Collaborative Multi-Profession Mentoring
Traditionally mentoring took place on the basis of someone who informally taught or gave help and advice to a less-experienced colleague within a narrowly defined workplace. In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven, multi-disciplinary and diverse workplace, mentoring can occur wherever knowledge, skills, insight or expertise are held that can be shared to support growth and professional development of either oneself or other person/s.
Our online Multi-Profession Mentoring (MPM) platform is based on cross-connections for knowledge-sharing between professionals practising in the engineering and healthcare fields. It provides collaborative learning opportunities through mentoring connections that focus on:
- personal and professional growth
- network building
- experiential learning
- knowledge exchange
- career development and skills exchange
Participation is voluntary and open to Engineering and Healthcare professionals
Traditionally, mentoring has tended to be academic and has involved assistance through teaching, research, and career advisory services while navigating institutional and academic culture. Beyond academia, peer-to-peer experiential learning has usually been through leadership, business practices, conflict resolution and team building.
Today, the way we work and relate to each other has been heavily influenced by technology, and has changed significantly. Newer technology including; Facebook, mobile computing and collaborative communications that cuts across professional and cultural boundaries; is used extensively by newer generations. In retrospect, the older generations are unfamiliar with this technology; and are forced to adapt to stay up to date and relevant.
Multiple background and learning styles in conjunction with job complexity, means that organizations are no longer supplied sufficient formal training. Today the learning experience incorporates individual, formal, experiential and collaborative elements. In this fast-paced, technology-driven workplace; formal training and curriculum are outdated before they can be applied. Learning from experience has become crucial for personal and professional growth. Mentoring is one form of informal learning via experiential exchange.
Multiple Levels of Change
Globalization and internationalization of professions - education and practice - are now hot topics. Consequently, professions face volatile markets, complex demands for skills and knowledge and problematic circumstances and expectations in ethics and governance. The challenge has now become how professionals with their diverse languages, beliefs, educational and technical, workplace, academic and corporate cultures can keep pace with the rapid change and these new expectations.
Despite advancements in information and communication technology; the availability of information technology (IT) in professions such as health care; remain low in comparison to other industries. A large number of health professionals still utilize paper records, while only a small number of clinicians use physician order entry systems or electronic medical records that are controlled by the patient. In addition; the concerns that arise from hardware and software compatibility end up leading to difficulties that can potentially render communication impossible.
Additionally, IT involves more than just computers. Wireless communications combined with microelectronic sensors that can remotely sense physiologic parameters, have made it possible to monitor and treat patients remotely. These changes are proving disruptive for the healthcare systems and are becoming new drivers of change.
In addition; interprofessional imperatives are also driving change. This has lead to turmoil and confusion in the Health Care industry, and as a result engineers are being asked to help improve the health care system. This should come as no surprise as engineers have been actively involved in bioengineering and biomaterials engineering for more than three decades. The use of operations-research techniques to model hospital operating rooms and schedule personnel and materials in various medical facilities, dates back to more than three decades.
In order for health care to become efficient and more responsive to patients (customers) needs, higher flexibility, improved safety and higher standards must be implemented. Change in a system as complex as this; must move beyond optimization of its individual parts.
Systems engineers understand this, but communication between health and engineering professionals remains weak.
The importance of engineer participation in improving the healthcare industry has given birth to learning systems that are being used to educate a new class of professionals. These systems call for multidisciplinary research and educational facilities that will aid health care and engineer professionals into improving the health care industry. A key element of this collaboration is that members of these professions must learn from each other and undertake joint research on common problems to develop new tools. Furthermore; it is critical that these tools are demonstrated to other professionals.
Traditionally, mentoring took place on the basis of an individual who taught or gave help and advice to a less-experienced colleague. Today mentoring has grown to expand into education in a variety of fields and disciplines.
In comparison, twenty years ago; the ideal place to locate a mentor was several rungs up the organizational ladder.
“The advice used to be, ‘Go find a mentor,’” says Kathy Kram, professor of organizational behavior at the Boston University School of Management and co-editor of The Handbook of Mentoring at Work (Sage, 2007). “Now the advice is to build a small network of five to six individuals who take an active interest in your professional development.”
The vision of mentoring presented in this handbook has expanded with the emergence of new forms and hybrids. Peer mentoring, cross-gender mentoring, cross-cultural mentoring, mentoring circles and e-mentoring are just a few examples of new forms and hybrids of mentoring that have emerged. The case demonstrates that mentoring has evolved from an acknowledgement of “constellations of relationships” with an emphasis on “developmental networks. The authors highlight how environmental conditions that surround mentoring—globalization, increasingly diverse workforces, flattened hierarchies, team-based organizations, new technologies, and a persistently rapid pace of change—influence the nature and potential of mentoring at work.
Emerging literature also illustrates that reciprocity and mutuality are two key attributes that characterize growth-producing developmental relationships
This relational process and literature demonstrates the result in growth-fostering interactions and mentoring episodes that involve increased zest, empowered action, self-esteem, new knowledge and a desire for more connection. Antecedents identified for effective mentoring and the role these factors play in shaping the development and evolution of mentoring relationships include personality, developmental needs and stages, and a range of skills and competencies relating to emotional intelligence, relational skills, compassion, and the ability to understand and grow from work-family and diversity challenges.
More recently, literature shows that whereas the first two decades of research on mentoring emphasized instrumental career-related outcomes, such as increased performance, compensation, promotions, advancement, job attitudes, and career satisfaction there is now a collective view that outcomes related to personal learning, development, and growth are equally relevant and important.
Multi-Profession Mentoring (MPM) Model
The development of the MPM model of mentoring commenced in October 2012 and was followed by a multi-stakeholder exploratory session held on November 14, 2012. This was attended by professionals from the healthcare and engineering fields. Informed by ideas articulated in The Landscape of Mentoring in the 21st Century and stakeholder views the following emerged as a framework for this model:
- Reciprocity and mutuality are key attributes in mentoring
- Mentoring episodes and interactions that can also be applied to single communication are conducive to this process
- Antecedents to effective mentoring include personal learning, development, and growth
- Learning can be both a process and outcome of mentoring relationships.
- Learning involves the acquisition of knowledge, skills, or competencies that contribute to an individual’s personal development
- Different mentors address different socialization needs of protégés and that it is important to examine organizational socialization, and other learning outcomes, within the context of multiple developmental relationships.
Elements of the MPM model
The elements of the multi-profession mentoring model are as follows:
- On-line registration of Mentors and Mentees
- Online Registration of Mentees
- Classification of expertise and attributes
- Consistent Rules
- Defined Targets
- Mentee to mentor matching
- Virtual Interaction/Setting
- Relationship building
While mentoring scholars have examined the relationship between the presence of a mentor and career outcomes including advancement and career satisfaction; not much is understood about the relationship between mentoring and career learning, planning, and development for both mentors and protégés. What has emerged however is that there are multiple forms of learning in mentoring relationships, and these forms of learning occur over the course of cycles that span whole careers. Different types and combinations of developmental relationships offer numerous processes and outcomes for both mentors and protégés.
In addition, different types and combinations of developmental relationships offer different learning processes and outcomes for both mentors and protégés. Furthermore, organizational environment and composition represent key factors that affect learning outcomes in mentoring relationships.
The following are some benefits of growth-fostering interactions that occur for both mentors and mentees:
- A zest for learning in the relationship
- Empowered action
- Increased sense of worth
- Acquisition of new knowledge
- The desire for more connection
Mentoring in which these outcomes are achieved; results in increased levels of relational competence for both parties in the relationship