Safety Professional Working In An Australian Context Sample College Essay

The government exercises control over all areas of society, including this, which is relevant for workers’ occupational safety. An extensive reporting system of statistics on occupational injuries provided by organizations is used to supervise and enact the applicable regulations. Burke (2019) notes that focusing on occupational safety provides significant economic benefits to both companies and governments. However, this approach often leads to negative effects and forced manipulation of statistics, which causes the ineffectiveness of industrial safety policy and reduces productivity. At the same time, all kinds of bureaucratic difficulties complicate the life of employers and managers. Therefore, this essay examines two chapters from the book “The safety anarchist” (2018) by Sidney Dekker. The work is devoted to the discussion and criticism of existing measures and the state standards based on which occupational safety control is now carried out. The essay also analyzes the importance of the various points of view presented in the material in the context of Australian safety professional working.

Bureaucracy exists in all spheres of government, as well as in the area of ​​occupational safety and health. Dekker states in chapter 4 of his book that “bureaucracies tend to grow on themselves” (Dekker, 2018, p. 67). The author provides several examples of how different workplace standards and regulations either impose more unnecessary responsibilities on workers or cause a false sense of safety. The figures are also given for the rapid increase in the number of occupational safety specialists over the past five years and since the 90s of the last century (Dekker, 2018). Such statistical dynamics testify to the tightening of the rules for ensuring health safety, leading to the expected expansion of bureaucratic tools. Provan, Dekker, and Rae (2017, p. 6) mention that “organizations that previously were required only to implement action/state requirements now require expertise to interpret and translate legislation into company actions that demonstrate compliance.” Thus, companies are now unable to cope with health safety measures independently; they are forced to hire specialists and develop a complex bureaucratic process.

The expansion of various standards and regulations inevitably leads to a more complex regulation process. As Dekker (2018, p. 58) notes, current workplace safety circumstances lead to the emergence of “bureaucratic lunacies,” consisting of absurd checklists, an increase in the number of responsibilities, and false precautions. For instance, Varghese et al. (2020, p. 4) report that “heat exposure in the workplace (both high temperatures and heatwaves) is known to cause adverse health effects including physical injury and illness.” However, Dekker (2018) emphasizes that the introduction of long sleeves and hard hats that protect against heat often results in heatstroke. Thus, strict safety rules sometimes do not correspond with reality, causing unexpected harmful effects.

More complex regulations and bureaucracy require more people responsible for their execution. Such conditions lead to the fact that safety management made organizations increasingly bureaucratic (Provan, Dekker, and Rae, 2017). Therefore, Dekker (2018) argues that bureaucracy itself does not aim to make people’s life more difficult; nevertheless, it certainly complicates all work processes. Thus, safety regulations and management are the results of subtle consequences that worsen the performance of organizations.

Chapter 5 focuses on their role in ensuring safety in the workplace, in particular, their relationship to bureaucratic complexity. The existence of different rules also implies measures of their implementation to “ensure that risks arising from known hazards are properly controlled” (Potter et al., 2019, p. 11). Furthermore, regulation based on data reports provides the basis for the formation of policies for occupational safety and health protection of workers (Potter et al., 2017). However, Dekker (2018) argues that numbers can become a target, causing bureaucratic manipulations and falsifications, leading to inaccurate statistics and precautions. Moreover, the author discusses how useless statistics are for predicting because injuries are often unpredictable events (Dekker, 2018). Thus, both chapters emphasize the author’s attitude towards bureaucratic measures that support workers’ health policies. On the one hand, they lead to a more complex business environment for organizations and the need to outsource or hire additional staff. On the other hand, they are often the reason for the disruption of regulations and manipulation of numbers, which also negatively affect the workflow and the results of the implementation of measures.

For the most part, Dekker’s criticism of existing policies, however, has no bearing on existing rules. Occupational health and safety GRI Standards oblige organizations to report all work-related injuries (GRI Standards, 2018). The regulation includes various classifications of injuries, reports on recovery times and performance losses incurred, and calculations of multiple metrics based on data. Thus, the collection of statistics on occupational injuries is presented as a basis for forecasting and taking measures to ensure workers’ safety in the workplace. The government approach to universal standardization is entirely different from Dekker’s view. The standards prescribe the recording and reporting of all work-related injuries indicators as poor statistics “can have a detrimental impact on the lives and livelihoods of individuals and their families” (O’Neill and Wolfe, 2017, p. 3). At the same time, Dekker tends to consider such measures as overcomplicated and, in some instances, even negatively affecting. Thus, the authorities’ policy is for the constant collection of data, the introduction of special management, while Dekker disputes the need for such regulations.

The importance of a statistically sound approach stems from the need for formal structures to monitor working conditions. However, according to research, on average, each injury recorded in the national system is attributed to at least two reported incidents, while, at least, four workers were affected (Probst, Bettac, and Austin, 2019, p. 17). Thus, statistical data often do not correspond to reality; based on them, it is impossible to make accurate forecasts and form a picture of workers’ occupational safety. Regulations require additional documentation, separate procedures, and roles, which, however, do not contribute to an increase in the occupational safety level (Rae et al., 2018). Thus, in support of Dekker’s assumptions, the question arises of the extent to which safety management and bureaucracy affect productivity and safety at work.

Based on the readings reviewed, one can reason about how important the views presented in them are for occupational safety in the context of modern Australia. The standards indicate that Australian professional safety policy relies heavily on statistics collection, prognosis, and injury prevention. However, this approach can harm the productivity of organizations. The manipulation of figures reported to the authorities often prevents an accurate picture of the current situation. Simultaneously, the growing bureaucracy is forcing many companies to hire safety managers, increasing the responsibilities of employees the number of people involved. Thus, this view creates additional difficulties for doing business, which also directly affects workers. Dekker’s perspective in the present context can provide a forward-looking overview of necessary changes and suggestions for improving existing measures. Despite criticism of government policies, control and surveillance are required, but the right tools are not always used to implement them.

Reference List

Burke, R. (2019) ‘Increasing occupational health and safety in workplaces: why it matters’, in Burke, R. and Richardsen, A. (eds.) Increasing occupational health and safety in workplaces: individual, work and organizational factors. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 2-30.

Dekker, S. (2018) The safety anarchist: relying on human expertise and innovation, reducing bureaucracy and compliance. London: Routledge.

GRI Standards. (2018) GRI 403: occupational health and safety. Amsterdam: GRI Standards.

O’Neill, S. and Wolfe, K. (2017) Measuring and reporting on work health & safety. Canberra: Safe Work Australia.

Potter, R. et al. (2017) ‘Assessing a national work health and safety policy intervention using the psychosocial safety climate framework’, Safety Science, 100, pp. 91-102.

Potter, R. et al. (2019) ‘Analytical review of the Australian policy context for work-related psychological health and psychosocial risks’, Safety Science, 111, pp. 37-48.

Probst, T. M., Bettac, E. L. and Austin, C. (2019. ‘Accident underreporting in the workplace’, in Burke, R. and Richardsen, A. (eds.) Increasing occupational health and safety in workplaces: individual, work and organizational factors. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 30-47.

Provan, D. J., Dekker, S. and Rae, A. J. (2017) ‘Bureaucracy, influence and beliefs: a literature review of the factors shaping the role of a safety professional’, Safety Science, 98, pp. 98-112.

Rae, A. J. et al. (2018) ‘Safety clutter: the accumulation and persistence of ‘safety’ work that does not contribute to operational safety’, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, 16(2), pp. 194-211.

Varghese, B. M. et al. (2020) ‘Determinants of heat-related injuries in Australian workplaces: perceptions of health and safety professionals’, Silence of the Total Environment, 718, pp. 1-45.

Oedipus Rex: A Man Of Destiny

Introduction

The Oedipus play by Sophocles truly stood the test of time. The themes of fate and predestination revealed in the play are universal and have aroused interest centuries after they were first introduced in 429 BC. The mysteries of fate remain unsolved and continue to excite the imagination of contemporaries. However, the example of King Oedipus shows that sometimes these riddles can be cruel, and the truth, instead of giving liberation, can cause ruin. King Oedipus, despite his high birth, experiences more suffering than an ordinary person. He bears the responsibility of the king of Thebes and the duty of a son, husband, and father.

The contradictions between these roles and the fatal cycle of events bring genuine chaos into the life of Oedipus and end in tragedy. But the tragedy of the exodus is also liberation for the protagonist, who can finally exercise free will by choosing atonement (Putra and Widayanti 1). Each of us is faced with a situation when it is necessary to show free will despite the circumstances. But not everyone has ever been a victim of destiny. In his struggle with fate, King Oedipus made the right and wrong decisions, but still, despite the surreal story that his life turned into, he managed to find meaning in it. His struggle and pursuit of the truth, looking for the killer of Laius, caused the dire truth to be revealed to Oedipus. However, by sacrificing himself to save the people of Thebes, King Oedipus fulfilled his destiny and freed himself from it.

Oedipus’ Destiny

The fate of Oedipus is a trap, but he does not know about it until he visits the oracle in Delphi, who predicts, “You are fated to couple with your mother, you will bring a breed of children into the light no man can bear to see you will kill your father, the one who gave your life” (Sophocles 205/846-875). Confident that this is about Polybius and Merope, the rulers of Corinth, who adopted him as a child, Oedipus leaves the city and goes on a journey. Having reached Thebes, he learns about the Sphinx, which devours people sacrificed to him because none of them can solve its riddles. Oedipus solves the mystery of the Sphinx and is declared king. However, on the way to Thebes, he accidentally kills Laius at the crossroads of three roads, not knowing that this is the king of Thebes or that Laius is his father.

Later, Oedipus curses fate and says that Apollo played a cruel joke with him because if the soothsayer told him that Polybius and Merope were not his parents, perhaps he would not have left this city. Although Oedipus must have had suspicions about this, since once at a feast a drunken man tried to convey the truth to him, “Some man at a banquet who had drunk too much shouted out-he was far gone, mind you that I am not my father’s son. Fighting words!” (Sophocles 205/846-875). Later, therefore, Oedipus seeks forgiveness, admitting that although he gouged out his eyes, his face resembles a joke of some savage power, and he is not responsible for it.

Oedipus’s Tragic Flaw

In his essay Fate in Sophocles, R.P. Winnington affirms that “character is destiny,” which means that an individual’s character determines his destiny. This idea is particularly true for Oedipus, who seems to attract misfortune into his destiny. However, if destiny is viewed as a journey, Oedipus exhibits noble traits worthy of a king. First, he shows himself as a compassionate king who is willing to save his people from the plague, “I’ll do anything. I would be blind to misery not to pity my people kneeling at my feet” (Sophocles 159/14-15). The people see Oedipus as the savior, “You freed us from the Sphinx… A god was with you, so they say, and we believe it you lifted our lives” (Sophocles 161 / 39-48). Therefore, although Oedipus cannot overcome his fate, his actions and the moments when he makes a free choice indicate that he does not deserve such severe suffering.

In the character of Oedipus, there is a tragic flaw that leads him to ruin. This flaw is a determination to pursue the truth, not only out of necessity, when Oedipus tries to find the murderer of the old king of Thebes but out of curiosity alone. When the messenger tells Oedipus that the shepherd who saved him was a servant of Laius, and Jocasta realizes that Oedipus, her husband, is also her son, she tries to stop him, but in vain: “Man of agony that is the only name I have for you, that, no other-ever, ever, ever!” (Sophocles 222/1269-1270). Oedipus intends to find out the truth, by all means, since he cannot live in darkness “That is my blood, my nature – I will never betray it, never fail to search and learn my birth” (Sophocles 222-224/1160-1194). He believes that Jocasta is afraid to find out that he is not from a noble family and refuses to stop the quest.

Free Will Versus Destiny

The whole life of Oedipus is built around the question of what directs his fate – destiny or free will. It is not easy for Oedipus to come to terms with the prophecies, from which he first tries to escape and then – pursues, despite the consequences. At the beginning of the story, the Delphic Oracle says that Oedipus will cause his troubles: “And all these curses I – no one but I brought down these piling curses on myself” (Sophocles 206-207/899-923). But Oedipus disagrees with the validity of the prophecy “But why, why? Wouldn’t a man of judgment say-and wouldn’t he be right some savage power has brought this down upon my head?” (Sophocles 206-207/899-923). These lines represent the conflict between destiny and free will.

On the one hand, Oedipus must control his life, so he is ready to accept responsibility for his destiny. On the other hand, the burden is unbearable, and he seeks forgiveness and reassurance, placing blame for his fate on some external force. In part, Oedipus is guilty of his troubles, since, for example, when he killed an innocent unknown older man at the intersection of three roads, he chose his destiny. At the same time, it is clear that this murder was a fatal accident, as was the marriage to Jocasta. Persistent inquiry of truth can hardly be considered a sin since the thirst for knowledge and curiosity are natural human qualities.

Resolving the Conflict of Free Will versus Destiny

The conflict between free will and destiny is eternal and often at the heart of various literary works; it can be resolved using two approaches. First, the difference between free will and purpose can be defined by introducing the concept of life as a journey. If the journey, not destiny, is of paramount importance, the hero can exercise free will, even being shackled by the predicted fate. If the journey is central, then Oedipus should rely more on himself than on external forces, which he does. Logically, Oedipus’ excessive interest in absolute truth ruins him in such a case.

The conflict between purpose and free will can also be resolved by introducing the concept of linear and nonlinear time. In linear time, events take place in turn and depend on the free will of the participants. In nonlinear time, or from the gods’ perspective, everything that should happen has already happened. The participants are frozen in a picture full of actions, motionless for the observer’s eye. Taking this view allows assessing the consequences of the heroes’ choices objectively. In addition, the heroes’ actions can be evaluated outside their natural environment.

According to scholars, Oedipus is not guilty of his suffering but becomes a victim of other people’s judgment and aspirations. Dimopoulos notices that Oedipus “is gradually becoming a victim of the entire social system; he enters into complex aspects of the collective subconscious; he recreates conventional urban worldviews and destroys crystallized structures” (20). The scholar recognizes that Oedipus is “deeply aware of his imminent catastrophe” and becomes the subject of “a violent liberation from the historical context and a radical redefinition of the physical order” (Asimopoulos 20). In other words, the scientist believes that not Oedipus but the society is the cause of the catastrophe.

The Tragedy of Oedipus

The tragedy of Oedipus is that he is destined to kill his father and enter into an incestuous relationship with his mother. But considering other circumstances, the main one of which is Oedipus’s ignorance that his fate has already happened, the real tragedy for him is discovering the truth. Nevertheless, he strives for the truth since he cannot live in blindness and does not consider his ignorance to be blessed. Oedipus distinguishes between his fate that he could not change and the space of free choice in which he acts. However, this space was eventually defined by his tragic flaw – the quest for truth.

Therefore, for Oedipus, his truth needed to benefit the city since exile allowed him to atone for his guilt for discovering the truth. Oedipus may blame himself for learning the truth and not for committing actions that he could not have foreseen. In this context, the symmetry of the symbolic and actual blindness of Oedipus is fascinating. At first, he lives in ignorance, being mentally blind; having learned the truth, he cannot stand the sight of its terrible face and blinds himself physically.

Conclusion

The story about Oedipus Rex echoes with the story of humankind remarkably. The search for the truth, including scientific discoveries, often ended tragically, for example, when Oppenheim created an atomic bomb, which led to decades of the Cold War and the threat of destruction that has since hung over humanity. The invention of the internal combustion engine and manufacturing development led to the beginning of global warming. At the same time, the search for the truth led to finding cures for diseases that were previously considered fatal, and the pursuit of political justice and truth allows to maintain life on earth in relative balance.

The story of Oedipus likewise demonstrates both the destructive and the healing aspects of truth. Thanks to the knowledge of the facts, Oedipus was freed from his destiny, which was more like a curse. Knowing the truth allowed him to save Thebes and end his relationship with Jocasta. At the same time, Oedipus paid a high price for knowledge – he became an exile on his land, and subsequently, his children suffered a tragic fate.

References

Asimopoulos, Panagiotis. “Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” at Pasolini” Journal of Communication and Behavioural Sciences 1.2 (2020): 20-29.

Putra, Madha Dwi Aji, and Maria Johana Ari Widayanti. “Victory in Tragic Ending: Analysis of Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King.” Rainbow: Journal of Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies 8.1 (2019): 1-7.

Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus. Translated by Robert Fagles. Introduction and Notes by Bernhard Knox. Viking Press 1982. Print.

Winnington-Ingram, R.P. “Fate in Sophocles.” Modern Critical Views Sophocles. Edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom. Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. 1990. Print.

Improving Surgery Practices With Project Management Techniques

Project Background

A cross-functional collaboration among professionals in various fields of practice is essential to improve the quality of their work. Particularly, this statement is relevant for integrating project management skills in healthcare where the role of process planning is obscured with the sense of urgency and the need of supporting patients based on sporadic requests. Meanwhile, referring to the case described by Kiisel (2011), it is obvious that implementing even basic project management techniques such as using checklists appears to be positive for improving surgery operations and practices, even if some surgeons remain unsatisfied. Hence, this report provides details for the training project aimed to improve surgery practices by using project management techniques in hospitals.

Project Scope

The formal requirements for the project scope are outlined as follows:

  • To explore how standard project management techniques could be applied to the case of surgery operations in a chosen hospital
  • To develop a set of practices such as using checklists, quality assurance planning, team collaboration, and reporting to ensure that surgeons are able to share best practices and consult each other as productive team members
  • To address the great struggle in medicine related to ignorance and uncertainty, as mentioned by Kiisel (2011)
  • To contribute to a new healthcare paradigm such as surgery management that would eventually improve the quality of healthcare services delivered by surgeons

Project Deliverables

The following deliverables were identified for the described project:

  • The success rate of each complex surgery in a chosen hospital setting is improved by 5% in three months from the initiative implementation, and 10% consecutively within 1 year.
  • The average time for completing surgery operation is reduced on average by 1 hour for basic surgery operations, and by 30 minutes for more complex surgery operations
  • All surgeons in a hospital recognize the importance of using proposed project management tools and report a 90% satisfaction rate in a survey analysis
  • Surgeons operate as a team and share their examples of work as best practices through the lessons learned session conducted bi-monthly.

Project Constraints

The following constraints were identified for the described project:

  • The integration of project management practices is limited to the surgery department of the chosen hospital only based on the approval by the head of cardiology. However, it is possible that these practices will be expanded to other departments if project deliverables are met.
  • The training of surgeons will require their presence in remote location; hence, it will be scheduled per their availability during three months. However, if there is a consecutive no-show of training participants, the company will not guarantee the extension of training sessions
  • Project training will be based on PMBOK standards and does not assume any alternative methodologies proposed or insisted by the surgery department

Stakeholder Analysis

Training needs for the described project require the involvement of several stakeholders to ensure that knowledge acquisition helps to improve surgery management. Based on the preliminary analysis, the main stakeholder groups are hospital administration, the team of surgeons, patients, and project management trainers. The roles and contribution of identified stakeholders is described in the following subsections, capitalizing on training planning and delivery specifications that would optimize project success.

Hospital Administration

To ensure that surgeons receive a complete training in project management, it is important to liaison with hospital administration in terms of schedule planning and budgeting. As previously mentioned, it might be complex to arrange the project management training with surgeons depending on their availability, which requires shortlisting participants based on their schedule and designing a flexible schedule that addresses individual needs while respects the importance of non-disturbance during surgical operations (Ajmal, Malik and Saber, 2017). Considerably, hospital administration could be helpful in managing the training schedule based on their individual awareness of surgeon’s availability, while also controlling the aspect of patient care and managing surgery planning on a higher level.

Alternatively, hospital administration representatives could be engaged as co-trainers or facilitators to participate in group training sessions. It would be also wise to consider involvement of highly experienced surgeons from other hospitals, while this assumption is yet to be validated based on the organizational practices and policies for cooperation, as well as potential budgeting constraints. Nevertheless, the engagement of local hospital administration representatives as trainers would still contribute to the team motivation aspect, since surgeons as training participants would be eager to learn about past experiences of their supervisors.

Team of Surgeons

The team of surgeons is a main stakeholder group that is targeted as information receivers. Because of the nature of their work, surgeons are highly unlikely to participate in training sessions fully, having some of the team members assigned to urgent surgeries or having a day-off because of the previous tight schedule. Therefore, the schedule for the training is extended to three months to ensure that there is enough time to assemble several groups scheduled per availability of team members (Gandhi, 2013). Meanwhile, a single session for the lessons learned should be arranged for all surgeons to ensure that learning material is well comprehended by all participants regardless the group they were assigned to (Bengston, Havila and Aberg, 2018). Finally, any of surgeons is not considered as co-trainer assuming that surgery management training is for surgeons who are equal learners and have to develop project management skills as equal team members.

Patients

The inclusion of patients as stakeholders is particularly important from methodological perspective. Primarily, it is valuable to include patients as a source of feedback, which could be either negative and positive while in both cases provides orientation regarding the training effectiveness. Furthermore, the feedback collected through the patients’ survey is helpful to determine if surgeons are successful in applying project training material in practice, as well as whether trainers are successful in delivering training content completely (ul Musawir, Abd-Karim and Mohd-Danuri, 2020). Hence, patients as stakeholders are considered useful from training validation perspective, while certainly it is assumed that depending on the surgery complexity and health condition some patients will not be able to provide a constructive feedback.

Project Management Trainers

Project management trainers are responsible for developing training materials, delivering presentation, and coaching surgeons in effective using of project management techniques. Their roles as stakeholders is to ensure that project management practices are integrated with surgery management as close as possible, which requires initial sensing of employee needs and close collaboration with hospital management. Trainers are also responsible for collecting feedback from patients as the second-level stage of training delivery to ensure that the project meets its objectives as an educational intervention. It implies that trainers should be educated in healthcare area and be aware about surgery operations, which assumes the need of preparation and collaboration with surgeons and hospital management to ensure that project scope and its objectives are met.

Critical Analysis of the Training Content

The Principles of Project Management

The basic principles of project management include several critical aspects that should be evaluated in terms of applicability for surgery management practices. Based on this assumption, it is proposed to include the modules of project structuring, goal setting, project status transparency, risk recognition, managing project disturbances, roles management, and project success tracking (Rosenbaum, More and Steane, 2018). However, these areas are a subject for revision by hospital administration depending on the budget constraints and surgery team availability.

The first principle intended to be covered as a part of the training course is project structuring. Specifically, it covers the aspects of defining project goal, project timeline, and project milestones. For the surgery management, the tentative goal is to save the patient with the optimal use of resources at a lowest cost in terms of particular case of surgery, while the overall objective stems from the healthcare delivery principles of reducing human mistakes while undertaking a surgery process. Another important component is project timeline planning, which will be designed to explain how surgeons should plan their working plans to avoid heavy workloads and delegate responsibilities to nurses and other surgeons if appropriate (Khan and Sandhu, 2016). Project charting examples from other industries would be helpful to get surgeons familiarized with common approaches for the timeline estimations. Finally, trainers are supposed to reflect on the importance of milestone planning in terms of time and resources involved. For instance, surgeons are supposed to evaluate the time for surgery preparation, the deadline for the actual surgery based on the complexity of patient’s health conditions, and the post-surgery actions required for the patient’s recovery.

The second principle included in the training module relates to the goal setting. Since surgery management is not related to commercial success alike start-up projects or customer-focused efforts, it is assumed that the goal setting training should be tailored to the overall deliverables of surgery management and individual contribution of surgeons to healthcare services. Therefore, these principles will replicate the idea voiced by Kiisel (2011), where surgeons are advised to use checklists to understand the purpose of activities they undertake. Furthermore, the goal setting principle will be described in terms of team collaboration, where it is important to control and distribute project activities based on the skills and experience of the surgery department team members.

The third principle is the project status transparency, which is assumed to be vaguely comprehended by learners and therefore will be mostly used as an overarching idea for managing individual practices. It is fair to assume that under the project status we see either the success rate of all surgeries undertaken by the department during a fixed period, or a productivity of acknowledging new methods of surgery planning. Furthermore, based on the stakeholder analysis and hospital management practices overall it is important to consider the supervising and, to some extent, the regulatory role of hospital administration, which assumes that surgery results reporting is controlled and reported case by case (Khan, 2014; Smith, 2014). Therefore, the purpose of this training section is limited to enforcing the idea of project status reporting using computerized systems, documents, and participation in group meetings rather than using formal methods of project reporting status such as daily stand-ups and additional documentation management apprehended by agile practitioners.

The fourth principle important to be covered as a part of the training is a risk recognition. This part assumes the importance of using feedbacks and checklists to ensure that surgeons learn on both successes and failures of their colleagues. The rule of using risk management and risk mitigation plans will be used to ensure that learners are well trained to avoid issues related to the healthcare practice misuse (Parker et al., 2013). However, there is a limitation related to overconfidence in providing urgent surgeries, where personal experience and dedication dominates over the formal project planning guidelines.

The fifth principle relates to managing project disturbances caused by either internal or external factors. Internal factors relate to interpersonal conflicts, overtime work, personal issues, and pressure from the hospital management team in terms of reporting and following the formal standards of healthcare delivery practices. External factors relate to budgeting, the pressure of tight schedules depending on the availability of surgeons, as well as team contribution to the work undertaken by the hospital specialists. The suggested approach is to seek for the available opportunities for managing tasks and rights delegation, where highly experienced surgeons are supposed to share their experiences with younger individuals to avoid burnout, while also developing new healthcare specialists through the use of coaching and motivation practices.

The sixth principle that will be covered in the section is roles management. The initial plan is to use a common example of roles distribution in software development teams and replicate this example for the hospital management setting. For instance, since formally surgeons do not require a project manager, the example of shift supervisor who manages schedules, patient flows, and financial reporting will be considered instead. Alternatively, for the project sponsor role we will consider the head of cardiology who has approved project initiation. However, the explicit role differentiation typical for software development project will not be required here, hence the rest of roles such as surgeons, nurses, and assistants will be briefly informed about the means of reporting and data recording in line with project management standards.

Finally, the seventh principle included in a training scope is project success tracking. In this part, training participants will be introduced to the use of metrics as a common methodological approach. In this section, trainees will be provided with recommendations on what metrics is applicable in surgery management, such as time for operations, the post-surgery occupancy rate, time to recover, and surgery success rate (Serrador and Turner, 2015). Furthermore, trainees will be guided on the importance of designing and distributing survey to collect and analyze feedbacks from the team using quantitative methods of analysis.

The Importance of Agreeing Project Scope and Responsibilities

To ensure that trainees understand the importance of agreeing project scope and responsibilities, all participants will be invited to participate in a practical exercise. Specifically, trainees will be provided with a fictional project scope that outlines functionality requirements, data requirements, service delivery requirements, and cost estimations. Furthermore, research participants will be provided with a summary of project findings, assuming that overall it was not successful based on the final report and learnings from the lessons learned session. Based on the above materials, trainees will be asked to provide a group report, where they identify why the project failed and provide recommendations for the better roles management and distribution of tasks based on the project scope and budget (Choi, Raymond, and Margit 2018). It is assumed that such effort will contribute to developing better planning skills in surgery department, managing time, costs, and collaborate as a team of specialist where experience sharing is essential to avoid human mistakes and meet the requirements of quality healthcare service delivery.

Planning

In a section devoted to planning, trainees will be introduced to the aspect of envisioning project success through the use of project charter. Project planning part will be essential for hospital administration and shift supervisors, since they are responsible for task delegation and process effectiveness control, while surgeons will also find the planning part useful to determine their capabilities for performing highly effective surgeries and balancing time for work and life. First, trainees will be familiarized with the importance of project objectives setting to ensure that standards of quality healthcare services are followed. Second, trainees will be introduced to the concepts of project assumptions and constraints, which is essential to assist the team of surgeons with effective time management practices and focus on executing their primary roles as specialists in performing surgeries rather than additional roles delegated to then informally (Svata, 2015). Finally, the planning section will cover the importance of risk management and contingency planning, which is probably the most important for surgeons in terms of coping with risks of unsuccessful surgery, changes in patient’s conditions, and dealing with colleagues who fail to deal with basic tasks or feel fatigued.

Methodologies

To ensure that trainees are effective in integrating project management principles in surgery management practice, one of the training modules will be devoted to the use of methodologies. The module will be based on statistical concepts of quantitative and qualitative methodologies that are used for data collection and analysis. For the quantitative part, trainees will be introduced to the importance of distributing surveys among team members and patients required to develop numerical models for tracking service delivery progress and search for the gaps and human mistakes frequency. For the qualitative part, trainees will be introduced to the principles of content analysis and thematic analysis required to be used for coding interview data and finding common themes and patterns in responses of stakeholders after completing interviews. Finally, trainees will be introduced to the concept of data triangulation, which assumes that project findings are most effective when qualitative and quantitative approaches are used together, since it contributes to better awareness of the problem and allows developing more constructive mitigation strategies.

Tools and Techniques

The next part of the training will introduce several tools and techniques that might be useful for the surgery team:

  • Project planning software: trainees will be introduced with Microsoft Project as the main software tool used for project planning and tracking to understand how resources, times, and cost constraints could be managed through the use of reporting and diagramming
  • Checklists: surgery team will be trained how to use checklists to ensure that all stakeholders are prepared for the surgery based on their main responsibilities and experience
  • Team meetings: trainees will be advised on the importance of using regular meetings to share their experiences or concerns based on the recent events or new requirements for the service conduct approved by hospital management
  • Lessons learned session: trainees will be introduced to the technique of documenting essential steps of the project that could be used by other colleagues in the future to avoid mistakes made by project team members in the past (McLeese, 2015)

Building and Leading Teams

The final part of the training will familiarize trainees with the principles of building and leading effective teams. Since these activities are initiated from the beginning of the project and further are monitored and controlled through the course of the project by various groups of stakeholders. Recruiting project team members is the fist stage required to be comprehended by trainees. Specifically, surgeons and hotel administration will be advised on the importance of using both internal recruitment among available team member, and external recruitment, when internal resources are scarcely available or not available at all. Building teams in surgery management will also assumes that teams are built through coaching and regular learning, which helps to share critical knowledge among the other team members and develop the culture of continuous learning in healthcare through both research and practice (Sunindijo, 2015). Finally, for the leading teams section trainers will focus on defining and explaining leadership theories and skills essential in surgery management based on the principles of transformational and participative leadership. These principles will help to change team practices that they identify as less effective and learn how to participate in team problem solving.

Project Plan

Table 1 provides draft project plan which highlights the work breakdown structure and resource breakdown structure for the training along with a draft budget.

Table 1. Project plan for the surgery team training in project management.

WBS Items Time Estimate Predecessor/relationships Resources Quality check-ups Estimated Budget
1. Project planning 5.5 weeks $22,500
1.1. Project team recruitment and consolidation 2 weeks Project manager, project sponsor, recruitment agencies $20,000
1.2. Project plan and project charter drafting 1 week 1.1. FS Project manager $500
1.3. Organizational needs sensing 2 weeks 1.1. FS; 1.2. SS Market researchers $2,000
1.4. Getting approval from project sponsor 0.5 week 1.2. FS; 1.3. FS Project manager, project sponsor * N/A
2. Requirements analysis 6.5 weeks $8,000
2.1. Conducting interviews with hospital management and surgeons 2 weeks 1.4. FS Trainers, HR/administrative specialists $3,000
2.2. Conducting stakeholder analysis 2 weeks 1.4. FS Market researchers $3,000
2.3. Surveying recent patients 1 week 2.1. FS Market researchers $1,000
2.4. Writing recommendations report 1 week 2.1. FS; 2.2. FS; 2.3. FS Project manager * $1,000
2.5. Getting approval from hospital management 0.5 weeks 2.4. FS Project manager, project sponsor N/A
3. Training preparation 8 weeks $20,500
3.1. Training content development 3 weeks 2.5. FS Trainers (group 1) $10,000
3.2. Case study development 2 weeks 2.5. FS; 3.1. FF Trainers (group 2) $6,000
3.3. Scheduling training sessions 1 week 2.5. FS HR/administrative specialists $2,000
3.4. Assigning stakeholders for training delivery 1 week 2.5. FS; 3.1. FS; 3.2. FS Project manager, trainers, hospital management $1,500
3.5. Communication and approval from trainees 1 week 3.3. FS; 3.4. FS HR/administrative specialists * $1,000
4. Training delivery 12 weeks 3.5. FS Trainers $15,000
5. Follow-up activities 3.5 weeks
5.1. Trainee satisfaction survey 1 week 4 FS Trainers, HR/administrative specialists $3,000
5.2. Feedback analysis and reporting 2 weeks 5.1. FS Market researchers * $3,000
6. Lesson learned session and celebration 0.5 week 5.2. FS All team members * $2,000
Total Budget 36 weeks $68,000

Learning Reflection from the Course

The need for well-trained project managers is highly demanded on the market. The traditional approach used for training project manager comprises new separate directions such teaching the appropriate body of knowledge based on the Project Management Principles (PMP) and further continuing with training certified managers on the job. Teaching the appropriate knowledge is followed by exam which conforms to certification, while training on the job is mostly expensive and requires significant time investments from project management to manage ongoing project and learn of the fly. Investments in job training were recently reported as those which could be minimized through use simulations performed like trainings in a lab setting Taher, Krotov, and Silva, 2015). The Project Manager Trainer (PMT) course is specifically devoted to the use of tools, techniques, and methodologies that could address the gap of project management learning in uncommon but dynamic environment, such as surgery management. Hence, this personal reflection outlines the importance of PMT course to acquire critical skills and competences for the well-trained project manager.

First, it is important to describe what skills and competencies I consider the most important for me as a future project manager personally. The first group of skills and competencies are people skills, leadership, and listening. Being people-centric skills and competences, they require time to be developed as project managers mature and become involved in more complex projects (Mathews, Tan and Marzec, 2015). However, the choice of these skills and competences does not suggest that they preferred over the other skills. For instance, let us consider the case of three projects: a project with a very large scope, a project with high uncertainty, and novel project that seeks for innovative thinking. For the first project, leadership will be probably the most important to manage it effectively, while listening and people skills might be less important comparing to other skills such as planning (Khosravi, Rezvani and Ashkanasy, 2020). A project with high uncertainty will also require less people-centric skills instead of being confident in risk management. However, for a novel project all three skills and competences should be conspired as priority to ensure that team communication fosters innovation and requires extensive opinion sharing.

The second group of skills outlined as the most important for my future career are building trust, building teams, and integrity. Building trust is needed to minimize project conflicts and develop productive relationship based on the principles of transparency in action (Hetemi, E., Jerbrant, A. and Mere, 2020). Building trust could be a sensitive topic for some project managers who tend to succeed in early stages of their careers with smaller project teams where building trust is relatively easy, while further being assigned for a larger project that requires more effort in building trust among diverse team members (McLaren and Loosemore, 2019). Integrity refers to the ability to manage actions and consistency in project activities. Building team has something in common with building trust, since trust is a prerequisite for accepting the leadership style of a project manager. However, in many cases building trust occurs after building team, when the newly assembled team starts to report frequent interpersonal conflicts and fails to resolve assigned problems without strict supervision.

Finally, the third group of skills I would reflect on are planning, critical thinking and problem solving. Planning is important to monitor and control project success after the launch. Critical thinking is primary needed for highly technical projects with a lot of documentation and system involved, while it is also required to analyze project input information and data as thoroughly as possible to avoid conflicts and rework. Alternatively, problem solving is typical for any project, since basically any project teams experience problems with planning, communication, resource optimization, and budgeting at some stage of the project, where it is role of project manager to resolve these issues through communication and critical thinking (Berggren, 2019). Problem solving and critical thinking are also highly related to listening competence, since problem resolution and considering opinions of others through interview, team meeting, and feedback sessions. However, as previously mentioned, the importance of these skills varies from project to project while should be developed in parallel.

Some of the key challenges to manage projects effectively depending on the project nature and complexity, and the choice of appropriateness in structuring skills and competencies based on the project nature were identified above. However, there is also a set of factors where the use of identified competencies and skills together could be helpful:

  • Conflicts of interests or conflicts in requirement specification provided by the customer, which requires major rework in the middle of the project and requires negotiating changes in project scope while also remain professional and constructive (Cerimagic, 2010)
  • Personal matters of team members that forces them to quit the project and requires project crashing, searching and onboarding new members, a redistribution of tasks without hiring new team member (Darrell, Baccarini and Love, 2010)
  • External shocks such as economic crises, military conflicts, pandemics, and weather shocks that require flexibility in meeting revised project objectives and eventually operate under short timing (Mac Donald, Rezania and Baker, 2020)
  • Highly demanding customers that are not satisfied with project deliverables are require constant revision of deliverables and criticize team members for unprofessionalism (Mainga, 2017)

Skills and Competences Self-Assessment

Based on the critical reflection for skills and competence, identified for myself as a future project manager, the self- assessment is further provided and summarized in Table 1. The self-assessment was based on the PMI standard for assessing project managers, requiring the evaluate to assess each competence from 0 to 3, where 0 indicate no training and experience at, 1 indicates training with no experience, 2 indicates experience and knowledge without training, and 3 indicates that the respondent is both trained and educated. Further, the self-evaluation form suggests grouping identified competences as general knowledge, project management knowledge, and technical knowledge. The proficiency in each group is further estimated by percentage score calculated as a sum of self-evaluation responses divided by max possible responses. The overall success rate is further calculated as average value for the three groups.

Table 2. Self-assessment report.

Competence Title Competence Overview Score
General knowledge
People skills Sufficiently uses a range of interpersonal skills to demonstrate understanding, friendliness, courtesy, empathy, and polite attitude to others. Is capable to develop and maintain productive relationships with others. Seeks for the ways of dealing with others who in difficult situations or feel either hostile or distressed 2
Leadership Successfully influences, motivates and challenges others; users various leadership styles to resolve specific work situation depending on the urgency. Is a subject matter expert in legal and government aspects such as knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, government regulations, and the principles of democratic political process. Is capable of integrating past experience into project and coach project team members on best practices 1
Listening Is able to listen to the problems of others, recommends effective solution based on what is heard, uses note-taking to understand the point communicated, clarifies conflicting points in communication, and provides feedback based on the notes, problem awareness, and perception 2
Project management knowledge
Planning Effectively organizes work, clearly sets priorities, and determines the needs for resource requirements. Is capable to establish both short-term and long-term project objectives and associated execution strategies, coordinates execution with other organizations and team, and is efficient monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of results 1
Building trust Is capable of developing a culture of productive project management team through communicating openly and empowering others to communicate openly as well. Effectively implements practices such as team meetings, team buildings, and lessons learned sessions to ensure that all teams are equally contribute to the project execution. 2
Building teams Has extensive knowledge in managing diverse team, both on the local and global scale. Has experience in successfully managing team in different culture; and demonstrates awareness of working with large project teams. Shares best practices of managing teams and is open to feedback from others 1
Technical knowledge
Critical thinking Is able to process high amount of data and information in a short time and come up with professional and concrete findings. Integrates critical thinking tools such as flow charts, diagrams, and dashboard in project execution and links tools to the daily processes or the organization. 1
Problem solving Is able to resolve major problems or issues emerged in the project through collection of as many as possible quantitative and qualitative data that is provided by many sources. Provides clear guidelines for problem resolution and carefully monitors the progress through interviews and reporting. 1
Integrity Is a champion in integrating systems, people, and processes in a short time. Has profound knowledge of information technology used for the project, and ensure that others are well trained and coached in use of these methodologies 1
Rating
General knowledge score 55.6%
Project management knowledge score 44.4%
Technical knowledge score 33.3%
Overall rating: 44.44%

The overall rating that the highest mastery score in self-assessment has been acquired for the general knowledge score (55.6%), followed by the project management knowledge score (44.44%), and technical knowledge score. Hence, the personal development plan will be focused on developing technical skills and on the job training to address the areas with the lowest scores acquired in self assessment. Appendix features the personal development plan for the upcoming year.

Reference List

Ajmal, M., Malik, M. and Saber, H. (2017) ‘Factor analyzing project management practices in the United Arab Emirates’, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 10(4), pp. 749-769.

Bengston, A., Havila, V. and Aberg, S. (2018) ‘Beyond project closure: Why some business relationships recur in subsequent projects’, Project Management Journal, 49(2), pp. 89-104.

Berggren, C. (2019) ‘The cumulative power of incremental innovation and the role of project sequence management’, International Journal of Project Management, 37(3), pp. 461-472.

Cerimagic, S. (2010) ‘Influence of culture on projects practices: insights from Australian project managers in UAE’, Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3(4), pp. 277-288.

Choi, E., Raymond, J. and Margit, H. (2018) ‘Facilitating course connections and transitions to project closure in service learning’, The Journal of Experimental Education, 41(4), pp. 411-424.

Darrell, V., Baccarini, D. and Love, P. E. (2010) ‘Demystifying the folklore of the accidental project manager in the public sector’, Project Management Journal, 41(5), pp. 56-63.

Gandhi, P. (2013) ‘Configuration management and change management’, International Journal of Advances in Engineering & Technology, 6(2), pp. 601-605.

Hetemi, E., Jerbrant, A. and Mere, J.O. (2020). ‘Exploring the mergence of lock-in in large-scale projects: A process view’, International Journal of Project Management, 38(1), pp. 47-63.

Khosravi, P., Rezvani, A. and Ashkanasy, N.M. (2020) ‘Emotional intelligence: A preventive strategy to manage destructive influence of conflict in large scale projects’, International Journal of Project Management, 38(1), pp. 36-46.

Kiisel, T. (2011) What a heart surgeon could learn from a project manager. Web.

Khan, A.U. (2014) ‘Effects of cultural assimilation on the performance of a construction project – evidence from UAE’, Benchmarking, 21(3), pp. 430-449.

Khan, A. and Sandhu, M. (2016), ‘Benchmarking national culture and decent work practice indicators in project-based industry’, Benchmarking, 23(3), pp. 490-518.

Mac Donald, K., Rezania, D and Baker, R. (2020) ‘ A grounded theory examination of project managers’ accountability’, International Journal of Project Management, 38(1), pp. 27-35.

Mainga, W. (2017) ‘Examining project learning, project management competencies, and project efficiency in project-based firms (PBFs)’, International Journal in Managing Projects in Business, 10(3), pp. 454-504.

Mathews, R.L., Tan, K.H. and Marzec, P.E. (2015). ‘Organizational ambidexterity within process improvement’, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 26(4), pp. 458-476.

McLaren, M. and Loosemore, M. (2019) ‘Swift trust formation in multi-national disaster project management teams’, International Journal of Project Management, 37(8), 979-988

McLeese, K.R. (2015) ‘What’s in your rule book? A common sense approach to plan documentation’, Benefits Law Journal, 28(1), pp. 53-57.

Parker, D., Verlinden, A., Nussey, R., Ford, M. and Pathak, R.D. (2013), ‘Critical evaluation of project-based performance management’, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 62(4), pp. 407-419.

Rosenbaum, D., More, E. and Steane, P. (2018). ‘Planned organisational change management’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 31(2), pp. 286-303.

Serrador, P and Turner, R (2015), ‘The relationship between project success and project efficiency’, Project Management Journal, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 30-39.

Smith, P. (2014) ‘Project cost management – global issues and challenges’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 119, pp. 485-494.

Sunindijo, R. Y. (2015) ‘Project manager skills for improving project performance’, International Journal of Business Performance Management, 16(1), pp. 67-83.

Svata, V. (2015) ‘The quality of IS/IT: How it can be assessed?’, Journal of Systems Integration, 6(2), pp. 3-14.

Taher, N.A.B., Krotov, V. and Silva, L. (2015) ‘A framework for leading change in the UAE public sector’, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 23(3), pp. 348-363.

ul Musawir, A., Abd-Karim, S.P. and Mohd-Danuri, M.S. (2020) ‘Project governance and its role in enabling organizational strategy implementation: A systematic literature review’, International Journal of Project Management, 38(1), pp. 1-16.

Appendix

Personal Development Plan.

Competence Area Focus areas Strategies
General knowledge Leadership Research academic publications on the use of leadership strategies by effective project managers. Participate in leadership skills development training. Shortlist leadership characteristics and practice those on the job
Project management knowledge Planning, building teams Familiarize oneself with case studies that show examples of effective and ineffective leadership. Improve MS Project skills through learning
Technical knowledge Critical thinking, problem solving, integrity Research tools and techniques that are used by project managers to improve their skills and knowledge, critical thinking. Consult PMP graduates in strategies and approach to improve critical thinking and problem solving

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