management and risk control. With her experience in the funding industry, she has a vast knowledge of the South African Healthcare systems and how to navigate the challenges. In April 2015 Carol left the corporate world and opened her own independent case management company focusing on onsite case management and transition of care and training, ensuring the most appropriate outcome for patients. Carol is passionate about case management in SA and as the current chairperson of the Case Manager Association is involved in the development and training of case managers with strong links to the USA, Australia and the UK. Carol was the first international recipient of the Case Manager of the Year Award in 2018. Carol firmly believes that more can be achieved by building bridges and relationships and working together as a team and surrounds herself with likeminded people. She loves the slogan “Just do it!”