Monday, October 29, 2012

Mentoring and Learning

Were you fortunate enough to have a mentor somewhere along your career path?  I find that within neurodiagnostic technology, mentoring is a great way to help give a boost to someone who is trying to prepare for a Board Exam or learn a new modality.  Many technologists work in rural areas or in a one-person lab and they feel isolated and alone and have no one to go to with questions.  I get those kind of calls every day!  ASET used to have a formal mentor program to try to connect those who needed to learn, with those willing to coach.  Although we do not formally offer this program any more, I do try to find help for people who really need it.  You might wonder why the mentor program was dropped.  I found that it was extremely difficult to find a qualified person to serve as a mentor for a specific tech who needed help, mostly due to the geographic challenges.  The techs wanted mentors they could visit in person, and that was next to impossible to find.
I had a very special mentor, early in life who inspired me and gave me confidence, my grandmother, whom I called “Nana”.  She was born in Eastport, Maine in 1898, one of seven children in a fairly poor family.  But she really could cook!  Most of the time she did so without a written recipe.   She taught me how to cook at a very early age.  I remember being small enough, maybe six or seven, when I stood on a stool in front of the stove while she made a fish chowder.  She showed me how it should look, and when to add ingredients.  I have made chowders ever since, fish and clam chowders that get rave reviews from guests.  So, I decided to enter a Chowder Competition here in Boothbay.  I was competing with about 20 restaurant chefs.  I did O.K. and had loads of fun but did not win, place or show.  But I learned a lot that I can use when I try again next year.  Here is a picture of me as “Fish Chowder Faye”.

  On a sad note, this historic ship, the Bounty, a replica used for the movie and for other films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, was being repaired at the shipyard where the chowderfest took place in Boothbay Harbor and I took this picture. 

This ship just left Maine and sailed South, and was lost at sea off of Cape Hatteras, due to Hurricane Sandy.  Most of the crew were rescued, two are lost.

Back to the mentoring:  You too have important skills and knowledge that you can share with others.  Please reach out to techs that you know and offer to help them prepare for exams or learn new skills, from IONM to lab management!  Your contribution will help build our profession and our work force.  My next entry will include more about lab management, as I have questions for all of you pertaining to your needs in this area.

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