Checking in with AAMI Mentor–Protégé Pairs
February 1, 2020
Categories: AAMI News, Early Career, Education & Academia, Health Technology Management, HTM Professionals, Individual Contributor, Manager or Director
In 2019, AAMI revitalized its mentorship program, which pairs early-career AAMI members and seasoned healthcare technology management professionals for a year-long mentoring relationship.
The most recent mentoring pairs, 27 in total, began working together in September 2019. Six months later, several protégés report their mentors have already started making a difference in their professional lives.
Mentor: Eric Robinson, CBET, is vice president of operations at CME Corporation in Providence, RI.
Protégé: Nathan Lynch, CHTM, is a healthcare technology manager in the clinical engineering department at TRIMEDX in New Orleans, LA.
Robinson said his experience with his company’s apprenticeship program is what made him interested in the AAMI mentorship program. Lynch signed up as a protégé because he felt his career had stalled and wanted to get an outside perspective on his professional path.
“I wanted to gauge whether or not I was being a classic millennial and trying to move too quickly,” said Lynch. “Should I look for a new opportunity or pump my brakes and focus on my current situation?”
Lynch said Robinson helped him think of ways to expand his career, not just in his 9-to-5 job, but also outside the office. Robinson suggested Lynch get more involved with his hospital and take the AAMI Certified Healthcare Technology Managers exam to continue learning about the clinical engineering field.
“Before we had our first phone meeting, my company, Aramark, was acquired by TRIMEDX,” Lynch said. “With this acquisition came a lot of change. Eric taught me about change management and helped me to define my role within the new company. His advice has made me grow as a leader.”
Robinson added that he has also gained a lot professionally from being a part of the AAMI Mentor–Protégé program. “I find I’m getting as much knowledge out of this as Nathan—definitely more than I was expecting—it’s very much a bidirectional process.” For the next six months, Robinson and Lynch plan to keep up their monthly calls and will continue their mentor–protégé relationship after the 12-month period is over.
Mentor: Alan Lipschultz, CCE, PE, CSP, CPPS, is the president of HealthCare Technology Consulting LLC in North Bethesda, MD.
Protégé: Emmanuel Lamar Sherman, CBET, is a biomedical engineering technician II at Crothall Healthcare Technology Solutions in Union, NJ.
Lipschultz got involved with the AAMI mentorship program because he has the time to do so now that he is semi-retired. “I put my name in the hat and got matched up with Emmanuel,” he said.
Sherman applied to the program because he wanted to learn more about the field of clinical engineering. “When I signed up, I was at a point where I knew a lot about the aspects of clinical engineering that I had been exposed to, but there were plenty of things I didn’t know. I thought the mentor–protégé program would be a good way for me to grow professionally.”
During their first few meetings, Lipschultz and Sherman talked about how they got to where they are in their professional lives and what work and training experiences they share.
Sherman was recently promoted from BMET I to BMET II and then director, after serving as his group’s interim director. “Alan gave me great guidance regarding how he would handle the positioning during this time in professional limbo,” said Sherman.
Lipschultz said working with Sherman has taught him more about the outsourced clinical engineering business. “In the past, I’ve found that people in an in-house clinical engineering department are often wary of dealing with an outside company like Crothall. Emmanuel helped me better understand how an employee of an outside company functions in an in-house capacity. These companies have a different business model from in-house groups. My interaction with Emmanuel gave me another, valuable perspective.”
For the next six months, Lipschultz wants to continue to focus on Sherman’s needs in his transition position, looking at his professional horizon and defining his long-term goals.
To learn more about AAMI’s mentorship program, visit www.aami.org/mentorship.
Tips for Effective Mentoring
AAMI staff members offer the following tips on how to provide effective mentoring.
- Give consistent and dependable advice and respond in a timely manner.
- Set guidelines and expectations from the beginning, including how often you will meet or interact.
- Protégé and mentor should share goals and find commonalities. It's important for both parties to have a good understanding of what the protégé wants to develop or learn.
- Encourage your protégé to communicate openly. Ask open-ended and fact-seeking questions and understand that silence is useful when information is being digested.
- Both protégés and mentors should practice active listening. Don't dominate the conversation—be an engaged listener and respect what is being said.
- Don't be afraid to challenge a protégé to get their attention or drive a point home.
- Ask tough questions to encourage breakthroughs in conversation, such as "If you could change one thing about your relationship with your boss, what would it be?"
- Commit to the relationship. If your current workload is overwhelming and you find it difficult to devote time to the mentorship program, it may be better for you to bow out until a later date.