Friday, June 08, 2012

Take a chance on us (Musings on mentoring)

Canadian TM professionals may be aware of Bloodtechnet's learning competition but others may not.

Briefly, Bloodtechnet is a program sponsored by Canada's national blood supplier, CBS, that funds educational projects. One neat thing is that winners are determined by votes by Canada's medical laboratory technologists.

For the 2012 competition I submitted a proposal on mentoring that was lucky to be one of the winners:
  • 'I will remember you. Once in a lifetime mentoring opportunity'
The proposal was later renamed to more closely describe its goal:
This blog briefly describes the mentoring proposal. Its purpose is to encourage submissions to the 2013 competition because those submitting proposals in 2013 will participate in the mentoring project.

The blog's title 'Take a chance on us' is a take-off on a 1978 ABBA hit, 'Take a Chance on me'.

Will the project be able to fulfill its goal of creating a global mentoring community that can facilitate succession planning? Only time will tell.

Currently, the most exciting news is that many mentors from across the globe have already generously agreed to participate:
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • USA
The mentors have illustrious careers and we are so lucky to have them.

As well, mentors are interdisciplinary: medical laboratory technologists, nurses, and physicians.

Fortunately, Shanta Rohse, who manages Bloodtechnet for CBS and transfusionmedicine. ca is a key collaborator in the mentoring proposal and will take the lead.

The Bloodtechnet website that Shanta manages for CBS will be upgraded to facilitate mentoring.

Increasingly, MLTs require a complex set of transferable skills but suitable continuing education (CE) resources are few:
  • communication
  • leadership
  • networking
  • problem solving
  • project management
  • team work
  • time management
The 2010 bloodtechnet survey noted:
"We often see learning as a solitary, independent pursuit, one of accumulating facts and information. On the contrary, learning is also a deeply social activity and there are a number of reasons why learning from and with others is a foundational part of continuing education. First, individual learning is supported by being exposed to and reflecting on how others think....."
Mentoring is a social way to foster transferable skills and professional development. Mentoring also supports succession planning of one generation to another.
What is mentoring?
Many definitions of mentoring exist. Regardless of definition, mentoring is a partnership between colleagues, a bond of mutual respect and trust from which everyone gains valuable insights and personal satisfaction.

This project will develop a network of informal mentors drawn from transfusion professionals within Canada and beyond and a framework with guidelines to support mentoring.

To all volunteers who have agreed to participate, heartfelt thanks. You are busy professionals whose time is consumed by professional and family obligations. The mentoring project is a grand experiment with much unknown.

Your willingness to give this project a chance is admirable. You are truly the 'good guys' who deserve the kudos of colleagues.

Canadian TM professionals

Please consider submitting a proposal to Bloodtechnet's 2013 competition. You will have the advantage of interdisciplinary and international mentors. Many opportunities to meet colleagues worldwide. Who can resist such an opportunity?

All those interested can keep track of the project's progress on twitter @TransMedmentors

Finally, thanks to CBS for sponsoring such an innovative endeavour. I know of no other like it worldwide. With Bloodtechnet you got it right.

Readers are encouraged to browse Bloodtechnet to get a sense of what it's about.

If you have ever been a mentor or a mentee, please comment below on what you think are the most important characteristics of each. 
Or let us know if there are similar opportunities in your country to compete for funds to create CE for medical laboratory technologists and others.  
And a favorite song (You may have guessed I'm partial to the Beatles)
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