Mentoring is the art of helping and empowering others to shape their learning behaviors’. The concept of mentoring has a long history, one that comes to us from Greek mythology. Literature on higher education identifies effective mentoring as an influential factor in student success. Good mentoring practice empowers students by encouraging and supporting each student in successful achievement of goals, and adapting to the academic, social, political and cultural mores of the institution. Mentoring integrates the student into the organization/and or department and fosters:
- Affirmation of potential
- Orientation to the culture of the institution and/or department
- Access to information and resources
A mentor is required to train students in the skills required and make sure they achieve the level of competency associated with each skill. All of the didactic material is delivered through the online courses. Performance of these skills is learned on the bench in the student’s place of employment. The mentor does not serve as a clinical instructor but should be available to answer questions, serve as an evaluator, and check-off core laboratory competencies. Facilities reserve the right to assign other qualified clinical personnel to assist with the academic efforts of the student on an as-needed basis. Educational support facilities (in house or public systems) should serve as proctors for online written examinations. The mentor cannot serve as the student’s proctor. Laboratory competencies should not be performed during the students working hours but on the student’s own time. Laboratory skills are learned, practiced and perfected to the required level of competency in your place of employment while working with a qualified mentor. As a mentor, you will sign off student skills on the competency checklists during the semester they are registered for a particular class. Some BS level classes are project based and do not require a mentor. There are no additional clinical rotations to perform once students have passed the course associated with the laboratory competency.
The time involved will vary each semester depending on the courses your student is taking. There are certain MLS classes that have laboratory competencies that need to be performed in the lab. How many hours the student needs to spend depends on the class credit hours. For every credit hour you need to spend at least that much time each week in the lab on average. For example, if you are taking MLS 2211 Clinical Chemistry which is a 5 credit hour course, your student would need to spend a minimum of 5 hours per week on average in the lab working on the chemistry competency checklist with a qualified mentor. Fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long so by the end of the semester you would need to have completed 80 hours minimum doing chemistry competencies. Please keep in mind that this is the minimum requirement. Your may feel that your student needs to spend more time to become competent in a particular area.
At the beginning of each semester, the student, mentor and lab manager should discuss scheduling times for the student to participate in the laboratory routine, based on when they can best fit into the workflow and complete their required tasks. To be able to complete the tasks, the student will need access to laboratory procedure manuals and laboratory instruments from the facility.
The creation of the help for mentor’s blog is an attempt to create an engaged community of people serving as clinical mentors for the online Medical Laboratory Sciences program by giving mentors ownership over their own learning and an authentic voice, allowing them to articulate their needs and inform their own learning. This site provides support for mentors, answers to questions and a network of individuals with the same experiences to share ideas and knowledge. Having such an audience can result in feedback and greatly increase motivation for each mentor to do their best when it comes to providing guidance for students. Mentors also have each other as their potential audience, enabling each of them to take on a leadership role at different times through the course of their sharing. Moreover, blogging could help mentors see their work in different subjects as interconnected and help them organize their own mentoring style.