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Looking for a pediatric specialty clinic? Cook Children's has more than 60 locations across North Texas, because even when your child's diagnosis is complicated, finding the right care should be simple.
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The phrase 'a typical day' is completely open to interpretation for Case Manager & Service Coordinator Elissa Grannan at Cook Children's Health Plan.
"There's no set 'day-to-day' routine for us," Elissa said. "When we are working with such a wide range of people, they each have their own lives. We are trying to figure out how we fit into their life and how we can help them."
That mentality of serving their plan members and filling their specific needs is exactly the necessary approach for a case manager to be successful in their job. Even putting a single label or job title on such a role is difficult for Elissa, who views her and her peers' purpose for their members as hard to define.
"For our health plan members, we are their advocate, knowledge seeker, resource, guide and problem solver all rolled into one," she explained. "We approach each day not knowing which hat we will wear for which parent or child but we do it with our whole heart. It's not about ourselves and what we think is best. It's about serving our community of plan members."
A sense of service has been a constant for Elissa throughout her professional life. With years under her belt growing up as a member of the Texas Girls' Choir, as well as a part of the HEB Honor Choir during elementary school, Elissa flirted with pursuing vocal performance as a major in college. But the tug on her heart to do a job that would help others was always present.
"My mother set a wonderful example of volunteering all my life," Elissa fondly recalled. "Whether it was at the Hurst Public Library, shelters or food banks, she was always giving of her time to others."
When she was introduced to the realm of social work in college and what it could offer, Elissa knew that was going to be her path.
Being a native of Tarrant County, she knew that Cook Children's was a pillar in the community but it would take a few years before she would call this place home. And it would combine the best of both worlds from the jobs that preceded Cook Children's.
Elissa spent several years working with Child Protective Services (CPS) in both their permanency unit, which consisted of teenagers and kids that the state of Texas has permanent custody of, and as supervisor of a temporary conservatorship unit for those first coming into CPS custody. She got to witness the wide range of impact that a social worker can have for a child at so many different stages in their young lives.
That same broad work experience carried over with her to Baylor Grapevine after earning her graduate degree. "I never thought I was going to get into anything medical-related but that's not how it turned out," she said with a smile. "At Baylor, I ended up working that entire hospital from the ICU to trauma to rehab. It gave me invaluable experience in the medical world that would led me to Cook Children's."
Along with her current role of case manager for her slate of health plan members, Elissa is afforded the opportunity to help her peers - new and existing - as a preceptor.
"The most rewarding part of both of these roles is the personal connection," she said. "Whether it's bridging those gaps between an agency and a family or guiding a new staff member on managing their caseload, daily, I get to feel like I make an impact on someone's life. I actually get to see how I can help others, and ensuring their needs are met."
So, while it may be impossible to fully define what it means to be a case manager or social worker, such a commitment to others is music to our ears. Therefore, we should join together with Elissa Grannan and proudly and loudly sing #WeAreCookChildrens.