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A project manager’s place in healthcare – during and beyond a pandemic

 MS MS

Published: 17th November 2020

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic those that have been hardest hit in employment were professionals in the medical supply and medical sector. The role of the project manager became particularly important to those employers and their employees within these sectors.

Whilst almost every industry was hit hard by the pandemic, it  was the medical sector who were hit worst and are still under a considerable strain; care homes, dentists, hospitals or even private medical companies – for each of these, project management professionals can help by playing a vital role in helping them to improve.

A project managers course will touch on the fact that as a project manager you will need to be used to working under pressure and this is true regardless of the industry you find yourself working in. The role of a project manager during a crisis is important but it doesn’t stop there; post crisis there is still plenty that they will need to do

The healthcare industry has suffered significantly not only with supply issues but also with quality control, staffing levels and of course finances during the pandemic and the help of a well organised project manager is vital to help them move out of the pandemic.

Service and supply chains

Healthcare needs to be ready for another crisis and this means knowing where things fell short during the first wave of the pandemic in March. It doesn’t matter where the shortages were, we need to learn from the past mistakes and more forward. A project manager needs to be able to identify and manage both the supply chain and any gaps in operations. They should liaise with front line staff and leaders to ensure that they know exactly what is going on and devise plans that will ensure that moving forward the shortfalls of the past are covered

Look for leadership challenges

There can be circumstances when it is important to identify any issues with skills and leadership. This does not mean that existing leaders should be let go but rather that they may be lacking in the essential knowledge and skills that will allow them to be more effective in their role under extreme circumstances. These are the people that might benefit from some of the skills for project managers that a qualified project profesional can help pass on.

Look for staffing gaps

Whilst it might be true that healthcare workers were exempt from the stay at home rules, they were on the frontline leading to many being at risk of contracting COVID-19. This created gaps in staffing that are still there. Limits on PPE created a greater number of healthcare workers who found themselves needing to self-isolate. Project managers can work with hospitals and the government to help plug these gaps and protect workers in the future to prevent this happening again. Whether this means sourcing more PPE or looking at risk management there is a gap that need filling and fast if we are to move forward.

Preparedness plans

Crises happen every day in all types of industry and we are by no means out of the woods as far as the pandemic is concerned. Mistakes were made at the beginning of March and it is vital to learn from these mistakes so that we do not make the same ones again. Looking at possible scenarios and working out what can be put in place to prevent significant problems is a must, whether you are joining a project mid-way through or beginning a new one from scratch.

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