Effective Communication As A Project Manager

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Photo: Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

Background

Megan Weber is a Project Manager in Oak Harbor, WA for the Military Health System, and is overseeing the implementation of a new electronic health record for the Naval Hospital. She is originally from Cleveland, OH and moved to Washington State back in 1991. She is also a diehard Steeler’s football fan with a large amount of memorabilia in her office.

Educational and Professional Background

Megan also is a Licensed Practical Nurse and graduated from Jane Addams School of Nursing in 1991. After graduation, she worked as a Staff Developer and Trainer for a reputable nursing home for 5 years before switching to dermatology. She also has previous experience as an electronic health record System Administrator and Trainer. She believes that nursing teaches you not only to be patient, but how to adapt to environments and anticipate constant change. Working as a System Administrator and Trainer also helped her with her project management career. She feels that project management is similar because it is constantly changing and it would be difficult to successfully manage a project without burning out or working effectively with others.

Project Manager Duties

Currently, Megan is in charge of coordinating and scheduling staff training for a new electronic health record. She says she is scheduling 422 end users into 1,120 different training sessions. Since this is an important government project, many people high up in the government are closely monitoring the implementation progress. She says that when everyone assigned to those training sessions actually show up to their assigned training classes is a huge win for her. There are many parties involved on this project, and when she starts to see that communication is starting to be misinterpreted, she falls back on scheduling face-to-face team meetings and re-clarification to ensure that everyone is on the same page and is sharing the same information.

Forms of Communication as a Project Manager

Megan utilizes all forms of communication at work such as oral communication and written correspondences. She frequently communicates via phone, texts, emails, and in-person. As a project manager, constant interaction with all parties involved is important in the implementation phase of an electronic health record. She interacts daily with key people such as hospital command leaders, department heads, healthcare providers, nurses, and corpsman. She also communicates frequently with vendors and trainers from the electronic health record company. To ensure that this electronic health record implementation is successful, she must be an effective communicator at work.

Communication Preferences

Communication is Megan’s number one tool. She believes that half of her time spent during the day is through written communication and the other half is through verbal communication. She does not think she would be able to perform the necessary tasks that are expected of her without written communication. Although both are important for her job, she prefers to communicate verbally in face-to-face communication because she feels that less is lost in translation that way.

Communication Behaviors

Project Management can be very stressful, especially when juggling many projects. Megan says that it is important to have a level head at all times to be an effective communicator. If you are a hot head or easily riled, the project could derail rather quickly. She also believes that follow through with assigned tasks is another important behavior in effective communication.

Final Words

Megan says, “Communication is your number one tool. If you want people to take you seriously and respect what you have to say, then proof read all your emails, memos, and text messages before sending them out. Ensure that required attachments have been included before hitting the send button. Keep communications on point and with a purpose. Know your material, and don’t give answers unless you know them. If you aren’t sure, tell them so, but find the right answer and follow-up. Establishing trust keeps the dialog open. Especially in regards to written communication.”

June Amador, Guest Blogger

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