1. Powell, Suzanne K. MBA, RN, CCM, CPHQ


Change will occur, in life circumstances, health, success, family, jobs, etc. No one is immune. This Editorial discusses the concept of reinvention and details some preparatory steps you can take.


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You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as C. S. Lewis)


There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy.


We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. - Jeff Bezos (best known as CEO of


Life happens. Things change. Abilities decrease. Health worries surface. This is well recognized in our patients (also known as the "client" who receives case management services), but in 2018, many case managers are also experiencing quality-of-life changes and pondering how to remain meaningful in a field that has been their passion for so many decades. In the aforementioned initial quotes, both these men evaluated themselves, adapted, changed, and reinvented basic instincts.


Simply put, reinvention is the "process of getting closer and closer to the truth of who we are so we can express our true selves" (Henson-Conant, 2015a, p. 14) "... reinvention isn't about becoming someone else, it is about becoming ourselves. Distillation, Deconstruction" (Henson-Conant, 2015b, p. 12).


Many of us see this more than ever before: Case managers are reinventing, both in person and in practice. One reason is certainly the aging workforce. In 2009, 21% of case managers were older than 55 years, but in 2014, that percentage more than doubled. According to the Role and Function Study from the Commission for Case Management Certification, nearly half of the respondents (46.91%) were between the ages of 51 and 60 years, with the largest age group being 56-60 years (24.69%). Another 14.3% were aged 61-65 years, and 4.7% were older than 65 years (Tahan, Watson, & Sminkey, 2015). Now, in 2018, add a few years to these statistics; where do you fit in?


Therefore, I offer these Editorial thoughts for both our patients' and our sake. As we (and our patients) move forward in life, the ability to change and stay relevant is important. According to Mayo Clinic (2017), a sustained sense of purpose is critical to overall well-being. Feeling that life has purpose offers a psychological buffer against the peaks and troughs of life; it creates a kind of long-term resilience that leads to better cardiovascular health, less worry, and more happiness over time (Mayo Clinic, 2017).


Many of us have helped patients (or have had personal experience) with major life/health changes: strokes, accidents, deaths in family, to name a few. It is usually after the acuity dims down that the questions arise: Who will I now be? What can I do that is still relevant? These pressing questions may leave the questioner with holes that may need to be filled (see #1 later). The action plan will be based on what the answers to those questions are. Consider this a little preparatory road map to get you to your next adventure. Schedule the time to "do the work." Ask for help if you need it. It is worth all the effort.


Action Plan


1. Ask yourself two questions:


* What inspires you? This may look different than it did last year, 10 years ago, or when you were a teenager.


* If I had but a few days to live, what would I regret most not doing or not becoming?


2. Assess your strengths. Sometimes, we are reinventing ourselves due to something that prevents us from doing what was meaningful in the past. But you still have strengths and passions; finding those strengths is the "work."


3. Create a new vision of yourself, and along with it, new habits. Journal if that is something you enjoy doing. Or, surround yourself with pictures.


4. Break it down into workable tasks. Then hold yourself accountable. One person who gained more weight than he desired decided to run marathons. At first, he couldn't go 300 ft without getting winded. He kept track of his accomplishments daily, weekly, and monthly. Not only does he have visual proof of his progress, but he now runs full marathons. By tracking his work and progress, he held himself accountable.


5. Fail. In fact, fail often. But please fail without beating up yourself. You now know something that doesn't work so well. Experiment. Then, move on.


6. Keep learning. Just as it was the path to you profession and your passion, it can be again. Look for clues in your answers to questions in #1; what you choose to learn may be lurking there.


7. Choose courage (Kirk, 2017). Do not let the past influence you so that walk away from passions due to a fear of failure.


You refresh your brain with a nap. You refresh your computer with a refresh button. You refresh your home regularly. But choose courage to refresh your life: The potential for new beginnings and moving forward is catapulted by courage. Let the fear of the future go. Let the fear of the past go.


In last Professional Case Management journal's issue (Vol. 23, No. 3), Dr. Tahan, who was our Guest Editor, wrote "To exist as a case manager is to constantly change; to be successful, you must constantly adapt." He went on to discuss Henri Bergson, a French philosopher, who said, "To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."


Bergson emphasizes the nature of change as inevitable and warrants ongoing reframing of one's reality or approach to remaining effective and necessary. Case managers are no exception! To continue to make a difference for the patients and families we care for and the organizations we practice in, we must always change with the environments we belong to, adapt to and mature with them, and constantly recreate ourselves so that we remain relevant and demonstrate the capacity to deliver quality, safe, cost-conscious and meaningful health and human services to those in need. (Tahan, 2018, p. 104)


Ultimately, to exist is to change and to be successful is to adapt.




Henson-Conant D. (2015a, July-August). How to get unstuck and start moving forward toward the finish line. Harp Column, pp. 14-18. [Context Link]


Henson-Conant D. (2015b, September-October). Are we there yet? On the path to reinvention, you may be what you discover. Harp Column, pp. 12-13. [Context Link]


Kirk M. (2017). Five steps to reinvent yourself: Create the future you visualize. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from[Context Link]


Mayo Clinic. (2017). 12 Strategies for healthy living: Strategy 12: Refine your purpose. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from[Context Link]


Tahan H. (2018). To exist as a case manager is to constantly change; To be successful, you must constantly adapt. Professional Case Management, 23(3), 103-106. [Context Link]


Tahan H., Watson A., Sminkey P. (2015, November-December). What case managers should know about their roles and functions: A national study from the Commission for Case Manager Certification, Part 1. Professional Case Management, 20(6), 271-296. Retrieved December 10, 2017, from[Context Link]


aging workforce; case management; reinvention