Case Managers Are…Case managers are first, patient advocates

Case management falls under the umbrella of the health and human services profession.  Its’ philosophy is based on the belief that everyone benefits when clients reach their optimum level of wellness, self-management, and functional capability (CCMC, 2022).  Oftentimes we find patients in the hospital without friends or family.  They are frightened and confused with all the information that is being thrown at them.  In their mind, the doctor is in a hurry and the nurses are scrambling around just trying to get through the day. They are afraid to ask questions, for fear of feeling like a burden.  It all seems like a whirlwind.  It is in this moment of chaos that the case manager can provide the patient with a sense of calmness.  Case managers can be the person that sits down with the patient and takes the time to answer their questions, all while making sure they do not feel rushed.  We can rest in the fact that we have provided clarity and understanding to a once unclear plan.  

Case managers are first, patient advocates, and it is our duty to ensure that each patient we encounter has equal access to proper healthcare and the resources and support they need to live the fullest life possible.   Our primary goal is to help our patients, and that includes supporting them and promoting their wishes.  Case managers are champions for our patients and families.  We find ourselves being interjected into a patient’s life during very vulnerable, and what may seem to them, hopeless times.  We are there to help them navigate these treacherous waters.               

Case managers wear several hats, from coordinating discharge arrangements in the hospital setting to trying to return an injured worker to their job, to provide one on one support to those in mental health crises.  I often compare them to the glue that holds it all together.  Without the proper adhesive, things will not stay together, and will, eventually fall apart.  Case managers are skilled at making situations harmonize and correlate sensibly.  We are able to effectively multi-task and meet required deadlines.

Case managers are well balanced.  They must collaborate with all members of the multidisciplinary team and work to form a common goal of helping the patient and their families conform to their circumstances.  Case managers are held to high expectations.  We must always follow the code of professional conduct and maintain the ethical principles set forth, such as veracity, justice, and beneficence.  Case managers are to serve our clients and their families. We must always put them first and treat them with compassion and empathy.  

Case managers are adventurous.  We often feel like we are climbing mountains and overcoming obstacles in order to meet our goals.  We make multiple phone calls, listen to complaints, engage in meetings, deliver presentations, develop ways to meet our agency’s goals and metrics, and carve out time to hold our patient’s hands when they have received bad news.  However, that sense of accomplishment when our patients and families are satisfied with the outcome far outweighs any feelings of disparity and weariness we may experience.

Case managers are generous.  We find ourselves giving extra time to important causes and sometimes putting those before our own families.  We feel so strongly about the work we do, that we will go to great lengths to ensure success.  It is not uncommon for case managers to pay for needed things out of their own pocket, as resources are not always plentiful.  But, at the end of the day, we do not begrudge these actions, because we care.  We care not only about the health of our community but also about our nation as a whole.  This makes case managers patriotic.  We are proud to serve those around us and give what we can to benefit society.  Case managers strive to be fruitful citizens and do their part to ensure that quality standards are being met, as well as healthcare equality.

Case managers are brave.  We frequently must participate in difficult conversations.  Those can range from upper management, executives, and physicians, to sitting with a family and discussing end-of-life options or calming a confused patient with dementia.  None of these situations can be taken lightly and all scenarios are equally important.  We sometimes find ourselves in new situations and must efficiently maneuver through them, all while maintaining integrity and trust with our clients and families.

Case managers are fun.  It is no secret that case managers have a very serious job, but we also know how to be creative and entertaining.  More often than not, we must find innovative and enjoyable ways to set the stage for our clients to help them understand what their future may look like.  We try to do this in a way that does not seem like a tragedy.  We also try to keep the mood light for our colleagues when those tough days come.  Humor, wittiness, and laughter all play a major role in accomplishing this.  When working with children, case managers must meet them at their level and provide them with a pleasant experience.  Sometimes, this may mean that we color with them or play with their toys.  A thorough assessment can be completed while doing these activities, and your client will be much more relaxed, making it easier for us to identify their needs.

It is evident that case managers are a lot of things to all members of the population.  We try to manage and mitigate various types of situations, experiences, and moments in life in a dignified manner.   Case management is a very rewarding career, and I cannot imagine doing anything else.  


Definition and philosophy of case management. Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) (2022). (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2022, from 

Carla FosterHello, my name is Carla Foster, RN I have been a nurse for 23 years, with 7 of those in case management. I live in beautiful East Tennessee with my wonderful husband and children. I love jeep wranglers and currently own a pink one. My whole adult life has been spent in healthcare and I have loved every minute of it.