Project Management for Department of Veterans Affairs

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Introduction

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DoVA) is an organization managing the health-related needs of veterans living in New Orleans, LA. The specified community has a set of truly unique characteristics, the high levels of project capability and the potential of improving quality of veterans’ lives (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). However, despite the presence of strong initiative and the focus on the development of the community, the target organization has been lacking efficiency in the implementation of its goals. Namely, only minimal changes have been reported concerning the introduction of innovative treatment options and the development of new therapies for veterans in the target community (Kaba and Barnes, 2019). Arguably, the observed lack of expected results can be ascribed to the absence of a project-based approach inside the organization. Indeed, according to the current description of the company and its performance framework, the current strategy for attaining its goals revolves around building awareness, improving healthcare experts’ competencies, and purchasing high-quality equipment.

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Therefore, the introduction of a project-based approach into the setting of the DoVA is essential. The inclusion of the specified principle of managing the change to the target healthcare organizations and the policies concerning the management of disasters helps to cement the newly designed, improved approach. Moreover, the integration of the project-based framework allows healthcare experts to develop extra skills that will increase their preparedness for addressing the needs of veterans who have survived a disaster.

Project Identification

The specified project allows outlining the strategic goals that project management serves to meet in the organizational context. For instance, the issue of future problems prevention is exemplified in the project developed by DoVA since it shows how the range of disaster victims can be reduced to minimum among veterans in the future. Moreover, the project outlines the necessity to improve the quality of healthcare support and care offered to veterans that have suffered a disaster.

Applying the TOWS matrix to the project in question, one will realize that the adoption of the Mini-Mini framework is the most beneficial one (see Fig. 1). Namely, the elimination of the existing limitations to increase the efficacy of the healthcare service performance and the disaster prevention measures will help to address the challenges faced by veterans in the New Orleans setting. Since the lack of preparedness among veterans and nurses along with outdated healthcare tools represent the foundational weaknesses, using the strategy that would allow minimizing their impact is reasonable. Moreover, the focus on ongoing communication between healthcare experts and the target community should be recognized a crucial.

Table 1. TOWS for DoVA.

External Opportunities External Threats
Internal Strengths Maxi-Maxi Strategy
  • Focus on the staff members’ essential strengths;
  • Reinforcement o the strengths of the current disaster management guide
Maxi-Mini Strategy
  • Using sustainability for weather conditions;
  • Utilizing all services to cater to veterans’ needs;
  • Focusing on highly functional design
Internal Weaknesses Mini-Maxi Strategy
  • Increasing the levels of interdisciplinary cooperation to reduce negative outcomes and promote awareness;
  • Using the available resources to update the disaster management framework
Mini-Mini Strategy
  • Improving disaster management guidelines;
  • Addressing the shortage of the latest equipment;
  • Introduction of innovative paradigms for managing the needs of disaster survivors

Outcomes and Risks

It is believed that the project to be carried out at DoVA will allow to reduce the level o threat experienced by veterans who are likely to be affected by a disaster. In addition, the project will have a massively positive outcome for veteran patients that have been under medical care and supervision as a result of a disaster. Given the propensity to being affected by a natural cataclysm that new Orleans shows, the described measures are absolutely instrumental in handling the possible threat to veterans’ lives. Indeed, reports and the official records of New Orleans’s disaster management show that the specified area has been under a substantial effect of the forces of nature (Gardere et al., 2020). The range of disasters that have been witnessed in the area include tornados, floods, and hurricanes, to name just a few (Gardere et al., 2020). Flooding of streets was one of the most recent natural cataclysm occurring in New Orleans (Gardere et al., 2020). Therefore, immediate measures must be taken to reinforce the local approach toward disaster management.

In turn, project-based approach deployed inside the organization will lead to a more effective arrangement of information and a more careful preparation for the future cataclysms that the community may witness. For instance, the use of a project-based approach for keeping veterans in New Orleans safe from natural disasters will help to create an effective early warning system (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). Given the unique characteristics of the target audience, including possible low hearing or sight issues, the warning system must be developed to attract better attention. In addition, a support framework to increase the safety of veterans must be designed as a part of the DoVA project.

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However, what makes the DoVA project particularly special is the improvement of the hospital functioning and the enhancement of healthcare efficacy for veterans who have suffered from disasters. Due to the careful arrangement and planning, as well as elaborate strategizing, which project management facilitates, the efficacy of care will increase exponentially in the New Orleans hospital settings. Furthermore, the project will help to introduce innovative equipment and technology for meeting the needs of veterans who have suffered from disasters occurring in the area. Specifically, the devices for maintaining communication with nurses and

Strategic Elements of the Project

As a rule, the strategic elements of any project constitute the bulk of its future outcomes. Namely, the characteristics such as its mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics need to be identified and refined to achieve the outcomes established as desirable ones. In the context of DoVA, the improvement in the framework for the organization’s disaster management approach and the strategies for addressing the needs of veterans who have suffered from disasters is needed. Therefore, the project at hand wallows the organization to introduce improved tools for meeting the needs of a vulnerable population, namely, veterans.

The mission of the project concerns improving the current healthcare services and improving the awareness levels among veterans. Although disasters are quite common in New Orleans, the efficacy of reaching out to vulnerable communities in an attempt at assisting them is rather low (Laycock et al., 2019). As a result, people are put at risk of receiving serious injuries and even being exposed to fatal outcomes. Additionally, the lack of awareness and late hospital admissions will result in prolonged stays, which, in turn, may cause further complications, such as the development of comorbid conditions and nosocomial diseases (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). Therefore, a change to the current policies and the management of patients’ needs is urgently needed.

Given the strategic elements listed above, the main function of a project manager in the described scenario would be to create the circumstances in which the identified elements are developed and implemented flawlessly. Leading to the improvement in the quality of veterans’ lives. The drop in health- and general well-being-related risks caused by disasters is expected to be observed in veterans of New Orleans after the implementation of the project.

Notably, given the fact that the project relies heavily on the prevention mechanisms as the main method of reducing the devastating effects of disasters on veterans’ health, the strategies developed by the organization are expected to be much more intricate in their nature than the tactics. The focus on strategic elements rather than on the tactical ones are justified by the urgency to prevent disasters rather than observe and manage their excruciating consequences. Nonetheless, the importance of the tactical actions is also recognized by DoVA.

The described issues reflect the role and responsibilities of a project management, particularly, in regard to the improvement of healthcare services and the enhancement of veterans’ safety from disasters. For example, the project has shown that the responsibilities of planning, executing, evaluating, and determining future actions are critical for a project manager. Moreover, given the need to coordinate several process at once, it is crucial for a project manager to be capable of performing a complex analysis of multiple issues affecting the end result. For instance, since New Orleans is affected by different types of natural disasters, strategies for addressing the needs of veterans in case of each disaster type had to be prepared. Locating similarities and differences in the approaches to each issue and developing a homogenous strategy for project implementation and quality control appears to be one of the most challenging aspects of a project manager’s role.

Justification of the Project Approach

The importance of a project-based approach is huge for any organization since it helps to introduce innovative elements and solutions into the organizational setting. As a result of the described policy, staff members can incorporate the specified innovative devices and ideas into their workplace tasks and the management of their responsibilities in the organizational setting (Laycock et al., 2019). With the development of the required skills, employees are bound to show greater prowess and dexterity in handling their workplace tasks (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). Thus, the focus on project-based approach in the organizational setting is fully justified in theory.

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In practice, the adoption of the project-based approach may become a bit more convoluted, yet the example of the DoVA proves that it is possible. Moreover, the change in DoVA’s performance indicates that the project-based approach is likely to lead to significant improvements (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). Explained by the rise in the levels of staff’s competency and the acquisition of new skills along with the principles of knowledge sharing, the observed change signifies that project-based learning is instrumental to the development of an organization.

The last and most important, the inclusion of a project-based approach toward the management of safety and health-related needs of New Orleans veterans will help to save lives, which is the principal justification of the project’s existence. By placing the emphasis on the prevention of disasters, as well as the improvement of staff’s performance, the project will lead to faster recovery of veterans, as well as help to reduce the number of disaster victims in the future.

There could be an argument about the process-based approach being a superior method of handling the health-related needs of veterans along with the improvement of healthcare and disaster management services. Namely, the opportunities for focusing on several objectives simultaneously would help to make the end result more coherent and reduce the levels of uncertainty (“Department of Veterans Affairs Realizes Benefits through Improved Healthcare for Veterans,” 2020). However, the introduction of a process-based framework for managing the needs of the target demographic would also introduce unnecessary complexities into the planning and implementation phases.

Moreover, the integration of a project-based framework will help to achieve the key goals faster without making the project an ongoing process. One could claim that the change in the perspective toward the incremental improvement of healthcare services would lead to the continuous improvement of the healthcare quality, which is vital for a group as vulnerable as veterans. However, by extending the project into an ongoing process, one will also complicate the process of introducing change to the target community. Since the present goals are rather basic, extending them into an ongoing project may hamper the efficacy of the end result.

Conclusions

Due to the exposure to a range of threats to their well-being, veterans living in the New Orleans community, and, particularly, those that use the services of DoVA, require additional support. The focus on improving the levels of awareness, the quality of care, and the extent of preparedness toward disasters will allow addressing the needs of veterans in the New Orleans community adequately. Therefore, the project management framework based on the promotion of awareness and the introduction of change into the current hospital setting is advised.

Reference List

Department of Veterans Affairs realizes benefits through improved healthcare for veterans (2020). Web.

Gardere, L., Plyer, A. and Ross, D. (2020) ‘How data became part of New Orleans’ DNA during the Katrina recovery’, New England Journal of Public Policy, 32(1), p. 21.

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Kaba, A. and Barnes, S. (2019) ‘Commissioning simulations to test new healthcare facilities: a proactive and innovative approach to healthcare system safety’, Advances in Simulation, 4(1), p. 17.

Laycock, A., Bailie, J., Matthews, V. and Bailie, R. (2019) ‘Using developmental evaluation to support knowledge translation: reflections from a large-scale quality improvement project in Indigenous primary healthcare’, Health Research Policy and Systems, 17(1), p. 70.

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