Jason and Justina

Jason is 26 years old. He was employed in the Pathology lab, where I work three months ago. He is the senior laboratory technician in the Medical laboratory, to whom I report during my work. He left the university four years ago and has somehow become a highflyer who has his own way of doing things.

Jason seems to be very competent in the laboratory work. In fact, one may not know that he left the university just four years ago by looking at the competence and confidence with which he does his work. I, at one time, thought that he was taught different things at the university and not the same things that others were taught.

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Jason does not stick to the known professional ways of analyzing samples all the time. He, sometimes, uses different procedures, which seem to give the same results I have always got, when carrying out the same tests in the traditional way. But somehow, his procedures look better. In some cases, his procedures are faster, while in some cases they are easier to follow. When I studied his procedures keenly, I realized that they are just the normal procedures with slight adjustments here and there. This shows that he has been undergoing through the process of reflection for personal and professional development.

Jason has taken many responsibilities in the laboratory. Some of these responsibilities are part of his job description, while some are not. For example, he has become a teacher in the lab. He teaches other lab assistants on better methods of analyzing samples. He is also very committed to his work and takes time to evaluate each test he carries out to see if there is any development that can be made or lesson that can be learnt. This is an act of reflection that allows for continuous learning and development (Boud 2001).

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My relationship with Jason began just a few days after he had joined our organization. A sample had been forwarded to the laboratory for testing. It happened that the doctor who sent the sample expected it urgently because of the nature of the patient he was handling. However, the sample went through the normal batching process. As there were also other samples to be dealt with, it took long before the sample was worked on. The doctor called the lab asking why the sample was not ready, while it was very urgent. Jason explained that it was because of the system that that had happened. He immediately searched for the sample among other samples, worked on it and sent it to the doctor. He, then, suggested that for such mistakes not to reoccur in future samples that are required urgently should be marked as urgent or explanations made, when they are handed in to the reception. As I was the person that was supposed to handle that sample, I felt helped and saved from the stress that would have followed.

Since that time, the relationship between Jason and me has changed from that of supervisor and supervisee to that of a mentor and mentee. We understand one another, open to one another and trust each other. This has created respect and a sense of warmth in our relationship. In agreement with Hunt (1986), this has enabled effective supervision between us. During the sample incidence, Jason demonstrated readiness to understand my situation as a supervised by recognizing that it was the system that hindered me from having dealt with sample, when it was required. Our relationship has, therefore, been enriched with a two way communication. This has made our work more productive and effective because we understand that we are on the same side, working towards achieving the same goal (Shohet and Wilmot 1991).


Justina has been a class member that any tutor would be happy to talk about. In fact, if she had not registered for the course, then, the class would have been much different in terms of the learning process, the teaching methods that could have been used and the learning outcomes. She was not only an active and committed member of the class but was also able to influence other class members into commitment and hard work.

Justina was always keen to getting the concepts right. This propelled her to active participation during both class lessons and group work. She asked questions and attempted answering several questions, asked by the tutor and fellow students in class. She, sometimes, questioned the relevance and validity of certain theories that were taught in class and some, which she read in books. This shows that she is a reflective thinker who recognizes that knowledge is vulnerable to obsolesce. This unique character in her is very important for personal, professional and organisational development.

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Justina’s fellow students also have a lot to say about her. Justina was the group leader. She always played a mentor role among her group members. She contributed her views during group discussions and allowed each group member to contribute as well. After group meetings, she followed her group members to know how they are doing at informal levels. This enabled her to develop trust, respect and mutual understanding among the group members.

Justina demonstrated that the organization she works with values personal development. I believe that the she is able to apply the concepts and skills she has learnt for better personal, professional and organizational development.

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