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Brain injury case management

Meet the case manager: Nichola Sweeney, Keystone Case Management

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In this edition of Meet the Case Manager, we hear from former occupational therapist Nichola Sweeney about her journey into case management and her experiences in the role so far.

Why did you join KCM’s rapidly growing team of case managers?

I had worked as an occupational therapist for about seven years. I felt I wanted to develop my career and acquire an additional specialism.

Furthermore, my previous role really only allowed me to do half a job with my clients because of the pressure on time and the demands on the service.

There was a lack of longevity with each client that I could see was needed but was unable to deliver.

On reading the advert for a KCM case manager, all the stated requirements seemed to align with all my skills and experience; plus it was London-based, which is what I needed.

Why KCM?

It sounded as if it was a highly professional company!

Also, I knew I would require support when moving out of the sector I was comfortable with and into the personal injury sector.

I was given opportunities to meet with the senior managers at KCM to discuss and clarify the role or to ask any questions beforehand.

I was given time to think and reflect on making a decision and felt no pressure. This reinforced my impression that Keystone would offer the right environment for a sector change and I would be assured of professional support.

Additionally, one of KCM’s case managers is a previous colleague of mine. She is highly skilled and someone I greatly respect, so this reassured me that KCM was the right choice.

What is an unexpected aspect of CM work?

For me, it is the travelling to many different places to assess and visit clients, and then being given the challenge of finding the right services to address their needs.

I like getting out and about and seeing clients in their own environments, so it suits me well.

Another aspect has been working closely with clients to prioritise their needs according to their own wishes.

Due to the severity of injuries, there are often multiple needs to address and it is not always possible to put everything in place all at once.

We are led by our client’s wishes and that is refreshing.

What has been an expected aspect of CM work?

Learning about the legal sector has been an enjoyable aspect, along with communicating with solicitors and having a better appreciation of the process our clients go through.

How has your clinical background helped you to transition into your current role?

Having worked in both ward and community settings, it feels perfectly familiar to visit people in hospital at the acute stages of their injury, or in their own homes as they progress.

It is also an opportunity for me to showcase my expertise in contacting and coordinating statutory services for clients. It has felt a very natural transition.

Having previously been responsible for writing many varied reports – such as, risk assessments, functional reports or rehousing reports – my skills in report writing are transferable into the written requirements for the case management role.

What career development opportunities do you see for case managers?

Plenty!

An obvious start is being exposed to a far wider range of possible medical interventions, multidisciplinary treatments, aids and equipment, many of which aren’t available through the NHS. 

Registering as an Advanced Practitioner with BABICM is another step, along with registration with the IRCM.

I can also see how case managers can move into expert witness work and leadership roles.

How important is IRCM do you think?

For me, having the underpinning knowledge from a healthcare related professional qualification is essential when working with people with complex injuries. I can’t imagine doing it otherwise!

I consider the IRCM is vital for ensuring the safety of clients and maintaining standards of case management. 

What do you like to do when not being a case manager?

I love to travel!

City breaks are a favourite, but anywhere with sunshine, good food and wine and the opportunity to absorb what life is like in a different place.

  • For more information about Keystone Case Management, visit here  
  • Keystone is currently recruiting for case managers and expert witnesses – click for more details

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