Recently I spoke on a “Twitter Nurses & Tech Space.”
My first time participating in a Twitter Space, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
I got the opportunity to interact with Nurses passionate about Technology and its importance in healthcare.
The space hosted nurses who were already changing the world with technology. And there were also nurses there who were planning to get into the tech space.
It was stimulating, exciting, and rich in content [I think I will start getting involved with these “Twitter Spaces”].
That meeting inspired me to write this post and start a short series [on Care City] for Nurses who want to migrate into the world of technology [though I have been writing about nurses in tech for more than two years, this comes as a ‘bigger’ motivation for me].
I write, that’s what I do. And with my writing, I want to inspire as many people as possible [especially nurses & healthcare professionals] to do more, by bringing information [in simple forms] to them that educates, motivates, entertains, guides, and inspires [this is my work in a nutshell].
In this first part of the series, we will look at the importance of mentorship in migrating into the world of technology for nurses & healthcare professionals.
A lot of nurses want to leave the bedside for various reasons. Many of them are finding out that there are more opportunities beyond the bedside, and they want to explore — they want to change their world.
But I want to point your attention to something vital.
Your motives must be pure and clear. You shouldn’t decide on the tech part simply because clinical nursing is boring, or you want to make more money, or for some other shallow reason[s].
If your reasons look like these, then you are already building on a faulty foundation, because a time will come when you will face challenges, and it’s your passion & vision [your strong & solid reasons] that will speak for you.
Before you venture, always have a solid vision. It’s not just about you, no, it’s a bigger picture.
Transitioning into an entirely alien professional field is not an easy journey, especially one like technology that is highly challenging and technical.
I have had people come to me, seeking advice on how to get involved with technology. And for most of them, I can almost see that they do not know where they are going or what they want.
This is where mentorship comes into play.
You need a mentor who is experienced, wise & passionate enough to guide you, not just to direct you, but to guide you — to walk with you as you start your journey and make progress.
This is the vital element that we lack as a health tech community in Africa. We lack adequate mentorship — the few mentors we have are either too busy building their visions or seeking even better mentorship opportunities.
A mentor is someone who has successfully walked the path that you now seek to tread [or who is successfully walking that path].
They have sustained injuries, gathered networks, secured enough experience, and have built a strong community. What you do, is just to key into their achievements. It makes life so easy for you.
When I started writing about innovation, leadership, and digital health, I had no mentor. There was no one to hold my hands and tell me what to do and how to do it. Why, because it was a relatively new area [especially in Nigeria].
Where will you find nurses who will take out time from tight schedules and huge responsibilities to start writing or designing websites or writing codes?
It was hard. So, I had to start running on my own. Though there were a couple of folks who were already doing something. What they were doing, was not what I wanted to do.
I wanted to do something different.
However, over the past few years, we have had more nurses discover these spaces, and they have crawled into them, causing massive changes, and that means you have more mentors available to help you with your journey.
How Do You Find These Mentors?
The best way to find mentors, of any kind is to get actively involved with communities that speak your language.
With finding mentors in technology, you must be on the lookout for technological communities or social groups that are related to your passions.
If you have time [hmm], try to join conferences, health tech summits, or Twitter Spaces or Workshops. You will be amazed at how much insight you will gather and the mentorship opportunities that you will find in those conclaves.
Some of the great guys you see today got the boost when they got involved with some form of community.
Now to more practical steps on how to find good mentors.
Discover Your Passion or Interests
This is important [don’t move fast if you have not fully discovered].
Your passion or interest is like a tiny compass that directs you. If you are about to take the wrong direction, your compass is the tool that reminds you of where you are supposed to be headed to.
In discovering your passions or interest, there are certain things that you can do.
What tickles you? When you look at stuff on the internet, what amazes and excites you? Data? Writing? Design? Robots? People? Social Media? Programming?
What communities attract you? Administrative Communities [communities that center around leadership, management & processes], or Core Tech communities [Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science].
You need to know. And the only way to know is not by wishing. You must go out there and explore.
Nurses & Healthcare Professionals don’t know how to explore [or they don’t want to]!
They are too insular, restricting themselves to one part of the board, refusing to know what lies beyond.
This is where the big problem is.
But I am happy it’s all changing.
It takes a spirit that loves adventure to venture into the world of technology.
If you are scared, pessimistic, and boring, I fear you will never be able to make any progress in the world of technology.
That’s just the “data truth” guys.
Now that you have discovered your interests… Mind you, as time goes by, as you grow in that interest or passion, you will discover that your interest begins to like mature and grow branches, i.e you begin to have other related interests, just keep growing, keep learning all that you can learn, but be “ruggedly focused”...
…You now need mentors. Find one as soon as possible. One that you can reach — the one you can touch with your bare hands, just kidding — I mean one that you can interact with. And how can you do that?
“Errm, sometimes, a mentor can discover your strength and guide you towards that direction [in rare cases, it takes good mentors to do that]”.
Finding a mentor you can interact with…
Join their communities [if you have to pay to join, then pay, it’s an investment]. Don’t always look for free things. Money is the sacrifice we pay to get value. If you have to spend it to get connected to a source that can uplift you, why not do it.
Get active in those communities. Active. Not hypocritical activeness, the kind you do because you want to get noticed for no good reasons. But get active asking questions.
Contributing where you can, and just having fun — be open-minded.
Get ‘Really’ Dirty [good dirtiness]. Start small projects or do assignments with all your heart. If you have been told in a writing class to do some assignments, then do it.
If you have been told in Web Development classes to build tiny blogs or websites, then go ahead and do it.
If you have been instructed to write little codes, do it mate.
It doesn’t cost you anything to “JUST DO IT.”
Volunteer Where Possible. This is the part where people seem to run away from.
If you get the opportunity to volunteer under a mentor, run for it [with caution, because you should also know when it’s time to climb higher — some mentors could be nasty].
Some workshops have volunteering opportunities. If you find yourself in that kind of community that offers volunteering spaces, attach yourself, and learn all that you can.
Internship. I see internships as advanced forms of volunteering. You haven’t got the ‘full’ skills yet, but you have a rudimentary form of it, so you get hired to work & learn [some may even pay you, how thoughfull].
If you get this opportunity, please jump at it and make good use of the time.
You have to learn & contribute as much as you can to the system teaching you — with all of your heart.
Now, you are much closer to your mentor! Yippee!!
The main thing is LEARNING!
When I see people who love to learn, I admire them.
Learning is everything in life.
Once a prospective mentor detects that you are ready to learn [and you have no pride in yourself], they will get attracted to you, and are likely to pick you up.
Big mentors could be really, really busy. You will understand better when you get that high. There is always something to do.
So, when you eventually capture their attention, make sure you do all you can to keep the spotlight on you for as long as it takes you to learn the ropes.
It’s not always easy to find mentors. To be frank. But it’s possible. People have done it, people are doing it, you will do it.
An idea can be with you for so many years without even germinating. You need the right people to help your growth & development.
If you feel you don’t need people, then there is nothing this article can do for you. This piece is for those who believe in people. People who believe in community.
Now, from finding a mentor, what’s the next step?
If you want to know, then subscribe to any of my free newsletters, so you can get the next part of this article sent directly to your inbox.
You can subscribe to my newsletter ‘Unbounded’on Substack [it’s ‘absolutely’ free and I feature a lot of my works there — old and fresh stuff], or our newsletter here on Care City [below], or follow me on Twitter [I so much prefer Twitter to other social media platforms, I share all of my works there].
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