Case Management Is…
Case management to me entails being a jack of all trades. Educator, liaison, coordinator, advocate, and a listening ear are some of the many hats a case manager may wear depending on one’s area of specialty.
I first heard about case management as a brand new floor nurse on a Medical-Surgical/Telemetry unit. My time as an overnight floor nurse was rough but was a wonderful learning experience for the short time I was there. Due to difficulty with work-life balance, I began searching for positions that would allow me to be available to my family at night and for the holidays. I applied to every job posting I could find, even positions that I may have not qualified for.
I finally got a call back from a company for a position as a Registered Nurse Care Coordinator. I thought to myself what could this entail, I only knew that it would involve working with children. It was finally time for the day of the interview. They had a clinic as well as multiple offices for different Nurse Care Coordinators. I interviewed well and was offered a position as a Nurse Care Coordinator. Without fully understanding the position, I accepted because the timing was perfect for my family and I. Unbeknownst to me, this was the best decision I had ever made. I was able to have an impact on families without being physically involved like how I was in the hospital setting. I coordinated care by scheduling appointments, setting up transportation, identified resources for families, and even sometimes assisted with helping parents obtain medications for their children.
Two years into my being a Nurse Care Coordinator, one of my colleagues suggested that I complete the certification to become a Certified Case Manager. I wasn’t aware that there was a certification exam but I started doing research and was frightened by many people saying the exam was extremely hard. I later had to transition into another position due to company closure. I was once again with pediatrics but this time specializing in medical foster care and medically fragile children for a Manage Medical Assistance Program (MMA plan).
Within my new position, I was considered interchangeably a Nurse Care Coordinator and a Concierge Nurse Care Coordinator. My members had many needs and had high acuity levels. I worked with each parent to the best of my ability to get the best outcome possible for each of the children that I was assigned to. I would always receive voicemails and or calls from parents thanking me for all of my assistance, which made this job even more rewarding. One day once again with another coworker the CCM certification came up. I realized it was finally time for me to face my fears and look into becoming certified again.
I gave birth to my second child in March 2020 and one day while on maternity leave I decided enough is enough and I completed the application to get my certification. Not only did I want to achieve this goal for myself but I honestly could say that I love what I do and I love helping others behind the scenes. Many people take for granted their knowledge of certain benefits. During my time as a nurse care coordinator, I realized that there are a lot of people who could benefit from assistance and are unaware of the resources and people like myself who are willing to help and advocate for them.
Fast forward to September 2020. I had many sleepless nights studying for a certification that I believe would further my knowledge and make me official. My testing day arrived and I am happy to say that I was able to pass this test. I know many may say this but I think I was destined to become a case manager especially by the mere fact of me landing my first position as a nurse care coordinator with no experience. It is now my passion to be able to advocate for others. Advocating for others has inadvertently helped me in my personal life. I was always the type of person that was scared to speak to people or even speak up for myself, but I now find myself advocating for not only myself but for my children and family as well. I now have a voice and I plan to continue to use it and help others as long as I can. I am excited to see what the future will bring on my path as a certified case manager. I plan to continue wearing my many hats within case management and will continue to be an empathetic listener, a planner, a liaison, and a care coordinator to the best of my ability.
Guest post from Shawndel Pinnock, BSN, RN, CCM, submitted as part of our “Case Management Is… Contest” and selected as an Honorable Mention!
My name is Shawndel Pinnock and I live in Tamarac, FL. I have been a registered nurse for 5 years. I have two children a boy and a girl and I enjoy quality time with family.