Category: Uncategorized

Is The US Healthcare System Sick?

In essence, the healthcare system in the United States is sick.  The high cost of care has increasingly created numerous barriers and resulted in poor patient outcomes. It is, therefore, fundamental for policymakers to transform the current American healthcare system, thus preventing it from collapsing due the existing economic burden. Key players should also lobby the government to benchmark with other developed nations known for the provision of affordable and high-quality healthcare.

Read also Evolution of US Healthcare System since Post Industrial Period

Compare how much the United States and Europe spend on healthcare every year

            The federal government has always reaffirmed its commitment to providing universal care and safeguarding its citizen’s well-being. It is for this reason that the United States channels considerable amounts of resources towards healthcare in its annual budget. On average, the United spends more money on healthcare compared to other developed countries in Europe. This prevailing state of affairs has been blamed on the high price of pharmaceutical goods and services in North America. Furthermore, the United States is ranked top among other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its annual spending on healthcare and related activities. In 2019, the federal government allocated $3.6 trillion towards healthcare, which far exceeds the 3% to 14% of the national budget in which Switzerland remains (World Health Organization, 2019).  Also, policymakers are cognizant of this reality and have promoted the implementation of the Affordable Carte Act to remedy emerging challenges related to limited insurance coverage.

Read also Healthcare Utilization and Finance – UK vs USA

Metrics Used to Measure Health and Where the United States fall According to those Metrics

Health metrics are important measures in healthcare which aid nations in identifying the best strategies to employ when seeking to improve the general health and well-being of their populations. These parameters also track performance of programs and health initiatives employed to improve the system. Health metrics identify crucial areas of individual’s wellbeing and inform the aspiration of major states. They also foster an environment where evolving insights are encouraged and considered to introduce cumulative gains. Health metrics now guide the Department of Health and Human Services in its quest of improving multi-level health outcomes within all levels of society. This clear sense of direction enables government agencies to champion for the introduction of reforms to improve the current system and level of performance. Life expectancy, infant mortality rate, causes of premature death and personal healthcare access are the most common healthcare metrics in use today.  The United States has a life expectancy of 78 years, an infant mortality rate of 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live, poor lifestyle choices as the leading cause of premature death with only 91.5% of the population with health insurance (“Health System Metrics,” 2019). These metrics thus guide healthcare reform by identifying areas requiring immediate attention and focus.

Rationale for the Role of Government in Healthcare

            Government plays a major role in healthcare.  It is one of the major benefactors of the sector and seeks to promote early prevention to avert future healthcare challenges. The United States Constitution highlights this in its “general welfare” clause which underscores its commitment to safeguarding individuals from infectious diseases and related hazards. The federal government also actively seeks to improve the quality of care by establishing adequate public health infrastructure.  This is particularly important in maintaining a well-functioning system, public health and quality improvement. Elaborate campaigns also promote healthy behavior which also goes a long way in preventing the spread of communicable diseases.       

Read also The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) And How It has Impacted American Government and Society

By so doing, the population is always assured of health services while facilitating collaboration between local governments and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (Schulte, 2011). Poverty is also a salient factor in government intervention.  Low socio-economic levels often mean that individuals are unable to secure healthcare insurance which ultimately makes them ineligible to receive care from facilities across different states.  The federal government, therefore, seeks to increase access to care by reducing poverty through progressive tax, public assistance programs and managing the economy.

Read also Proposal for New Healthcare Legislation to be Presented by Political Party to United States Citizens

How Healthcare might be Reformed to Address High Costs and Limited Coverage

            The high cost of care and limited coverage in the United States can be addressed through elaborate healthcare reform initiatives. This can be done through the creation of a robust framework where providers are organized around patient’s needs. Through this policy, health facilities will implement patient-focused care which is cheaper and convenient. Consolidating the services provided in healthcare facilities is also capable of lowering the cost of care in the United States (Leatt & Mapa, 2016). Amalgamating crucial services such cardiovascular services in a single care facility will, therefore, improve the quality of care dramatically while reducing cost. Eradicating the free-for-service payment system is also capable of eliminating a perverse model which reimburses medical practitioners and care facilities based on volume of services as opposed to quality. Furthermore, embracing technology is also bound to improve the healthcare system through reliance on comprehensive electronic health records, incorporating telehealth services and using big data to predict trends within the industry.   

Read also Impact of The Growth of Health Care Cost on The Government and Employers

Prospective Advantages and Disadvantages of a Single-payer System

The single-payer health care system utilizes a single pool of funds for the payment of medical bills. This system has several pros and cons. One of the major advantages of the single-payer health care system is unlimited insurance coverage which enables individuals to gain access to physicians and treatment. Additionally, all providers within this healthcare system are paid at the same rate, allowing medical providers to always remain aware of the expected payment. It also fosters a spending leverage by relying on prescription medication and the application of technological advancements. Costs are also reduced while also minimizing the use of health insurance. Nevertheless, single-payer health care system has been criticized for creating a suitable environment for providers to opt for private-pay only. Additionally, it does not solve the doctor shortage problem and requires a steady pool of resources to be successful.

MyPlate – Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020 identify objectives related to nutrition and food safety. What are your thoughts on MyPlate? How do you think it compares to other versions of daily requirements? Do you think MyPlate would work in your population? Why? Or why not?

The Healthy 2020 initiative recently identified nutrition and food safety as health-related spheres requiring immediate attention within the United States. Among its main objectives is transforming food practices while also making certain that foodborne illnesses are histrionically reduced. Healthy 2020’s objective is motivated by the fact that foodborne represent a growing public health concern responsible for a stark rise in preventable deaths. This ultimately leads to significant costs in health care for a sizeable population and a seemingly insurmountable challenge for at-risk populations (Edelman et al., 2018).

Read also Identified Disparities to Health Within the Healthy People 2020 – Questions and Sample Answers

Similarly, MyPlate is a contemporary campaign introduced by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion to serve as a fitting guide for nutrition. The MyPlate logo is now openly exhibited on food packaging with the aim of educating consumers about the nutritional value of specific items (Bauer et al., 2015, p. 57). I firmly believe that MyPlate is a positive approach to nutrition bound to improve the health and well-being of Americans through proper diet. Its guidelines balance the intake of vegetables, grains, fruits, and dairy products. Compared to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines and Reference Daily Intake (RDI), MyPlate offers a concise nutritional parameter which consequently ensures that individuals consume a balanced diet by relying on the four main food groups.

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MyPlate recommends that individuals consume about 10 percent fruits, 20 percent protein, 30 percent grains, 40 percent vegetables and the remainder on a portion of dairy products (“MyPlate Plan,” 2019). Thus, I firmly believe that MyPlate would work if applied in my local Carson City, Nevada population. It will provide a robust structure for individuals to consume a balanced diet which will ultimately improve their health and vitality. Furthermore, it will also be fitting for organizational structures within the jurisdiction seeking to promote a balance between calorific intake and a concomitant level of physical activity to help address the obesity epidemic.

Read also Healthy People 2020 Diabetes Objective

Mental Health – Health Disparity and How it is Being Addressed at Local and National Level

The Healthy People Consortium is one of the most renowned organizational conglomerates whose primary goal is the full implementation of the Healthy People 2020 campaign. The objective of this initiative is health promotion by enabling individuals to attain high-quality lives, ultimately allowing them to live longer disease-free lives. As part of this bold initiative, Healthy People 2020 seeks to improve mental health by ensuring patients receive suitable and quality mental health services. This is particularly essential since the United States is currently grappling with varied disparities in access to mental health services (Edelman et al., 2018).

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On average, rural Americans and ethnic minorities such as African-Americans, Native-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have limited access to mental health services compared to Caucasian Americans. This is partly due to a low socio-economic status, inadequate access to trained professionals and restricted access to crucial information regarding the grave nature of mental health conditions. Conditions stemming from mental disorder can result in debilitating effects and one of the most typical causes of disability (Williams et al., 2019).

Read also Identified Disparities to Health Within the Healthy People 2020 – Questions and Sample Answers

Additionally, the accompanying disease burden also creates hurdles for medical professionals when seeking to provide their much-needed services. It is for this reason that governments at the local and national levels now responded appropriately to address this protracted debacle. The local government in Chesapeake, Virginia is an example of a local government that has embarked on a robust initiative to reduce mental health disparities (“Mental Health,” 2019).

Read also Cancer Prevention – Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Elected officials within the jurisdiction have introduced of an elaborate multi-sectorial approach as a framework for mental healthcare promotion. Local governments can also apply a socio-ecological approach to responding to the mental health crisis by evaluating its effect on the community and adopting a place-based framework for intervention. At the national level, policymakers can address this challenge by passing crucial health reform legislation preventing discrimination and exclusion in healthcare (Wojciechowski, 2018, p. 395). The national government should also, through its agencies, provide adequate tools and resources to the public to raise mental health awareness and inform individuals on the availability of relevant treatment programs.

How Implementation of Medication Safety Promotes Evidence Based Nursing Practice

Medication Safety Standards

Medication safety is one of the most prominent health service standards seeking to introduce aspects of safety and quality in health service standards.  This is because the use of medication is the most prevalent type of treatment intervention globally. Adherence to directions on how to use medications safely promotes significant improvements to patient’s wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 2.6 million deaths annually are attributed to medical errors (World Health Organization, 2019). Healthcare professionals are commonly the first line of defense in promoting the proper use of medication at facilities. They also provide useful guidance to patients on how best to use prescription drugs to prevent misuse that may result in dependence or even death. The medication safety standard, therefore, forestalls incidences of preventable harm originating from the use of medication.  Issues related to this standard can affect the health outcomes of persons undergoing treatment for a specific ailment. Improper use of medication can also lengthen patient’s stay within a care facility, ultimately increasing the cost of health through additional readmission fees. Thu, medication safety is an integral standard useful in reducing the potential harm that patients can be subjected to during treatment. Executives in healthcare facilities are now required to introduce systematic monitoring with the aim of making sure the medication errors do not occur. This promotes then safety of patients while assuring them of effective and quality use of medication. The execution and full integration of medication safety standards requires hiring competent clinicians. Expertise in the field is crucial in enabling them to prescribe appropriate medication safely while monitoring continued use by patients.

            Medication safety standards also entail the dissemination of fundamental information about an assortment of medicines and potential risks associated with prolonged use. Clinical leaders are tasked with bolstering efforts to support proper medication management by relying on a wide range of organizational structures within the facility. The presence of this elaborate system promotes medication safety through the appropriate obtaining, storage, manufacturing and dispensing of medication. Medication safety standards require medical facilities to document personal patient information and use this data before commencing with treatment. A detailed history of the medication used during treatment provides significant data linked to drug interactions, adverse reactions and allergies to specific medications. From this point, clinicians are expected to implement principles of medication safety standards by managing continuity. A review of all medications prescribed to a patient is conducted before informing of their specific medical needs and potential for risk. Medication safety standards also include the process of management. It is vital to procure medicines with a track record of safety, in addition to proper disposal after use. The application of this approach is associated with improvements in patient’s health and wellbeing.         

Adverse medical events caused by the improper use of medication affects a patient’s quality of life though an increased frequency in health complications. Medication safety standards elucidate the integral nature of workforce communication in reducing errors that are commonly made during treatment. It also promotes the development a partnership between patients and clinicians. This ensures that they have an unprecedented access patient data before making a determination of the best clinical decision to make given the circumstances.

Rationale for the Inclusion of Medication Safety in Health Service Standards

            The inclusion of medication safety in health service standards was occasioned by the significant rise in medical errors recorded within the healthcare system. The inclusion of medication safety in health service standards was, therefore, meant to introduce a comprehensive strategy to reduce medication errors while assisting patients to gain a broad understanding of specific medical conditions.  Medication safety standards were also meant to improve the efficacy of medication during use. It seeks to reduce incidences of wrong dosages either through prescription or administration by a healthcare provider. Medication safety standards are also a necessity since errors till occur in healthcare settings where sophisticated technology is applied. They were also meant to ensure that healthcare facilities followed a workable routine to prevent cases of memory lapse caused by fatigue and often resulting in medical errors. The inclusion of medication safety standards now means that healthcare facilities strive to provide a fitting workplace environment where errors are least likely to occur. It also outlines common communication problems capable of causing errors and how to avoid them. Misunderstood written and verbal may result in cases of miscommunication and anomalies in the dosages that are to be prescribed and administered to patients (“Medication Safety in Hospitals: Avoiding Medication Errors in the Medication use Process,” 2013). Medication safety standards bolster concise medication reconciliation to prevent prescribing and paperwork errors. The ordering phase has recently been identified as a precarious stage where medication errors are likely to occur. Medication safety standards were introduced partly to address this challenge by reducing the sophistication of the seemingly mundane action of prescribing drugs in healthcare facilities.

            The incorporation of medication safety in health service standards was also a broad-based scheme to improve healthcare provider’s and patient’s knowledge of treatment plans. It includes updated references of all prescribed and administered medications for posterity. Through medication safety standards, physicians are now gain a succinct and in-depth understanding of ailments plaguing patients. This warrants accurate diagnoses of patient’s conditions and alternative treatments that can be employed in case of complications involving prescribed medications. Similarly, medication safety standards put all relevant conditions under consideration to ascertain appropriate treatment and route of administration. It also underscores high-alert medications such as intravenous oxytocin within the healthcare setting and the potential risk posed by errors (Merry, 2016). Medication safety also outlines steps that should be followed during the administration of medicine and considerations that should be made when seeking to continue treatment. It also advocates for patient education regarding the need for a specific treatment regimen involving precise medication. Any emerging need for the introduction of changes is also communicated to the patient in question to focus on elements bound to aid recuperation and recovery. Medication safety standards also provide a framework outlining best practices that should be applied to avoid. One of the most common techniques involves providing legible orders with constituent components. The conditions under which it should be administered should also be provided to reduce the risk of medical errors. Po re nata medication orders should also be accompanied by reasons for prescribing them to prevent the administration of similar-sounding medications.

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How Medication Safety Standards Promotes Competent Nursing

            Medication safety standards are implemented with the primary intention of preventing grave errors while promoting competent nursing.  To assure patients of their wellbeing, healthcare facilities only allow accredited nurses to prescribe and administer medication. This has the desired effect of reducing cases of medical errors by relying on proficient clinicians to offer health services to patients. Nurses also adopt essential approaches bound to improve their professional skills. These may include limiting verbal medication orders to exigent scenarios where electronic medication orders are not viable. Through this technique, nurses hone their skills and accuracy in relation to the provision of medication to prevent incongruities. Medication safety standards also provide directions on how to avoid interruptions at the workplace. This allows nurses to develop an advanced level of teamwork where all members coordinate their activities during the preparation of medications while minimizing interruptions. Medications safety standards foster the application of technological advancements to prevent errors. It offers nurses a unique opportunity to become well-versed in certified electronic health (EHR) technology thus improving their technical skills (Medicine et al., 2011, p. 45). This is further supported by healthcare facilities that offer bonuses to staff members with a descent grasp of EHR technology, inadvertently apply medication safety standards to promote competent nursing.

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            The introduction of medication safety standards now allows nurses to participate directly in the decision-making process while promoting patient education. Time and again, nurses have played a secondary role within the healthcare setting. However, medication safety standards are now responsible for elevating nurse’s position and now a major element of the decision-making mechanism in healthcare facilities.  Nurses are tasked with patient education and confirming that they fully comprehend their medical condition and prescribed medication. In the process, they learn how best to engage patients within a clinical setting which eventually makes them expert practitioners. Clinicians also take this opportunity to improve their knowledge of the wide range of medications available since patients are likely to pose questions when seeking clarification (Twigg et al., 2013, p. 541).

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Furthermore, they are also educated on aspects of quality improvement with the aim of acquiring additional medication management skills. Nurses also improve their assessment skills by adhering to provisions provided by medication safety standards. They are required to conduct an evaluation of current medication orders, history and treatment plan to determine the most suitable method of intervention. It is also through this process that clinical governance is integrated, allowing nurses to apply organization-wide systems during medication management. Skills obtained during this stage eventually become crucial during quality improvements while having an innate ability to partner with consumers. Nurses also develop contingency measures to respond to dire medicine-related incidents which may cause harm to patients.

Research and the Development of Safety and Quality in Health Care Standards

            Research entails the systematic review of relevant resources to arrive at an informed conclusion. The development of precise healthcare standards based on research is at the crux of clinical governance systems. Policymakers have, therefore, been known to conduct extensive research with the aim of identifying specific concerns within the care industry and improve health service performance. Research is also crucial in influencing leaders within a clinical setting to clamor for full implementation of healthcare standards to improve the quality of care and performance of the workforce. Clinical experts tasked with the development of healthcare standards also rely upon research to shape the organizational culture of facilities and organizations within the industry with the aim of ensuring that professionalism is always espoused (Holly et al., 2011, p. 23).  Research has also played a major role in determining necessary changes to be applied to existing policies based on their efficacy. Furthermore, it also aids clinicians in governance to make sound decisions based on specific managerial priorities. The promotion of appropriate relationships within the healthcare setting is also based on extensive research on the significance of collaboration between leaders, stakeholders, clinicians and patients in improving outcomes.  Research informs major resolutions that are to be made within a healthcare organization which makes certain that practitioners are confident of the choices made while constantly improving service.

            Research has also been responsible for the identification of high-quality healthcare practices such as medication safety and its instrumental nature. By focusing on the integrated nature of services within the healthcare setting, appropriate standards are crafted with the consumer’s wellbeing in mind.  The application of health service standards based on research ultimately ensures that care providers are accountable to patients by assuring them of safe, continuous and quality accredited services. Additionally, it also assures the community of delivery of evaluated services that have been thoroughly appraised before application. Standards originating from research guide leader’s actions by updating and reminding them of their role in upholding safety and quality. Research has also proved essential in the development a risk management approach guiding the implementation of healthcare protocols and service standards for the sole purpose of compliance. It provides an applicable framework to inform quality improvement systems bound to exponentially improve strategies applied when providing healthcare services. Through research, policymakers are also accorded a unique opportunity to identify areas requiring immediate attention in the context of safety and quality to respond in a timely manner whenever required. Additionally, common pitfalls are also identified to aid healthcare organizations in pinpointing organizational risks related to a general failure to apply health service standards.

Purpose and Rationale for Development of Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards 

            The inclusion of safety and quality within the health care standards framework is a relatively recent phenomenon adopted within the past century. One of the primary purposes of this drastic improvement within the healthcare industry was to integrate governance to aid in effective management of patient’s quality of health. The application of health service standards is now instrumental in the review and evaluation of safety and quality, making sure the wellbeing of patients is always assured. The development of safety and quality in health service standards was also meant to allow monitoring by clinical governance in a bid to ensure that policies are executed to the letter. It also introduced the element of compliance within the sector with practitioners now required to comply with applicable regulations. Moreover, safety and quality in health service standards aim to improve the quality of existing systems by identifying operational anomalies detrimental to patient’s wellbeing. Their introduction also meant that appraisal could now be conducted on a continual basis. This ensures that top executives now have adequate time to draft reports on the performance of existing safety and quality systems. The goal of their implementation was also to identify common risks to the wellbeing of consumers using conclusive data to improve the quality of care provided.            

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The rationale for the development of safety and quality in health service standards was based on the growing need for rapid and effective care within the sector. Health service standards now require facilities to possess aseptic infrastructure to improve patient outcomes. Also, its foundation was in the growing need for competent professionals capable of providing quality services to patients.  For instance, safety and quality in health service standards has been hailed by originators of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHSS) for promoting acquiescence (“implementation of National Safety and Quality Standards in Australia’s health system,” 2015). It does this by utilizing evidence-based clinical interventions which use empirical data to advance clinical practices. The main focus of this framework is the need for safety within the care environment by providing services in a fashion that averts preventable injuries and medical errors. The rationale for the development of safety and quality in health service standards also relies on scientific knowledge to develop guidelines which can be applied at the right at the right time while reducing delays in the provision of care. This ensures that efficiency becomes a priority within the healthcare industry in a manner that maximizes available resources for the best outcome. It is noteworthy that health-service standards were developed using a people-centered approach catering to the needs of individuals within a particular setting.

Read also Use of Bar-coded Medication Administration Technology to Enhance Quality and Safety Standards in Nursing – Annotated Bibliography

Conclusion

Safety and quality are increasingly becoming synonymous with health service standards within the medical sphere. Health service standards comprise invaluable codes which aim to assure patients of the safety and quality of health services provided. Research has played a central role in the development of health service standards by identifying specific concerns requiring swift action and improvement. The inclusion of safety and quality within the health care standards framework seeks to promote the effective management of patient’s wellbeing. Medication safety is one of the most protuberant health service standards with the aim of upholding safety and quality in health service standards. The rationale for its inclusion in health service standards offers a preview into the links shared with an attempt to reduce medical errors within the sector. Medication safety standards are now regarded as a positive development since they are now associated with professionalism while promoting competent nursing.

Innovate for Future Threats for United States Marine Corps

Over the past century, technological innovations have occurred rapidly and at an unprecedented rate. Futurist Ray Kurzweil now proposes that Moore’s principles of exponential doubling are applicable to technological advance since it is bound to continue experiencing progress in the future (Kurzweil, 2019, p. 45). The United States faces numerous challenges of varying degrees which is primarily why the Marine Corp’s has devoted its focus on possible future vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, this crucial branch of the United States Armed Forces faces emerging problems in an effort to innovate for future threats. The USMC possesses one of the advanced weapon’s systems in the world which it credits to technological innovation.

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While this has proven effective in preparing for future conflict, the prevalence of low-cost technology threatens the USMC aptitude in applying its innovations effectively in future.  Irregular war concerns by security experts have identified the presence of sophisticated low-cost technology currently used in rockets and drones as an impediment to major technological innovations made by the military. The distribution of this technology, particularly by Russia, China and Iran to proxy groups boosts the capabilities of rogue armed groups. Technology that bolsters future capabilities might possibly lead to the development of multi-role ballistic missiles, trajectory correcting missile systems and cheaper high-grade munitions with devastating implications (Scharre, 2019).

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 The USMC now plans to use artificial intelligence (A.I) within its capacity as a branch of the military and in preventing future threats facing the United States. It plans to employ AI in the programmed processing of data for unmanned systems used in command and control centers and on the field. Additionally, AI is also capable of streamlining processes by supporting human operations in the decision-making process. Pursuing AI is, therefore, meant to enable the USMC to use innovation to respond to domestic threats and in future battlefields.

Exploration of a Change Initiative

Exploration of a Change Initiative – Final Paper Instructions

We have determined that change is inevitable and subject to a number of variables attributing to the success or failure of the change process. The Final Paper is an exploration of a change initiative that you have personally experienced or researched. The paper should demonstrate your knowledge of the change process through a comprehensive analysis and discussion of the following aspects of organizational change. Your paper must include:

  • An identification and description of a professional change initiative personally experienced or researched.
  • A discussion of the change initiative as seen through the eyes of the leader and the follower.
  • A discussion of the successes and failures experienced during the change event.
  • An analysis of the concepts and theories used to facilitate the change process.
  • An evaluation of the impact of the change upon the organization.
  • A discussion on the sustainability of the change effort.

Read also Successful Change Initiative Vs Failed Change Initiative

Acquisition of Part of Nokia by Microsoft Company – Exploration of a Change Initiative Personally Researched

Change has turned out to be a part of every corporate existence and personal life. Most organizations are faced by change urgency due to changing internal and external business factors. According to Jalagat (2016), change is inevitable when it happens, hence it is irresistible. The inevitable nature of change has made various organizations to consider and adopt it as part of the existence of the company. Change is defined as any modification in processes, structure, employees, and management among other related activities. Subsequently, organizational change is defined as the practical observation in an organizational variations entity in the state, quality or shape over time. Any change efforts and initiatives according to Jalagat (2016) need to align with the corporate objectives and goals to guarantee organizational success. This implies that change management plays an essential role in responding to and handling change efficiently and in countering the change resistance notion. Change can bring negative and positive effects on organizational results. In this regard change management has turned to be an urgent concern. This paper focuses on exploring a change initiative that I have researched. The paper describes the change initiative, how it was perceived by participants and leaders and its success and failures. The paper also explores various change models and theories engaged in this change initiative.

Identification and Description of a Professional Change Initiative

The change initiative that will be regarded in this case is the Nokia change initiative that involves the acquisition of part of Nokia by Microsoft Company. Nokia Company felt the urge for change after experiencing a decade of struggle with its sale. Earlier the company was recorded as the leading mobile phone company in the world. However, the company was static to change toward the modern phone technology that resulted in the development of the smartphone. This together with the emergency of new, more innovative competitors made it hard for the company to keep up with the changing market competition. In this regard, the company experienced a grave decline in its sales revenue and profit. The company tried several changes including job cuts to reduce the cost of operation, with the hope of increasing its profitability. When this failed to attain the intended purpose the company management considered strategic partnership as a way of enhancing its competitiveness in the market. The strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft was meant to improve Nokia’s phone technology to developing smartphones.

Read also Change Management in Nokia Inc

Unlike other Nokia competitors who used android and Apple OS to create their phones, Nokia hoped to use Microsoft windows software to develop its smartphones. The company’s aim for change was to be able to integrate its hardware technology with Microsoft software technology to come up with a more unique smartphone that would be able to compete with the giant phone companies such as Samsung and iPhones in the market. The strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft revived the company’s survival in the market. However, this did not happen with other major structural and employee changes in the market. The change resulted in the loss of jobs for some employees in Nokia Company, the need for workers to fit in Microsoft culture or to work together with Microsoft workers who had a completely different organizational culture. There was also a change of command about phone development and integration in software. The sections below review how the strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft created change in the Nokia Company (Sign, 2014).

Read also The Nokia-Microsoft Alliance in the Global Smartphone Industry (circa 2011)

Change Initiative as Seen through the Eyes of the Leader and the Follower

The change initiative in Nokia was initiated by Nokia and Microsoft management. This was a planned change that involved several meetings and extensive discussion before the final decision was made. In the eyes of the Nokia leaders, this was an opportunity for the company to reclaim its market share and to avoid further losses. The acquisition offer also allowed the company to obtain money to invest in hardware development using modern technology, which has been the company’s main strength since its development. The Nokia leader focused on the financial advantage of the change. The company had been trying to manage its cost for a long time, after its sales were affected by obsolete technology, making it hard to compete with modern phone companies that were operating in a changing technology environment. Nokia needed to catch-up with the modern technology. To do this, the company needed to invest in research and development. The company also lacked software expertise and required the aid of another software specialized company to fulfill its dream of reclaiming phone market share in the world. This means the main focus of Nokia leaders to this change was to save the company from collapsing, to reclaim its market share by defeating other leading competitors in the market, and to invest more in research and development to be able to integrate modern phone technology in its hardware department. To the leaders, the change initiative was a great breakthrough to the Nokia Company (Khan, Raza & George, 2017).

Read also Ambivalence and Organizational Change

On the contrary, Nokia followers did not perceive the initiative positively. The company had already experienced serious job cuts as a way of managing cost an addressing a decline in their product demand in the market. Thus, to the followers, this was another threat to their jobs. The job insecurity surrounded most of them, especially those who were not working in the technology department. There was serious job insecurity in the company, with the majority expecting to lose their job as others feared losing their position of hierarchy as the two companies merge. Followers also expected other undesirable changes to come along with the new acquisition process. These included the need to work with another group of employees from a different organizational culture. There was a fear of harassment. Nokia employees feared that Microsoft workers would act superior to them as their company was the superior party in the strategic partnership. They also feared that they will be forced to change their work procedures and practices to fit in Microsoft culture. Nokia had Finnish culture and workers feared to work with a CEO in non-Finnish culture.  Other fears included change in employees’ job roles, working under new management and supervision, loss of their organization culture, and the fear of their general ability to cope in a new work environment (Sharma, 2014).

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The acquisition was also negatively viewed by trusted Nokia customers and most of the investors. Microsoft’s phone operating system (OS) had not been used before. This was a new venture and Nokia decided to take a gamble with it. Customers did not trust Windows viability as a phone OS especially because the OS had experienced several security challenges as a computer operating system. Besides, android had already dominated the market and attracted a huge audience. In this regard, Nokia partners feared that the use of Windows may not be able to attract a huge number of audiences in the market. They thus distrusted the use of this acquisition to improve sales and feared for the company’s future direction if the acquisition failed to give the anticipated results (Khan, Raza & George, 2017).   

Analysis of the Concepts and Theories Used to Facilitate the Change Process

The Nokia change theory was based on the Lewins three steps change model (Khan & Hashim, 2014). This involved unfreezing the company from its culture, structure, work practice, and production business. The company was moving out of its status quo, especially in terms of manufacturing technology, to adopt new technology that involved the creation of smartphones integrated with Microsoft’s phone Windows OS. The company also had to change its culture to a new organizational culture. It had to integrate its operation procedure with that of Microsoft to create a new product. The company thus needed to unfreeze from its normal organizational structure and operational status quo to prepare for new organizational structure, culture and operation procedure. The acquisition process can be termed as the movement stage. Nokia used acquisition to move from its past state into a new state. In this state, Nokia was integrated into Microsoft organization and a new operational procedure was defined. Nokia employees were integrated into a new cultural environment, by learning new rules and regulations, being assigned to new operating positions and new job roles, or being introduced to change of the team members among other things. Once the change process was effectively integrated into the change leaders’ satisfaction, the refreezing process took place. This resulted in the creation of a new permanent state in which the organization needed to adapt to and to maintain to ensure change sustainability (Khan & Hashim, 2014).

Nokia also employed Kotter’s eight stages of change (Teczke, Bespayeva & Bugubayeva, 2017).  The first stage involved creating urgency for change. Nokia’s urgency for change was created by declining sales, sales revenue, and company profitability. The company was experiencing a decline in its market share, as its competitors with more modern phone designs took over. The iOS and Android had taken over Nokia Market shares, creating need for change to reclaim the lost glory. To manage this, Nokia needed to partner with Microsoft Company to create a new and unique product to compete with iOS and Android. The second steps involve forming a powerful guild coalition to lead in the change. Nokia managed this by integrating its employees, customers and the community in the change process. The next stage involved creating a vision for change. The company main vision was reclaiming its market share in the cellphone market by changing from its normal simple cellphone to develop a smartphone. The next step involved communicating the change vision to the company’s stakeholders. The company managers communicated the change vision to its employees’ verbally in physical meetings and through departmental memos. The managers also focused on developing workers’ skills to assist the company to attain its full potential and to meet its business objectives (Teczke, Bespayeva & Bugubayeva, 2017).

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The fifth step involved eliminating change obstacles that included change resistance among other things. Effective communication with workers and customers played a great role in reducing change resistance. Another major obstacle was the lack of finances, an issue that was addressed by forming a partnership with Microsoft, which would assist in funding the change initiative. The partnership eliminated the software development and maintenance cost, by ensuring that that is Microsoft’s cost in the deal. The sixth step involved creating short-term wins. The managers managed this by actively picking talented and skilled workers and projects that seemed to be more probable to work extremely well and with a high level of success earlier in the process of change. This created hope for a successful change in the long run. It also built guild coalition confidence in the leaders of change, by showing that their initiative works, and hence likely to be successful. Short-term wins also motivated the guild coalition to employ more effort for the long-term win and reduce change resistance among those who were still doubtful of change success.  Kotter’s 7th step involved building on the change. In this stage, the two companies’ collaboration achieved at this stage accelerated the change via a new path, focused on reinforcing the platform of mobile devices, reclaiming the smartphone leadership, and realizing future investments. The last step involved integrating the changes in the new Microsoft-Nokia agreed culture. The change was inevitable for Nokia. Nokia had to abandon its old development model to depend on Microsoft’s Windows mobile phone platform. This involved adopting the change to be part of the Microsoft organizational culture. Nokia was absorbed by Microsoft. The company had to adapt and practice the new agreed operational culture, follow the new form of management guidance and practice new product development practice. This stage focused on making the new practices a habit and ensuring that it is effectively followed by both Nokia and Microsoft part working with Nokia to build a new culture (Teczke, Bespayeva & Bugubayeva, 2017).   

Read also Toxic Handler Role In Organizational Change

Nokia also used communication as a way of facilitating change and fighting change resistance. Nokia was used to Finnish culture for 145 years it had been in operation. This is a culture that does not embrace uncertainty. The company only worked in the environment it was sure of. The introduction changes exposed the company into a new non-Finnish culture that the company had never experienced. The introduction of change brought about job insecurity issues and unclear communication on the future operations of the company. This resulted in an eruption of workers’ demonstration and protest as the majority of them felt at risk. The change also rejected MeeGo and Symbian platform in favor of a foreign Microsoft platform a move that angered the company employees and Nokia partners. The new changes resulted in the termination of some development projects that were underway, a move that sparked more resistance (Khan, Raza & George, 2017).  To address the resistance, the company employed effective communication. This ensured that the employees were well informed of the company’s current financial situation and the need for change. Communication played a great role in making it clear on how the change will impact most of them. Although most workers were not comfortable with the change, effective communication ensured that workers understand the company’s position and intention for change. The company also tried to support workers to be able to cope with change by developing their skills to fit in the new organizational model. Employment of two way communication assisted the change leaders to understand workers fears and to develop measures to address them. This ensured that the majority were comfortable with the change in the long-run (Malek & Yazdanifard, 2012). Other measures to address change resistance included offering fair compensation and the establishment of a good workers management system to receive complaints and to offer feedback.

Evaluation of the Impact of the Change upon the Organization

The Nokia change initiative resulted in the development of the first Nokia smartphone with windows as its operating system, Window Phone 7. The phone registered high sales than experienced before in the company. However, it did not manage to beat its competitors in the market. The new products managed to offer Xbox music, skype, SkyDrive, OneNote and Outlook.com among other features. There was a great improvement in the new phone technology, though the product still appeared to be inferior to that of its competitors in the market. The change also resulted in a massive loss of jobs in the company. About 18000 individuals working in Nokia devices and service division lost their jobs as a result of introduction to new technology. Other changes that were noted to occur following the change include a decline in Microsoft share value and an increase in Nokia share value. Nokia was also able to address its financing issues

Read also Successful Change Initiative Vs Failed Change Initiative

The Sustainability of the Change Effort

The strategic partnership between Nokia and Microsoft resulted in the development of Smartphones bearing Nokia hardware and Microsoft software. This change played a great role in reviving the financial position of Nokia and reclaiming part of its market share. Although the change was characterized by a high level of resistance, the two companies have managed to maintain the change since it happened in 2013. The two companies adopted the new practices of developing Nokia smartphones and embraced it into a company habit or norms, making it a culture. The change has since been operation, with Nokia phone being known today in the market as a unique smartphone with Microsoft operating system. Since the acquisition, the company has managed to develop several Nokia Smartphone series that are sold across the globe. The company has also managed to reclaim about 13% popularity in the smartphone market, performing better than iOS though highly below android. The change can thus be regarded to be sustainable and may eventually attain the change vision or reclaiming its leading position in the market, though not without other major changes in the future

Conclusion

Change is a continuous process that happens in the life of every human being and also in business organizations. Business organizations are faced with different external and internal factors that push them to change.  Although change is inevitable, change is known to bring both positive and negative effects. The paper discusses change initiative that took place in Nokia in 2013. Nokia considered having a strategic partnership with Microsoft after experiencing a hard financial situation for almost a decade following past poor decision making on embracing technology change in their mobile phone design. The company needed to change its mobile phone to a smartphone, a move that could only be effectively facilitated by Microsoft. Although the change process was not easy, the company managed to merge the two companies to create what is known today as a Nokia smartphone. The change has resulted in positive achievement in terms of market share and sales revenue but also resulted in the loss of jobs and customers’ trust in the market. Despite the positive achievement Nokia overall vision of reclaiming its leading position in the smartphone market is yet to be achieved.

Proposal for a Process Improvement That Would Affect all Levels of staff in the Organization

Design a 700- to 1,050-word proposal for a process improvement or cultural change that would affect all levels of staff in the organization. It should be for a health care facility or service (e.g., hospital, physician practice, long-term care facility, ambulance service, pharmacy, or skilled nursing facility).

Process Improvement at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center

 Process improvement is a practical approach which entails categorizing, evaluating and refining an existing method to achieve optimization within an organization while meeting quality standards.  It is a methodical approach that follows a specific framework with the goal of ultimately improving outcomes (Developing Managers to Manage Sustainable Employee Engagement, Health and Well-being: At-a-glance Checklists, 2017).  The objective of this systematic approach is to develop new techniques which will ultimately assure any organization of success. This proposal for process improvement will, therefore, be based on Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center and how this development will affect all levels of staff within the organization.

The Importance of Process Improvement at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center

            Process improvement is integral, especially when seeking to introduce positive organizational change. The actual process may involve an in-depth review of workflow, available recommendations, interviewing process within the organization and assessing the suitability of a candidate initially placed in orientation.  Process improvement has been identified as one of the most integral progression available for organizations grappling with problems related to patient experience and the overall turnover rate. It was for this very reason that Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center recently conducted its annual survey to obtain important feedback from its employees. The process sought to obtain feedback from at least 75 percent of the employees (Texas Medical Center | Memorial Hermann, 2020).

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However, the Human Resource Manager soon realized that a sizeable number of employees had deliberately failed to complete the surveys as expected.  It is also noteworthy that employees who proved receptive eventually ended up providing negative feedback regarding the modus operandi within the facility. This was further exacerbated by an overall decrease in the level of employee engagement, portending a dark future for the organization’s performance.   It is, therefore, crucial to propose an appropriate process improvement plan which will be crucial in improving the level of employee engagement within Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center.

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Case Evaluation

            Addressing the organizational problems plaguing Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center requires an exhaustive assessment of the current situation and why it is important to introduce change. Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center has recorded a dramatic reduction in employee engagement within the past three years. This particular issue also caught the attention of the HR manager who called for swift action to remedy the current situation.  The HR manager’s probe is also indicative of the fact that employees within the facility initially participated actively until recently. It is worth noting that employees within Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center painstakingly made certain that it functioned at its very best by aligning their goals with the organizational objectives.  Their understanding of their role within the organization meant that they were now aware of their purpose and their influence in the decision-making process.  Furthermore, employee engagement improved patient service which ultimately resulted in improved outcomes and experiences.  An engaged workforce is an invaluable asset to any organization since it is an integral element to consider when endeavoring to outperform any emerging competition (Sharma et al., 2019, p. 87). Employee engagement is also linked to cumulative gains within an organization and breeds innovation. It also results in higher earnings per share (EPS) which is fundamental to a health facility during periods of economic downturn. An employee engagement survey assesses the level of employee satisfaction at their current position and efforts that will promote high levels of commitment. It also allows upper management to understand employee’s needs and implement strategies that will eventually promote employee engagement.  

Proposed Steps to Improve Employee Engagement at MHT Medical Center

  The following are proposed steps to improve employee engagement at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center;

  • Underscoring the Importance of Employee Engagement: Although employee engagement is an integral part of any organization aiming for success, numerous occasions exist where it is not highlighted suitably. It is, therefore, integral for Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center to start this process of change by elucidating and re-educating its employees on the crucial nature of employee engagement. They also need to gain an informed understanding of the significance of employee engagement and its impact on output. It also results in employees valuing the organization and averting any scenario that may be damaging to its overall standing.

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  • Exploring Varied Measures of Employee Engagement: Measuring employee engagement is considered an arduous task by many organizations. It is also regarded as one of the most effective measures due to its high level of success (Truss et al., 2013). Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center should ensure it prepares fitting questions that are concise and elicit the desired data. The acquisition of crucial data will, thus, ensure that evocative training programs are developed which ultimately improves the level of engagement.  The questions must cover relevant topics and accord employees the opportunity to respond freely.
  • Appropriate Period to Measure Employee Engagement: Organizations should always acknowledge the importance of conducting employee engagement measures. They should, therefore, be conducted as frequently as possible to remain abreast of concerns by employees and respond appropriately. Employees should also be briefed regarding the reasons why the survey is being conducted and provided with the results. Providing self-explanatory engagement measures at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center is bound to result in improved engagement levels enabling employees to interact directly with frontline managers, supervisors and upper management.

Role of Knowledge Management in Training and Development

Knowledge management has defined, and will continue to define, an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage. In its broadest definition, knowledge management encompasses the many ways organizations may collect and disseminate an organization’s knowledge, insights, and experiences. The most effective knowledge management practices have the ability to promote both workforce cohesiveness and the achievement of strategic goals.

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Knowledge management is especially relevant to Human Resource (HR) professionals involved in training and development processes. By understanding the knowledge levels of employees, HR professionals can identify areas for improvement and design training programs that are relevant and effective. HR professionals can also improve training programs by incorporating knowledge sharing and information exchange elements. HR must be cognizant of knowledge management in training and development programs.

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Knowledge Management Definition, Its Role Within an Organization and Why it is Important to Integrate it into the Training Development Process?

Knowledge management refers to a sensible strategy of delivering the right knowledge to the right individual at the right time and assisting this individual to practice and share information in manners that attempt to enhance organizational performance. A knowledge management role in an organization is to ensure that the organization has access to the right knowledge that will benefit its operations. Having the right knowledge is important in ensuring that the organization only nurtures the development of knowledge that is resourceful to it. Effective knowledge dissemination is another role of knowledge management in an organization. Knowledge management should ensure that the knowledge gets to the intended individuals and in an intended manner to ensure that this knowledge builds their skills and knowledge in the specific task. Knowledge management should also ensure effective sharing of information among workers through mentoring, coaching, ideas sharing and consultation among other things. The other role of knowledge management is ensuring that the information is received in the right manner and at the right time. This ensures that the intended recipient uses this knowledge for the advantage of the organization. This concept is important for integration into the training development process because it guides on the selection of training materials and topics based on the organization’s operations, and the trainee role in the organization. It also focuses on identifying the best training strategies to ensure the knowledge and skill development of the trainee. In addition to this, it assists in identifying the right time to give particular information to specific people. Knowledge development concept can thus be integrated into training development process to assist in developing a training program that will be of great benefit to the organization by ensuring the training correlate with the organization’s knowledge need, and that the knowledge is offered in the right manner during training and to the right people to enhance their skills and ability to handle tasks in their respective working areas (McLean, 2009).   

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As a human resource professional, I would ensure that I understand the organizational goals and strategies meant to help in attaining these goals. I would then develop a training program that reinforces knowledge on the implementation of the identified strategies. The training materials and methods will focus on ensuring that workers have the necessary information, skill, and knowledge to assist in attaining the organizational goals. The strategies are like measures employed to achieve something. Strategies can, therefore, fit into the knowledge management concept by guiding the knowledge content. By understanding the strategies, knowledge management personnel will be able to decide on the right information and knowledge to offer to ensure that workers have what it takes to implement the define strategies (Noe, 2013).

Changes Needed to Current Practices in Training and Development

Training and development has for a long time been industrial based. This includes training on production, cost reduction, decision making, supervision, problem-solving, management and leadership among others. This needs to be changed to adopt a training that focuses more on work. This includes training on resource mobilization and use to enhance efficient and effective development of customer satisfaction (Majer & Bell, 2011). The training should focus on improving accountability on the use of natural and social capital to make production. The training should center on enhancing operations without downgrading the involved social and human capital. This will ensure that training address some of the major crises facing the business world at the moment.

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Toxic Handler Role In Organizational Change

Change is an unavoidable reality that organizations now have to contend with in contemporary times. Acclimatizing to this new environment requires organizations to follow a series of crucial steps to ultimately achieve success. Nevertheless, managers still have to prepare for resistance to change.  Identifying dissenting voices is, therefore, essential when seeking to ascertain key issues of concern and leaders tasked with managing this change. As a toxic handler, I would serve an important role during this period of change, encounter frequent emerging challenges and execute fitting steps to address them.

Read also Successful Change Initiative Vs Failed Change Initiative

Describe the Toxic Handler Concept

The concept of a toxic handler within an organization describes the act of designating integral management responsibilities to specific individuals supervising employees. A toxic handler is particularly invaluable when organizations experience change since they provide integral skills to aid employees in coping with stress. They are the first line of defense whenever problems emerge and are expected to always lend a listening ear to their subordinates. Change has been known to evoke a wide range of emotions, ranging from bitterness, anger and frustration (Myers et al., 2012). Within this state, employees are bound to make irrational impulsive decisions driven by anxiety. A toxic handler, is therefore, tasked with providing solutions to any of the concerns raised during this transition period.  Necessary changes are, typically, implemented by toxic handlers who then proceed to ensure that an appropriate framework is identified for execution.  It is also worth noting that a toxic handler should always provide a sense of direction to employees and foster a positive outlook for future success.

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            Moreover, a toxic handler provides a sense of leadership and always required to control scenarios that present evident challenges to employees.   Persons in the upper tier of management typically volunteer to serve as toxic handlers. This often means only individuals with the organization’s wellbeing at heart occupy this position and, thus, channel all their focus in ensuring that employees are empowered to perform their duties.  Seeking and evaluating concerns also aids the process of change. Employees are comprehensively updated on the importance of change, which then ensures they gain an understanding of the integral nature of this phase and can fully participate. A toxic handler also plays the role of a conduit between employees and upper management, allowing them to relay concerns. It is also the responsibility of a toxic handler to manage negative criticism from upper management and settle any conflict of ideas

Read also Ambivalence and Organizational Change

Preparing to be a Toxic Handler

            Serving as a toxic handler requires one to prepare suitably to guide fellow employees smoothly during change. It entails identifying challenges that are most likely to be encountered and briefing employees to prepare them beforehand. Becoming a toxic handler also means that one has to gain a proper understanding of all responsibilities and how to perform at optimum level on assignments (Nedelko & Brzozowski, 2019, p. 33). The collection of data is also crucial during this process since it enables them to develop fitting countermeasures to address resistance to the change initiative. A toxic should also bear skills that enable them to prepare employees mentally for the arduous task of organizational change.  Preparing to be a toxic handler also entails treating concerns by employees with the seriousness they deserve and addressing them in a timely fashion. This enables an organization to push its agenda to change and bridge any emerging gaps between subordinate employees and upper management. It is, thus, to gain the trust of individuals who will be subjected to change and support the organization in achieving long-term success

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Biggest Challenges Faced when Serving as a Toxic Handler

            One of the major challenges faced when serving as a toxic handler is being overwhelmed by responsibility. The taxing nature of this position means that individuals occupying this position are prone to experiencing regular burnouts during the course of their work. It is for this very reason that toxic handler should be individual who express a great deal of mettle and mental grit. Success can only be achieved through determination and a clear understanding of the limitations of the concepts being implemented. Similarly, a toxic handler should always be prepared to ask for assistance when faced with occupational challenges when operationalizing change (Vogel et al., 2017). A toxic hander is the key to success during organizational change.  It is for this very reason that they are required to remain cognizant of their wellbeing so as to function at optimum level. The organization in question must also identify and establish an appropriate support system that bolsters the capabilities of a toxic leader and support them during their work. A toxic handler should also be subjected to intensive training to build their capacity and to equip them with essential tools to cope with the demanding nature of their job.

Read also A Memo to Recommend a Plan for Change

Conclusion

Organizations experiencing change face the strenuous task of responding appropriately to this condition. The presence of a toxic handler helps manage the stress associated with this period, ultimately guiding the trajectory of any change initiative implemented. A toxic handler should prepare for this position to assure the organization of success, especially when faced with emerging challenges.

Prison Reform through Alternative Methods of Rehabilitation

Over the past decade, policymakers have painstakingly worked to improve the prison environment by clamoring for the creation of an effective penal system to manage offenders. Their efforts were primarily occasioned by the high recidivism rate observed particularly in the United States and overcrowding experienced in federal penitentiaries.  This was further exacerbated by the fact that the United States has one of the highest recidivism rates globally and currently incarcerates 657 prisoners per every 100,000 residents (Prison Policy Initiative, 2019).   Prison reform, therefore, seeks to remedy this situation by focusing on the introduction of alternative methods of rehabilitation for offenders. Variation in the treatment of different levels of crime may mark the beginning of a new era within the penal system, rehabilitating offenders successfully and ultimately restructuring the entire prison system. Contemporary philosophical theories on punishment have also proposed the introduction of appropriate changes to the punishments handed down by courts. Mentoring, justice reinvestment, intensive corrections orders, restorative justice and electronic monitoring are some of the most effective alternative punishments bound to foster rehabilitation in offenders. This research paper will, thus, provide an in-depth evaluation of prison reform the introduction of alternative methods of rehabilitation.

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Mentoring

            One of the prime reasons why the United States is grappling with rampant repeat offences within the criminal justice system is a result of inadequacy in mentoring programs. Additionally, the effect of serving time in a federal penitentiary has rarely been investigated, eventually resulting in the release of individuals deeply impacted by their experience and without apposite tools to cope in their new environment. Such individuals eventually end up reoffending and serving lengthier prison sentences for their current crime. According to the Pew Center, 44 percent of released prisoners eventually reoffend which eventually accounts for the high recidivism rate within the United States (Pew Research Center, 2018). 

Read also Prison is Ineffective Because Most People Come out Worse Than They Went in

This has prompted prison reform lobbyists to propose the introduction of effervescent mentoring programs to appropriately rehabilitate ex-convicts to reduce their run-ins with the law. The purpose of a mentoring is to introduce programs focusing on the exact circumstances individuals are in and using the context best suited for transformation.  Additionally, mentoring provides the tools necessary for maneuver in society to ex-offenders after their stint in a federal facility. It begins with matching individuals released from prison with the right individual to begin this arduous journey. Mentors may range from social workers, ex-felons, church ministers to community activists. The process also entails building trust to ensure that the individual in question readily accepts the advice provided and, ultimately ask for assistance whenever faced with emerging life challenges. This increases the chances of having a successful outcome where former criminals are rehabilitated fully and able to acclimatize in their new life. Mentors are tasked with educating former prisoners on the importance of obtaining life skills, particularly necessary when facing trials. The strong relationship forged between both the mentor and mentee results in the development of strong adaptive support networks for former prisoners. This is particularly important in half-way houses where ex-prisoners can be accessed easily and most-likely to respond to the suggestions offered.

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Justice Reinvestment

            The ineffectiveness of a majority of prison reform efforts has forced policymakers to reevaluate the strategies employed to guarantee positive future outcomes. Justice reinvestment now features high among the list of prison reform strategies that aim to rehabilitate former prisoners. It entails channeling funds that would ordinarily be spent on incarcerating individuals to more productive aspects of society which would eventually provide a support system to such individuals. For instance, funds may be directed towards identifying barriers to integrating into society and challenges that ultimately result in the development of criminal behavior.  The local government essentially redirects funding to initiatives that are bound to crate safer communities by addressing antisocial behavior. Justice reinvestment also involves the collection of data and evaluation of areas with a high crime rate to make an informed assessment of the major reasons why recidivism is on the rise. Preventive remedies are crucial in averting the development of criminalistics tendencies among community members. They pinpoint areas where ex-prisoners need to improve on within society to make sure they become significant members of society after release. Life outcomes are, therefore, bound to improve within this particular situation since ex-felons are less likely to engage in activities that may result in their internment. Justice reinvestment further entails the development of a concise framework informed by experts in criminal justice. They then proceed to consult with major actors within the jurisdiction to develop and support workable solutions for individuals released from prison and how best enforce policies offering an alternative method of rehabilitation. This may also involve identifying neighborhoods with a record number of individuals under criminal justice supervision while relying on state-specific information to direct spending to efforts bound to improve public safety. Furthermore, it also entails identifying reinvestment strategies that work effectively and introduce new strategies bound to introduce positive outcomes. Measuring performance will also make certain that the impact of the strategies employed is evaluated to track indicators of change.

Intensive Corrections Orders (ICOs)

            Intensive Corrections Orders (ICOs) can also function as an operational method of rehabilitation for former prisoners. Typically, ICOs entail the application of an alternative sentence which is to be served within the confines of the community from which the individual is from under the strict administration of Community Corrections. This method ensures that the offender becomes aware of their criminal behavior in the past and its effects on the community. Systems of accountability are then developed where offenders realize the community is cognizant of their past offences and, therefore, work to transform their destructive tendencies for posterity. ICOs can also improve security within communities plagued by crime and reduces instances of serious offence being committed (Brennan, 2017). The implementation of this policy is viewed as a lenient alternative to incarceration in a federal penitentiary. It is also only accorded to deserving offenders based on the level of crime committed. Those convicted for voluntary manslaughter, sexual offences and terrorism are deemed to be automatically ineligible and forced to serve the remainder of their sentences in prison facilities. This system, thus, results in an overall reduction the risk of individuals engaging in serious crime. It also aids in the rehabilitation of former offenders who gain an unadulterated angle on the consequences of crime and how best to avoid such an eventuality. The terms attached to ICOs are also regarded as an effective tool when seeking to rehabilitate former prisoners. Failing to comply with ICO conditions may prompt Community Corrections to report the breach to the Parole Authority, ultimately resulting in stiffer measures being imposed. This model has also been a useful tool in reducing overcrowding in federal prisons. Serving close to 2 years of a sentence in the community relieves the population pressure common in prisons as a result of the incarceration of low-level offenders. The community from which individual offenders are from also provides a fitting environment for rehabilitation by addressing key behaviors that often result in recidivism.

Restorative Justice

            Mediation between an offender and aggrieved parties is a novel strategy within the criminal justice system.  Referred to as restorative justice, it seeks to reduce tensions between offenders and the community as an effective method of rehabilitation. It heals broken relationships and creates a new sense of awareness in offenders who come to terms with the impact of their behavior on their victims and the community. It also influences them to participate actively in rehabilitative efforts seeking to transform their behavior. Restorative justice also fosters a high level of collaboration by major players within this intricate scheme to ultimately assure stakeholders of positive outcome. The aspect of reconciliation that is introduced by restorative justice is significant within this particular context for it forces offenders to reflect on their behavior and implement strategies to promote rehabilitation. Harms committed in the past are presented concisely in a bid to address their effect on the community and the offender’s obligation thenceforth.

Read also Restorative Justice Policies and Potential Future Criminal Justice Policy Evolution

Additionally, it provides offenders with a unique opportunity to experience a form of clemency which will eventually remain as a firm reminder of the harsh punitive measures that could have been implemented by the criminal justice system. Mediation, victim-offender conferences and family treatment are major tools harnessed when applying restorative justice (Kahan, 2019).

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These methods create an environment where an offender can interact freely with persons who were directly affected by their actions or poor choices.  Both parties come face-to-face in a controlled environment where all the facts related to the case are presented together with accompanying consequences. This type of interaction allows offenders to come to grips with the reality of the issue being presented, allowing the aggrieved party to allocate responsibility. It is through this form of blatant integrity that the healing process can finally begin and a moment of realization for offenders. This understanding is effective in solving long-standing disputes, allowing offenders to make honest presentations, admit wrongdoing and adopt new strategies to support full rehabilitation.

Read also Concept and Purpose of Restorative Justice and Restitution

Electronic Monitoring (EM)

            The ever-growing prison population has emerged as a major problem that now impedes operations within such facilities. Imprisonment has been proven to be largely ineffective in managing crime and rehabilitating inmates who ultimately become repeat offenders. Electronic monitoring (EM) is a relatively recent alternative to imprisonment by relaying signals important signals to parole authorities. Authorities assess the movements of offenders to determine whether they are adhering to the terms imposed. Since EMs are constructed using tamperproof materials, offenders have no other choice than to respect and abide by these conditions, paving the way for rehabilitation.  EMs also endeavors to protect the public by incapacitating offenders while providing an environment where the process of rehabilitation can begin. The implementation of EMs also has deters offenders from engaging in criminal behavior for fear of being subjected to harsh sanctions for failing to uphold their end of the bargain (Bennett, 2019, p. 43).

In addition, EM also results in better rehabilitative outcomes in comparison with incarceration. It is also from this point that offenders making better choice such as improving their level of education and engage in activities that will eventually result in regular employment. They are also more likely to interact with persons capable of impacting their lives positively, resulting in progressive rehabilitation. The independence and autonomy introduced by EMs also allows offenders to develop superior decision-making capabilities which allow them to embrace rehabilitation fully.  Self-accountability also results in improved relations with family and the community who also support the offender in their journey towards becoming respectable members of society. Offenders also develop clear goals for the future and develop strategies to bolster their plans for the future. They also experience an improvement in their general wellbeing and mental health which are important components to address if rehabilitation is to succeed.

Conclusion

Prison reform has recently dominated discourse among policymakers in the United States. The ineffectiveness of incarceration prompted experts to suggest new alternative techniques that would reduce recidivism rates and promote rehabilitation. Alternatives to rehabilitation are now regarded as crucial within the criminal justice system to aid former offenders to reintegrate into society. Mentoring, justice reinvestment, intensive corrections orders, restorative justice and electronic monitoring are some of the most operative alternative punishments promoting rehabilitation in offenders. Thus, it is the duty of the justice system to support such strategies that aim to transform the behavior of individuals with a criminal past.