The thought of being stuck in your career is scary to fathom, yet many people feel this way at some point. Even in a field such as healthcare technology management (HTM), which offers endless opportunities to grow, one still can feel overwhelmed and can be curious as to “what’s next” in terms of personal and professional development. An extremely easy, and cost efficient, way to avoid or overcome this feeling is through mentorship. The guidance a mentor can provide when navigating through your career is second to none.
How many of you reading this post have a mentor who you consult frequently? I’ve been extremely lucky in the sense that I have had two amazing mentors since day one, and I can honestly say that I would not be the individual I am today without them. They have provided me insight on every aspect of my career, and are able to relate to all of my questions because they have gone through similar situations.
Before I give an example of how I’ve utilized my mentorships, I want to first put into perspective my personal experience: I graduated college two years ago. The goals that you and I have may be different, and this example may not relate to where you are in your own career. Last year, I attended the AAMI Annual Conference in Denver and reviewed the education sessions. My mentor was listed as one of the presenters, and I set a goal for myself to present at the next conference. In the months after the conference, I sat down with my mentor who walked me through the GROW model: a method that identifies the mentee’s goals, realities, options, and what’s next. I decided to draft two proposals, and over the next few months—up until the open call for presenters—we worked and tweaked them. The input and advice my mentor had over this span helped me tremendously, and both proposals were accepted. Working through the GROW model and using a mentor, I was able to speak at two sessions at this year’s AAMI conference and cross that goal off the list.
I challenge all of you reading this to try to find a mentor who you can help you in your profession. Experience level does not matter; there is always someone who has more wisdom than you. Finding and asking an individual is the first step in the process. The mentor you choose is preferably someone who has successes that you can study and who can serve as a wealth of information that you can bounce ideas off of. Explain to the selected individual that his or her time will be spent in a meaningful way, and you will truly value and appreciate that person’s perspective.
The meetings that you have with your mentor do not need to be long and do not need to be daily; for example, once a month on a Friday afternoon may be sufficient. Engage the individual in these meetings and be an active listener. Once you’ve established a solid mentorship for yourself, you can look at expanding to more than one. Two or three mentors, who can all provide different perspectives and vision, will further help strengthen your skills.
The idea of a mentorship is not for you to sit there and have this person tell you what to do. The mentor is there to listen to your goals and provide guidance and options to help you stay on track to achieve them. The doors that mentors can open for your personal development will surprise you, and I can promise that the feeling of being stuck will be mitigated if you appreciate their intuition and advice.
Connor Walsh is a biomedical engineer with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, IN.
Note from AAMI: Learn about AAMI’s complimentary mentorship program here.