In Celebration of National Case Management Week, Longtime Case Manager Discusses the Many Hats They Wear
Q&A with Erma Freeman, MSW, LCSW, CCM, Case Manager with Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program.
Q: How did your career with Shepherd Center begin?
I came to Shepherd Center as a social worker. When hospitals transitioned to case management, I decided to take on the role of case manager. It was a bit different from what I did as a social worker, but I quickly realized that my skill set as a social worker had prepared me for the role as a case manager.
Q: What has led you to spend so much of your career at Shepherd Center?
On September 21, 2019, I celebrated 32 years of employment at Shepherd Center. Working with and being an advocate for patients as they go through the most challenging time in their lives brings a very high degree of job satisfaction to me. I love seeing patients obtain positive outcomes, no matter how small or large. When patients return to Shepherd to visit years or months later and seeing the functional or social changes some of them have made, it’s an experience that makes my day.
Q: In your opinion, what role does a case manager play with a patient and their family?
The role of a case manager is very extensive. No two days are the same. We are patient advocates, team leaders, counselors, discharge planners and more. We spend a large part of our day meeting with patients and families, collaborating with interdisciplinary team members, working with insurance company case managers and doing anything else our patients might need.
Q: What is something people might not know about case managers?
Something people may not realize about case managers is that we are required to know everything about a patient’s rehabilitation process. We wear several hats and have to be flexible at all times.
Q: What do you love about your job?
I love making a difference in the lives of patients and their families. I also love being a part of a team of people who care about the patients we serve. We all have the same goal of ensuring that patients have the very best outcomes.
- Erma is an avid traveler who loves cruising throughout the United States and Europe.
- She grew up in the Virgin Islands. “The ocean is a huge part of who I am. The ocean is my happy place,” Erma says.
- Erma enjoys walking, reading, cooking and spending time with her 11-year-old granddaughter.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS:
- Master’s degree in social work
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Certified Case Manager (CCM)
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.