5 Things Case Management Taught Me

Keith Blackwell

5 Things Case Management Taught Me

1. Expect the Unexpected
Entering into case management, I did not expect to have the experiences I
have had. Case managers, sometimes referred to as miracle workers, engage with
patients who have gone through traumatic experiences from homelessness,
vehicle collisions, abandonment, sex trafficking – you name it. Anyone in
health care will tell you that no amount of schooling can prepare you for
what you’ll see on a daily basis and that’s no different for case managers.

2. Relationships are Important
Case management taught me I’m only as good as the people I know. During
my time in case management, I developed relationships that helped not
just me, but the patients I worked with. As a social work case manager, I value the importance of human
relationships and understand that through relationships change is possible.
I learned very quickly that strong relationships develop a network and that
network’s purpose is to meet the needs of the vulnerable populations I
worked with every day. Taking the time to get to know the liaisons that
represent the agencies you work with can take the difficult parts of case
management and turn it into a phenomenal experience.

3. Pick Up the Phone
Case management taught me that even though I only have 2 ears, 2 hands,
and one mouth I can operate 3 phones at the same time and still enjoy my
iced coffee. In all seriousness, case management taught me the importance of picking
up the phone and reminding public officials of their duties and obligations to the people they serve. I never in a million years would’ve thought that I would phone a senator and demand action for one of my patients or call up
a consulate’s office and demand they deliver bad news to one of my
patients – but I did it. Sometimes that phone call acts as a wake-up call and
creates action to make change happen.

4. People Will Make Bad Decisions
Yes, you read that right. People will make bad decisions.
Case management taught me that I can provide all the education,
resources, and support in the world. One thing I can’t do is force someone
to do something they don’t want to. I learned very quickly that you have to
support people and their right to make their own decisions. It also taught
me to be supportive, non-judgmental, and ready to jump back in and help if
they decide to change their minds.

5. Practice Self-Care
Entering into case management, it seems like it’s no big deal to coordinate
every aspect on the continuum of care all day, every day. However, it’s
important to take time to take care of yourself so you can bring your best
self into your much-needed role of a case manager every single day.

Empowered Case Managers