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The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career development and work/Life Balance in Biomedical Engineering Profession-Short Communication

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Abstract

The socioeconomic , technological and emotional imbalance remains an issue of individual growth in career development and work-life balance. The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career development and work and lifestyle balance in biomedical professions was examined. Career development was studied using self-assessment, career awareness, performance, skill acquisition, goal setting and work-life style balance. Career development can be achieved with pleasure if the essential routes were addressed by the parties involved in mentoring programs. Proffered solution of organizational support, social support, use of modern facilities and self-assessment were recommended as tools for mentoring programs that reduced pain, depression, friction and wear, and emotional stress of mentors and mentees. Thus, provide an outstanding strength of social, economic, technological and emotional output as well as good healthy conditions for career development and stable work-lifestyle to achieve a set goal and target in biomedical engineering profession based on action plans.
IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy And Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS)
e-ISSN:2278-3008, p-ISSN:2319-7676. Volume 14, Issue 1 Ser. IV (Jan Feb 2019), PP 01-07
www.Iosrjournals.Org
DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 1 | Page
The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career
development and work/Life Balance in Biomedical Engineering
Profession- Short Communication
Alma Tamunonengiofori Banigo1*, Samuel Chidi Iwuji1, Judith Chinelo
Ezelote2andTaofikOladimeji Azeez1
1Department of Biomedical Technology, Federal University of Technology, P. M. B. 1526, Owerri, Imo State,
Nigeria.
2Department of Public Health, Federal University of Technology, P. M. B. 1526, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
Corresponding author:Alma Tamunonengiofori Banigo
Abstract: The socio-economic, technological and emotional imbalance remains an issue of individual growth in
career development and work-life balance. The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career
development and work and lifestyle balance in biomedical professions was examined. Career development was
studied using self-assessment, career awareness, performance, skill acquisition, goal setting and work-life style
balance. Career development can be achieved with pleasure if the essential routes were addressed by the parties
involved in mentoring programs. Proffered solution of organizational support, social support, use of modern
facilities and self-assessment were recommended as tools for mentoring programs that reduced pain,
depression, friction and wear, and emotional stress of mentors and mentees. Thus, provide an outstanding
strength of social, economic, technological and emotional output as well as good healthy conditions for career
development and stable work-lifestyle to achieve a set goal and target in biomedical engineering profession
based on action plans.
Keywords: Career Development, work-life balance, mentorship programs, biomedical engineering
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Date of Submission: 31-01-2019 Date of acceptance: 15-02-2019
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I. Introduction
Mentorship programs are mainly to guide and care for young people in personal, academic and
professional situations. Quality mentoring relationships connects young people to personal growth and
development as well as social and economic opportunities that enable a mentor think less of himself or herself
but rather utilize so much time proffering better solutions to greatly assist in building and maintaining a stable
society, share the skills, knowledge and experience with the mentees, do the right things, tend to positively
change lives in the process, develop career and teach several ways to balance work and life style of the protégé
(RightPath, 2017; Lewis et al, 2017). It can be deduced that a mentor possesses a higher ranking influence of
experience, knowledge and commitment with skills to provide upward mobility and support for the career of the
protégé. Career development (CD) comprises of goals, objectives and ongoing series of activities set by or for a
person in an organization or institution. It requires majorly training on both new and existing skills, acquisition
of more knowledge, professional development, career planning activities, moving to higher job responsibilities,
making a career change or even starting a business in order to successfully perform one’s job, most importantly
in Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Public Health (PUH) Professions (Lewis et al, 2017). The CD usually
commences with self-actualization and self-assessment of person’s interests and capabilities. Then, the interests
are joined with the various available options. Acquired knowledge and skills as well as experience gained are
important features for the specific career path, effective and efficient performance to achieve all goals and set
targets (Cindy and Herald, 2015). This process helps to create stability at work and will eventually be a major
tool to balance lifestyle and work (Cindy and Herald, 2015). Work and life balance (W/LB)can be expressed as
a state of equilibrium between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and private
lifestyle.
This indicated that there should be comparison between the time spent at work and your family or on
your own. The work-life balance differs in individuals because of the presence of a variety of priorities and
different lives, and state of an individual (Rolfe, 2017). For instance, the right balance for the individual at 20
years (single) will be different at 34 years (married) or even with kids in the family. It also affects individuals
when they begin a new career or even when planning for retirement as well as finance, education and health.
However, effectiveness of work-life balance is a dependant of achievement, performance, motivation,
The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career development and work/Life Balance in ..
DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 2 | Page
optimismand enjoyment (Rolfe, 2017). Both CD and W/LB are forcing functions of mentoring programs for
women and men in all professions, most especially biomedical professions in developing countries (Carpenter,
O’Neal & Bakken, 2012).
In Africa, BME is still emerging and many graduates as well as employees in the field are sceptical
about excelling in this profession due to many issues of concern such as socio-economic, technological and
emotional imbalance of individual to achieve and enjoy the CD and W/LB. In this short communication, the
impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career development, and work and lifestyle balance in biomedical
professions was examined.
Career Development in BME
Mentoring programs play significant roles in career development in BME through self-assessment, career
awareness, career awareness, skill acquisition and performance and work and lifestyle balance as illustrated in
Figure 1.
Figure 1: Basic Steps in Career Development.
A. Self-Assessment
For quality mentoring programs in the area of career development in BME and other health
professions, both mentors and mentees examine themselves based on goals, strength, challenges and characters
before the program and assessment on purpose, communication, trust, process, progress and feedback during the
mentoring program. This can be done either by using questionnaires or among themselves during an in-house
session within a period of 3 to 6 months.
According to Rolfe (2015) report, prior to the program, both parties note the short-term (365 days) and
long-term (between 3 and 6years or more) goals and give reasons for choosing such paths first.
The role of the mentor and mentees in reaching those specific goals must always be defined and the
level of knowledge acquired and years of work experience gained by the mentors during his study and work
times will surely contribute significantly towards the growth and development of the mentees’ career (Lewis et
al, 2017). Secondly, identify their strength including personal, professional, interpersonal, organizational or
other in actualizing these dreams and weaknesses that may hinder themselves from forging ahead. Next,
determine better ways a mentor can assist to address the challenges. Finally, devise several means of working
between the mentor and mentees (Rolfe, 2017). This could be achieved through mentoring interactions and
conversation, executing a project together, and most effective and least effective in decision making with
constructive feedback as reported by researchers (Rolfe, 2017; Warnock, 2006; Lewis et al, 2017). In as much as
the mentor has so many questions to ask and answer with much work to do, the mentees also have specific roles
to play. During the program, both mentors and mentees see it as a very essential asset and must give a clear
definition as well as objective of meeting together (Aroundcampus, 2017). According to Rolfe (2017), there
should be official documents stating your agreement and purpose for enrolling in such a program, allocate a
CAREER
DEVELOPMENT
SELF
ASSESSMENT
CAREER
AWARENESS
GOAL SETTING
SKILL
ACQUISITION
PERFORMANCE
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DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 3 | Page
time frame for the program, both parties should choose better communication tools and methods and never fail
to call to cancel any fixed appointment, both parties should be effective in listening and store information all the
time and ask relevant questions and share vital information about themselves. There should be avoidance of
combining friendship with business, ensure all information is confidential to avoid breach of trust., do not speak
ill of any person or criticize each other and employ the stages of formal meeting which include building rapport,
setting direction, sustaining progress and close the formal part of the mentoring program, and then check if each
person is comfortable with the idea. The mentor should ensure that there is continuous progress in achieving the
life goals of the mentees. In addition, identify as well share interesting learning experiences and generate the
results together. Finally, ask for honest and tactful positive as well as corrective feedback on your performance
with confidence. All of these can help each person to critically assess oneself before, during and after the
program.
B. Career Awareness (CA)
Career, is simply termed as a profession or occupation as the case may be. Career awareness in BME
involves the basic understanding of various required skills as well as knowledge in BME profession. CA also
entails the types of jobs available in the profession that one should identify and consider in order to be
successful. In the process, both mentee and mentor can answer questions on responsibilities, relevance, state and
future of BME as a career as well as qualifications needed for BME. The responsibilities of the BMEs solely
depends on the kind of organization, the position at work and the particular discipline in BME that has been
chosen by the mentee. For instance, if the mentee is a Biomedical Design Expert, knowledge and skills in
specific areas such as mathematics and statistics, physics, information technology, engineering, numerical,
modelling, critical thinking, innovation, medicine, biology, design concept are essential. They would be applied
at any given time at work. As for qualification, Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical
Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Medicine, biology, chemistry and Medical
Physics are relevant and also depends on your area of specialization. In future, the world will be a better place as
regards to healthcare delivery for effective and efficient diagnosis or therapies as BME professions becomes
ultimately enhanced. Moreover, questions on salary must be asked and answered in order to assist mentees’
plans for career development.
The sole difference between self-assessment and career awareness is the fact that one must look inward
by knowing the strength and preferences in self-assessment whereas career awareness makes the same
individual look outward most especially in their field or organization.
C. Goal Setting (GS)
Our targets, objectives or actions can be seen as goals and the ability to draft out or beautifully design a
solid and achievable plan filled with motivation and guidance towards the goal is called Goal Setting. The set
goals gives directions and determines the principles to apply for fruitful outcome or yields progress (expected
results). For instance, a mentor in BME profession is expected to produce the most qualified, competent, well
behaved, focus and most independent Biomedical engineers whereas the system here is the work the team
(mentees) do every day. This may be attributed to time commitment and preoccupancy of mentor with
challenges in his/her own career. This is similar to the report of Cindy and Herald (2015). As a lecturer, I intend
becoming an outstanding professor of BME in the nearest future and my system involves research, reading and
writing every day. The process of setting goals are shown in Figure 2.
The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career development and work/Life Balance in ..
DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 4 | Page
Figure 2: Goal Setting Process in Biomedical Engineering.
A potential biomedical engineer or an expert in the field must have faith and the right mind-set about
BME profession. The individual visualizes that proper diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases come
from enhanced healthcare delivery through multidisciplinary tools of biomedical technology. This can only be
possible with our ideas that turned into reality as input in the field. The clearer your goals are, the closer and
better you are to achieving them.
These sets of motivational goals must be very important in your life and there is a reward in achieving
them. If the larger picture drawn is not so interesting and you are not eager to forge ahead, then there is no need
to start at all. Motivation and value are the keys. The major factor in this particular area is goal selection which
can be achieved usingSMART tools (MindTools, 2017). SMART simply means specific, measurable, attainable,
relevant and time bound goals that will motivate you, put in writing, draw an action plan and work with it as
presented in Table 1.
Table 1: SMART tools used for setting motivational goals in BME Profession
S/N SMART Tools APPLICATION
1 Specific The goals must be clearly identified and well defined. They are expected to show the way. They
should have a good beginning and show precisely where you must go.
2 Measurable These specific goals should be rated or measured in percentage, duration and in terms of
achievement too. With this, it is easier to know if moving forward is good or taking a step back
with a different strategy is better.
3 Attainable It is better to set realistic but challenging set goals rather than a very easy one or unrealistic ones.
People will praise you and would also learn from you at the end
4 Relevant As a BME, the goals are expected to be related to my profession in order for one to grow and
achieve so much.
5 Time bound There should be a time frame and deadline for the work to be done with much attention,
motivation, seriousness and urgency. By so doing, the work will finish on time and achievement
comes quicker.
Lawyers write every time because of its importance attributed to it in their profession. As a BME, the
written set goals remains authentic, memorable and powerful, and always framed positively. Goal commitment
and focus are essential tools used at this stage for proper planning of the specific goals. Then, prepare a list to
do, daily action plan (steps to follow) and keep it so close all the time. Always review the set goals to check for
success, keep one on track and expect feedback. Remember to make it relevant, valuable and of high priority.
Along the line, the action plan may change due to unforeseen circumstances but the final terminal remains the
same. Always stay committed to whatever plan you’ve made, be accountable, reliable and trustworthy for any of
your action.
BELIEF AND
VISUALIZE
SET
MOTIVATIONAL
GOALS
DRAFT OUT
GOALS AND
PURPOSE
COMMITTMENT
AND STAY
FOCUS
ACTION PLAN
WITHOUT
PROCASTINATION
ACCOUNTABILITY
AND REVIEW
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D.Skill Acquisition
An act of undergoing training in a particular field such as BME for better performance of duties is
called skill acquisition. Skill is very essential to man for the purpose of living. Most BMEs get better jobs
because of the practical skills acquired in their profession and earn larger sum of money. In BME profession,
acquired skills enables the individual to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems; design systems and
conduct experiments; analyse and interpret data, ability to communicate effectively and work as a great team
player and meet deadlines for the purpose of healthcare delivery. According to Benjamin Franklin in Brainy
Quote (2017), ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn’. Skills, time of
contact and connections, and many more attributes lead to excellent performance at work and development of
career, thus reducing unemployment rate.in developing countries including Nigeria. This can be justified by the
report of Lewis et al (2017) in which the successful and excellent performance of combined mentoring
intervention (mentoring training and peer) dyads were perceived based on the quality of their time of contact to
acquire the skill.
E. Goal-performance relationship
Performance of an individual is a major factor in CD and can only be actualized well when self-
assessment, career awareness, goals setting, acquisition of relevant skills and other factors are greatly considered
and implemented first. The employee has a clear career path and plan which apparently motivates him/her to
move forward in life. Attitude, character and behaviour are vital elements that work with the individual’s
specific goals to give outstanding performance at work. Locke & Colleagues (1981) created a relationship
between behaviour and goals.
They studied the behavioural effects of goal setting in laboratory as well as field studies and found out
that setting specific challenging goals led to better performance than easier ones and also employers will receive
excellent and faster outputs from employees if they make them focus on a particular direction with much effort
rather than giving them a vague idea or expression or even work to do. Another area that contributed to
excellent performance is the aspect of networking which makes the employee or mentee popular, reliable and
accessible in the area of expertise. The time of contacts and connections with different people and ideas shared,
facts and solution which could apparently change their lives and lives of others, make them better people in the
society and increase the working values and standard above normal level. This indicated that successful leaders
have more than one mentor as reported by Cindy and Herald (2015). The report of Carpenter et al (2017)
indicated that the mentoring programs improved the career development and overall job satisfaction related to
working climate, retention, and promotion. Hence, enhanced its efficiency and effectiveness.
Work and Lifestyle balance
In this case, the employee has to see the importance of both family as well as work and try as much
humanly possible to strike a balance. Look at your personal and professional goals. Prioritize well and use your
time judiciously. The end point for both work and life balance is fulfilment and satisfaction which will reduce
stress, pain and depression to a minimum level. Hiccup or conflict at the office or home usually causes an
imbalance at work and in life. When this happens, the individual is filled with exhaustion, psychological stress
and depression, which apparently generates poor or terrible outputs. This affects female researchers most times
as they start bearing children and caring for the families. Researchers, most especially early career researchers
can also face pressure like funding, grant applications, reviews, article writing and proposal preparations which
could wear them out, be stressful or even be detrimental to their health and career. According to Banigo et al.
(2016) and FSWSE (2010), it is not advisable to lose a great female student or employee for family reason,
because you may be losing a nation in the process. More resourceful and flexible programs and policies
provided by universities and organizations will eventually play a role in developing both women and men in
BME and other health professions. Figure 3 highlights four major solutions to solve aching problems in
balancing work and life.
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DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 6 | Page
Figure 3: Proffered solutions for proper work and life balance
Organizational support
The use of opportunities including paid maternal and paternal leave, flexible work hours or part-time
appointments, child care and many other services for assistance, aid to alleviate burden on them and strike a
balance. It is important to check if these services exist in an organization before applying for the job. It helps
one focus on desired and more tangible output instead of work overtime (Bafor, 2017). Provision of facilities for
both mentors and protégés such as funding, materials, accommodation, incentives and many others by
organization contributed significantly to work lifestyle and career development in biomedical and other health
professions. The appointment of mentees for younger staff (mentors) with progressive feedback report from
both parties by the organization based on target builds an outstanding career and work life of both parties. This
stays in agreement with report of Cindy and Herald (2015) report. Moreover, proper planning of the
responsibilities at work and home, having enough time to rest and do other extracurricular activities usually
keep the body fit, sane and balanced. Work well with teams and sometimes delegate some daunting tasks to
reduce detrimental stress on employees health. These major points tend to create an equilibrium between work
and life style and also act as a major factor in career development.
Social support
Build strong networks of social support with different people as well as organizations and connections
between the workers, mentors and mentees strengthen, maintain and sustain the best work and life balance. This
creates cordial relationships between the mentors and mentees and promote the work life with improved career
development. The provision of recreational and relaxation centres for both mentors and mentees improved the
work life in an organization. These have been observed in many multinational companies because they increase
the spirit of friendship, contact time, interactions and love between the mentors and mentees. If there is any
issue with mentee, this will provide an avenue for the issue to be solved between the mentors and mentees
through a means to learn a mode to accept an offer to help. In the cause of mentoring programs effect on work
lifestyle and career development, the sexual involvement should be avoided in order not to abolish the mentor
and mentee relationship. This is in agreement with the report of Banigo et al (2016) and Banigo et al (2017).
Utilizing modern facilities
Telecommunication through the use of mobile devices, internet or smart portable devices help the
individual strike a balance. These machines can be operated at home (unofficial environment) to conduct
research based work, for instance, either checking or responding to emails or even reading articles at home and
taking unofficial work of mentee such as scheduling appointments or online shopping to the office. This also
helps to improve intimacy between the mentor and mentee through chatting using social media like whatsapp,
facebook, palmchat and so on. It is paramount to know when to switch off from office work to home work or
relaxation mood because BME researchers may fail to know when to do so.
Self-assessment
This is the last but most delicate step to take because it tends to determine what you actually want.
Self-care is very important (Bafor, 2017). Weekly or monthly assessment of personal, priorities and professional
Work and Life Balance
Organizational support
Social support
Use of mordern facilities
Self-assessment
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DOI: 10.9790/3008-1401040107 www.iosrjournals.org 7 | Page
goals enables the mentors and mentees to be aware of themselves and make strategic decisions about tasks, time
management and responsibilities but not perfectionism.
II. Recommendations
Every working class individual should assess and evaluate himself/herself occasionally on the strength
and weaknesses of their work, time management at work and home.
If there is an imbalance, try to draw an action plan to work with, for proper balancing of both work and
life style as well as development of career through mentoring programs. This action plan should cover
responsibilities at work and home without guilt or regrets. Try and work flexibly to enable one execute good
projects, perform better research and carefully manage family, church and personal commitments better and
healthier.
III. Conclusion
The mentoring programs remain a vital tool to improve self-assessment, career awareness, performance,
skill acquisition and goal setting style balance if properly adopted by both the mentors and mentees for the
purpose of career development and work lifestyle balance. Pain, fatigue, depression, friction and wear with
emotional imbalance of parties (mentors and mentees) involved in mentoring programs can be alleviated if there
is proper use of modern facilities, self-assessment and support of organization on provision of funding, material
and other incentives with social support by professional bodies for mentors and mentees. These could improve
the time of contact, love, motivation, dedication and effectiveness of both parties. Thus, enhance the
achievement of set goals and target of appropriate skill, experience, knowledge and performance for
organization and biomedical professions.
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Alma Tamunonengiofori Banigo. "The impact of mentoring programs for sustainable career
development and work/Life Balance in Biomedical Engineering Profession- Short
Communication" IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS) 14.1
(2019): 01
-
07.
IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences (IOSR-JPBS) is UGC approved Journal
with Sl. No. 5012, Journal no. 49063.
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Full-text available
Achieving a healthy work/life balance as a researcher. Author AID
  • E Bafor
E Bafor. Achieving a healthy work/life balance as a researcher. Author AID.,2017, Retrieved fromhttp://www.authoraid.info/en/news/details/1223/
Benjamin Franklin Quotes
  • Brainy Quote
Brainy Quote. Benjamin Franklin Quotes.,2017, Retrieved fromhttps://www.brainyquote.com/
Golden Rules of Goal Setting
  • Mindtools
MindTools. Golden Rules of Goal Setting.,2017, Retrieved fromhttps://www.mindtools.com/ pages/ article/newHTE_90.htm