Mentoring; a mirage but desirable tool in the practice of biomedical engineering and technology in a developing country
Mentoring; A mirage but desirable tool in
The Practice of Biomedical Engineering and
Technology in a Developing Country
A CONFERENCE LECTURE PRESENTED AT THE 14TH ANNUAL GENERAL
MEETING/BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE
UNIVERSITY OF UYO, AKWA-IBOM STATE ON 16TH - 19TH OCTOBER 2013
EYAREFE o. STEPHEN
Department of dental Technology, School of Health Technology
Federal university of technology, owerri - imo state
This paper examined mentoring as a mirage debilitating the development of Biomedical Engineering
and Technology in a developing country. It presents issues and challenges on the principles of
mentoring in relation to professional development that affects the integrity of Biomedical Engineering
and Technology. The paper unveils the problem of biomedical engineering and technology emanating
from lack of mentoring which is a challenge in the practice of the profession. Mentoring will create a
worthwhile and conducive environment for technological and expertise transfer from mentor to
mentees as obtained in other professional setting. A good observation shows that a lot of experiences
go moribund with most professionals who deliberately refused to pass their wealth of knowledge to
the younger generations. This makes biomedical engineering and technology to have not just a slow
growth rate but experience difficulties in standing the test of time when compared with other
professional organizations in developed countries. The paper argues that for biomedical engineering
and technology to be developed into a profession of great repute, there is need to put in place
adequate mentoring practice by all stakeholders in the profession. It is believed that biomedical
engineering and technology as a profession will soon graduate into limelight through effective
mentoring methodologies that experienced and skilled mentors need to adopt for mentees to become
fully fledged consultants in their practice. The mission of this paper relates to effective and efficient
professionals who have been mentored by experienced professionals, serving as backups for
professional attainment and effective service delivery. More so, it is meant to bridge the gap between
experienced skilled professionals and the younger generations in the profession yearning to attain
professional excellence. The aim at the long run is to enable the mentees develop their own
skills, strategies and capabilities for enablement and empowerment with or without the mentor’s
Keywords: mentoring, mentor, mentee, personal development, professional development, mentoring
techniques, types of mentoring, purpose of mentoring.
A careful study of the conference theme disclosed
mentoring as one of the major identified gray
areas that require careful and in-depth analysis
when determining methods needed to enhance
the practice of the profession especially in a
developing country like Nigeria.
For biomedical engineering and technology to
attain its desired objectives, the concept of
mentoring needs to be explored in its entirety for
effectiveness and efficiency.
Every profession world over has a role to play in
satisfying the yearnings and aspiration of human
A profession is simply a body of people within an
careers, interests, education, knowledge, training
According to the Australian Council of
Professions, professions are made up of "a
disciplined group of individuals who adhere to
high ethical standards and uphold themselves
to, and are accepted by the public as possessing
special knowledge and skills".
WHAT IS MENTORING?
Various definitions have been offered on the concept of mentoring by
different schools of thought and individuals.
Andrew Gibbons (2011) sees mentoring as an intense work relationship
between senior and junior organizational members. The mentor has
experience and power in the organization, and personally
advises, counsels, coaches and promotes the career development of the
Also, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership (2005) identified Mentoring:
“As a structured and trusting relationship that brings young people
together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support and
encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of
More so, Wikipedia.com (n.d) defines mentoring:
“As a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social
capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as
relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails
informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained
period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater
relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person
Mentoring is seen as a mirage in biomedical
engineering and technology.
Mentoring is a desirable tool in the practice of
biomedical engineering and technology.
Mentoring overcomes career challenges.
Mentoring is a management tool that can be
employed for biomedical engineering and
According to Tim Hesse (2013), Psychologists and educators
have developed various theories of mentoring based academic
research, one-on-one mentoring relationships, and experiences
in the classroom. Among these are:
Adult development theory
Personal change theory
Theories of emotional intelligence
Others include personal and professional development
Professional development refers to skills and knowledge
attained for both personal development and career
advancement. Professional development encompasses all
types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from
college degrees to formal coursework, conferences and
informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has
been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally
incorporating an evaluative stage. There are a variety of
approaches to professional development, including
consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson
study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical
Personal development includes activities that improve
awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build
human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of
life and contribute to the realization of dreams and
aspirations. The concept is not limited to self-help but
includes formal and informal activities for developing others
in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach
or mentor. When personal development takes place in the
methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment
WHY INTRODUCE MENTORING?
To change character that will improve performance.
To culture and develop leadership qualities.
To develop partnership skills.
To realize vision.
To cause movement from where mentees are, ('here'), to
where they want to be ('there').
To assist someone new in post
To assist someone who has a new aspect to their existing work
To empower the mentee for leadership
To enable the mentee to find their own way through a
Provide access to knowledge, situations or networks
Question or challenge when appropriate
Types of mentoring
Traditional mentoring: One adult to one young person.
One-to-one mentoring places one adult in a relationship
with one youth.
Group mentoring: One adult to up to four young
people. Group mentoring involves one adult mentor
forming a relationship with a group of up to four young
Team mentoring: Team mentoring involves several
adults working with small groups of young people, with
an adult-to-youth ratio no greater than one to four.
Peer mentoring: Caring youth mentoring other youth.
Peer mentoring provides an opportunity for a caring
youth to develop a guiding, teaching relationship with a
E-mentoring: E-mentoring (also known as online
mentoring or telementoring) is a type of Mentoring via
e-mail and the Internet. E-mentoring connects one adult
with one youth.
MENTORING AS A FORM OF RELATIONSHIP
mentoring is premised on developmental relationship
Mentoring is a protected relationship in which learning and
experimentation occur through analysis, examination, reexamination
and reflection on practice, situations, problems, mistakes and
successes (of both the mentors and the mentees) to identify learning
independence, autonomy and maturity.
a bond is formed between mentors and mentees.
It is built on mutual trust and respect, openess and honesty where
each party can be themselves.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD MENTOR?
They maintain eye contact and give mentees their
Mentors are there to help their mentees find life
direction, never to push them
They give insights about keeping on task and setting
goals and priorities
Mentors educate about life and their own careers
Mentors use their personal experience to help their
mentees avoid mistakes and learn from good
Mentors are available as a resource and a sounding
WHAT MAKES A GOOD MENTOR? Continue
When necessary, mentors point out areas that need improvement,
always focusing on the mentee’s behavior, never his/her character.
When necessary, mentors point out areas that need improvement,
always focusing on the mentee’s behavior, never his/her character
No matter how painful the mentee’s experience, mentors continue
to encourage them to learn and improve
Mentors give specific advice on what was done well or could be
corrected, what was achieved and the benefits of various actions
Mentors care about their mentees’ progress in school and career
planning, as well as their personal development
Mentors not only are successful themselves, but they also foster
success in others
Mentors are usually well respected in their organizations and in the
THE WAY FORWARD
Build a mentoring program for biomedical engineering and
technology by creating mentoring awareness for all stakeholders
in the profession. The training institutions should be used as a
center for mentorship activities by inculcating the principles into
students. This can be achieved by creating a vision through
innovations and also following the basic elements of a mentoring
program. These elements according to National Mentoring
Institute (2005) in USA. include;
• Program design and planning: This is the first and the key element
in building mentoring program, because the design is the
blueprint you will follow to carry out all other aspects of the
program. When you have completed the design and planning, you
will have made the following decisions: The purposes of your
mentoring program (e.g., socialization, academic support,
job/career guidance); the program’s stakeholders and the best
way to evaluate the progress and success of the program.
– Program management: Ensuring that your mentoring
program is well managed is crucial. A well-managed
program promotes accuracy and efficiency;
establishes credibility; and enables you to gauge
progress effectively and identify areas that need
– Program operations: Efficient, consistent everyday
operations are important to the success of any
mentoring program. Strategies include recognizing the
stakeholders, supporting, supervising, and monitoring
– Program evaluation: Identifying areas that need
improvement by measuring program process if
expected outcomes have occurred and initiate further
WAY FORWARD CONTINUE
Attitudinal change. Rebranding as initiated by the woman of
substance and former Minister of Information, Prof. (Mrs.)
Dora Akunyili, is a social engineering mechanism aimed at
reforming the psyche of individuals, organization’s and the
nation’s thought and actions towards a more comfortable
society. The focus here is attitudinal change on the part of
major stakeholders who will act to cause effective and
efficient mentoring program for the profession in Nigeria.
Improve on Current Practices: The desire for continuous
improvement is the hallmark of every successful endeavor.
Mentoring is a time-proven strategy that can help biomedical engineering and technology
to achieve enormous development capacity. It is an effective way of helping people to
progress in their careers and is becoming increasingly popular as its potential is
realized. It is a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee) normally
working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences. It is a helpful relationship based
upon mutual trust and respect. Let all experienced biomedical engineers and
technologists see themselves as mentors who cares for the younger ones as just as
parents or guardians, provide them with support, counsel, friendship and
reinforcement. Please, if you have knowledge, let others light their candles by it.
Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race according to Gladstone (1987).
Furthermore, the followings are postulates that all stakeholders in biomedical engineering
and technology need to ponder about.
• “The same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves
• “Selfishness is the great unknown sin. No selfish person ever thought himself to be
• “Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.
THANKS FOR YOUR RAPT ATTENTION
Andrew Gibbons (2011). Mentoring definitions. Retrieved on 2nd ay
MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership (2005). How to Build a
Successful Mentoring Program Using the Elements of Effective
Practice; A step-by-step tool kit for program managers retrieved on
2nd May 2013 from www.mentoring.org.
MentorSet (2008). What is mentoring? Retrieved on 2nd may 2013
Mentorship (n.d). Retrieved
on 13 July 2013 from
Personal development (n.d). retrived on 13 July 2013 from
Professional development (n.d). Retrieved on 13th July 2013 from
Further information/suggestions/comments about this
paper could be forwarded to:
EYAREFE O. STEPHEN
Department of Dental Technology
School of Health Technology
Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Imo State.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: 08032091758, 08055465560