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Thank you for your interest

Thank you for your interest in the VIN Foundation Climbing Mt. Debt resources!

 

Your information has been submitted and you will be receiving an email with the session materials matching your request. If you have any questions please contact us.

 

In the mean time here are some helpful resources:

 

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Student Debt Center

Welcome to the VIN Foundation Give page. Thank you for your interest in the Student Debt Center, there are two ways to support the VIN Foundation and its resources: 

 

OPTION 1:

MAKE A ONE-TIME GIFT BY CHOOSING AN AMOUNT TO GIVE BELOW

 

OPTION 2:

MAKE A RECURRING GIFT BY JOINING THE COR GROUP AND CHOOSING “I’D LIKE TO JOIN THE COR GROUP” BELOW

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | GIVENamed after the Latin term for heart, the VIN Foundation’s Cor Group helps the veterinary profession thrive through a recurring monthly gift. Recurring gifts from the heart provide VIN Foundation with stability and reduced costs.

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | Exciting Enhancements to Veterinary Cost of Education Map

Exciting Enhancements to Veterinary Cost of Education Map

Interactive map provides long-desired true-cost view of attending veterinary school

Developed to help pre-veterinary students make better informed decisions when applying to veterinary school, the updated Cost of Education Map collates in one place, in one tool, the information individual students would spend days compiling and analyzing.

 

Most pre-veterinary students apply to multiple schools. Costs vary widely between schools and within schools depending on whether the applicant qualifies for a discounted seat based on residency. The Foundation’s goal in generating this tool is to enable students to apply smarter, seeking the high quality education they desire at the most reasonable cost.

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Vets4Vets® Resources

We’re here to help you

For those needing emotional and psychological support, the following list was compiled by Dr. Bree Montana of Vets4Vets®, a confidential support service provided by the VIN Foundation, available at no-cost to veterinarians anywhere in the world.

I need help now or know someone who needs help, where do I start?

No one needs to struggle alone. If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help, please reach out to Vets4Vets®:

 

FOR VETERINARIANS:

Phone: (530) 794-8094 / Email: Vets4Vets@VINFoundation.org

 

 

FOR SUPPORT STAFF:

Email: Support4Support@VINFoundation.org

Below are a list of additional resources. If you know of a resources you think we should add, please contact Vets4Vets.

UNITED STATES RESOURCES

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a phone connection to those who are feeling suicidal, as well as anyone concerned that someone they know may be suicidal. The service is free and available 24/7. Callers may remain anonymous. (800) 273-8255

 

CrisisTextline provides free, fast, 24/7 crisis support. When we just can’t take it another minute and we can’t get it together to call someone or pull up a website, we can simply text HOME to 741741. A trained crisis counselor will respond right away. Texter may remain anonymous. Their website has more information.

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and links for local chapters

 

IMAlive offers a free online immediate chat option, providing a safe place to go when you are not ready to speak directly to someone. You may remain anonymous. The site has blog posts and other media offerings that may help diffuse anxiety and dissipate pressure and loneliness.

 

CrisisChat is a free, anonymous, 24/7 service of the reputable National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This is their online outreach.

 

Stop a Suicide Today Learn the warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help yourself and others.

 

The Center for Disease Control has a Preventing Suicide: Technical Package providing a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent suicide.

 

National Wellness Institute: Lifestyle Assessment

 

Mental Health America Screening Tools

 

HeartMath Institute: Stress & Well-being Survey

UNITED KINGDOM RESOURCES

Vetlife is a well-developed resource for veterinary surgeons and their dependents. Providing more than suicide-prevention support, Vetlife.org offers a variety of free and anonymous services. Call 0303 040 2551 or see their website.

 

Gov.UK Self-assessment Tools

EUROPE AND BEYOND RESOURCES

The International Association for Suicide Prevention provides a collection of resources covering countries from Albania to Switzerland. Most services are free, and users may remain anonymous.

Have questions or feedback?

 

Contact Us
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Getting the Most out of a Mentor Relationship

What Makes a Great Mentee?

A practical guide to the mentoring relationship.

By Bree Montana, DVM, VIN Foundation Vets4Vets® Program Leader

New hires of all levels of experience are also responsible for the quality of the mentoring relationship.

 

Relationships are always a two-way street. In order for your mentor to help you effectively, there are some things you’ll need to do.

 

Take a moment and mentally catalogue the information you want to know about the hospital you’ll be joining.

EQUIPMENT CONCERNS

Equipment is often an area of concern between practice owners and associates. I am often surprised to hear how many newer graduates see radiographic equipment as a key issue. I guess it’s because I’m so old school, I was already used to reading my own radiographs, so my digital toy didn’t really change things for me. I will admit being able to get a consult without having to “digitize” an old-world rad is much faster!

 

Many practitioners haven’t made the jump from traditional film-based radiographs to DR or CR. Excellent quality radiographs may be taken on traditional film, and digital images of the film-based radiographs will allow radiology consults. Be sure to check out a few rads before you cross a job off of your list simply because they don’t have the technology you became accustomed to in school.

OBSERVATIONS

Try to observe how your new hospital has adapted to tricky situations and patients. Your new team members probably have great ways of helping you deal with your cases without the equipment or drugs you thought you needed but remember to ask for help in a non-critical manner. For example: “What does Dr Boss use to check an ear for foxtails?” instead of “How am I supposed to look in this ear without a video-otoscope?” Techs can be an awesome support system; take a few days to learn the specific language of your new support team. Those team members will be essential to your success!

 

Mentees and newly hired veterinarians, what do you hope to learn from your boss/mentor? Each day, as you drive in to work, think through the things you appreciate most from your colleague. Be ready to verbally compliment them for techniques and technologies they are adding to your bag of tricks and ask for the specific guidance you will need during the day. Remember; great communications skills are like butter and salt — they make everything better!

MULTIPLE METHODS

There are many ways of mentoring — from intensive one-on-one training regimens to more casual remote mentoring relationships. You and your mentor can design a relationship that suits both of you. If you are a newer grad, a few days of shadowing can help you get used to the practice’s style of communication.

 

During the first few days with a new associate, I generally introduce my new colleague to my clients, giving a ten second intro; basically “selling” the new associate’s awesomeness to the client. Then I perform the exam, make the recommendations as per usual. Once the pet is in the treatment area, I’ll invite the shadowing associate to perform their own exam and make recommendations. We generally chat about each of the cases, sharing ideas for diagnostics and treatments. My goal during the shadowing period is to get the team comfortable working together. As soon as the new associated feels ready to go solo, we’ll start booking them appointments. I try to schedule juvenile exams and easier cases for my new colleague during the first month or so. I schedule longer appointment times to begin with, then decrease them as my new colleague becomes more efficient.

 

With more experienced veterinarians, I still provide longer appointment times initially. I’ll always schedule the new doctor with my most experienced technician for the first few weeks. My tech team knows the clients well and will help the doctor create estimates that make sense with our hospital’s style of medicine.

SCHEDULE MODIFICATIONS

Take a moment to consider the kinds of scheduling modifications you might need during your first few months.

 

If you are a newer grad, be sure to discuss appointment type and duration with your new boss and aggressively try to gain efficiency so you can get up to the clinic’s speed with nice, comfortable steps over the first few months.

 

I prefer to start new grads with longer appointments and only do anesthetic procedures on days we are together. We’ll adjust it over time. My practice uses intensive scheduling – 30 minute appointments with 15-min add ins. This means our first appointment starts at 9am and runs to 9:30 am, our second appointment starts at 9:15 am and runs till 9:45 am. I don’t expect newer grads (even with internship training) to “go there” for quite awhile.

 

Of course, this is my style as the culture of our practice is pretty information-intensive. We like to educate clients and develop the best bond we can. Some doctors have great success while being less chatty than I am, and there is nothing wrong with that! Every hospital, and every doctor, will develop the practice style that best suits their communication style and comfort level. Clients will settle in with the culture of practice that best suits their needs as well.

SURGERY HABITS

It’s important for you to become comfortable with the kinds of sedation your hospital offers; either your mentor or an experienced support team member may need to provide support during sedated procedures for the first few months. For the first few weeks, I’ll invite the new associate to scrub in with me on surgeries. I’ll usually do the first ovarian pedicle on the first OVH, then invite them to do the next. During these experiences, I’ll be sure to discuss good surgery habits.

 

For me, this means:

  • Setting up the surgery tray in the same way each time (i.e., sharps to the left, clamps to the right, etc.)
  • Maintaining excellent posture
  • Breathing – I remind myself and my team that “when the going gets tough, the tough relax and breathe!”
  • Self-focusing and calming techniques

 

Conversation during surgery lets my new team member relax and chat about comfortable topics while they work through their first surgeries in our facility. The topics also remind all of us — support staff as well as veterinarians– that high-quality performance is a habit that needs to be practiced.

 

It’s important to acknowledge the elephant living in the surgery suite — fear.  We all experience it in practice.

 

Explaining that I use self-focusing techniques whenever the blood squirts into the air allows less experienced doctors to accept that they will experience some scary things in surgery and medicine, and that they will be able to face those challenges when they arise. When my body is tense, my mind is tense. I try to keep my body comfortable so I can make good decisions.

What focusing and calming techniques do you use when cases get tricky?  What about your boss or the other associates in your practice?

MENTORING OPTIONS

If you’re more experienced, remote mentoring may be an option. I work remotely, on a very casual basis with several doctors. When they find themselves with a confusing case or difficult client, they e-mail me and we chat through options. With my own associates, I’ve been generally pretty available in person or via text message whenever they’re at work for the first year or so. If they have a critical case, I will come in from wherever I am and assist.

 

As they become more confident, I’ll swing by to review rads with them, or just be available for a quick question. Then, I’ll wean myself (ahem! I mean THEM) away and be available by e-mail or cell phone for questions.

 

I try to wait at least a few months before leaving a new associate completely alone. Everyone is unique, so you’ll need to feel your way with this one.

 

Practice owners all want our clients and patients to be in great hands, but we experience that “tension of the opposites” as we’d also like a week in Bimini.

 

Scheduling time once a week to work side-by-side with your mentor facilitates good communication. I initially schedule all of my associates’ procedure days when I’m on-site running outpatient appointments. This way I’m readily available for unexpected crises and moral support.

 

Work with your mentor to customize your mentoring program to suit your own comfort level.

 

 

EXPLORE MORE
VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual

Let’s answer your burning questions.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Job Search Tips

The job search experience can be uncomfortable and intimidating, but you aren’t alone.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Cover Letter

Job hunting can be a stress filled experience, having a bomb-proof cover letter can help.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Resume Tips

You will “dress to impress” for your job interview; likewise, your resume needs to look professional.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationships

A practical guide to the mentoring relationship. Here we’ll be walking through some tips for developing successful mentoring relationships.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationship

Everyone has a first day at work, and if this is your first mentoring experience you may be feeling similar jitters.

0

Being the Best Mentor

Being the Best Mentor

A practical guide to the mentoring relationship.

By Bree Montana, DVM, VIN Foundation Vets4Vets® Program Leader

Everyone has a first day at work, and if this is your first mentoring experience you may be feeling similar jitters. Remember you don’t need to be board-certified in anything to be a great mentor. The only requirement is a willingness to communicate.

 

Being a good mentor is like being a good dancer; it’s difficult to dance well without a cooperative partner. Those of us who have seen the first couple of episodes of each season’s “Dancing with the Stars” can appreciate this. We’ll see a gifted dancer shoving a load of elbows and knees around the dance floor. As the season unfolds, the “star” will learn to collaborate and the dancing will be less cringe-inducing.

 

Both members of the ‘dance team’ will likely be a bit nervous starting out. Starting the relationship with some common ground can help ease your initial interactions.

BASIC GUIDELINES

When you are inviting a new associate into your practice, provide a handout with your basic guidelines such as:

 

  • Hospital rules and routines
  • Vaccine protocols
  • Infectious disease protocols
  • Laws of finance (estimates, deposits, payments).

 

Working through this list can help you to get to know each other’s practice and communication styles. You may find there are areas needing negotiation, and in all cases working through these questions will help your medical team figure out where you are flexible and where you aren’t.

COMMON SCENARIOS

You don’t have to tell your colleague how to practice medicine, but it’s helpful for them to know how you approach common scenarios. It’s also helpful for your support team to have a feel for the way you both handle frequently seen problems.

 

For example, if my schedule shows a pet with urinary problems, my team will have the ultrasound fired up before the appointment and our client will be advised to prevent the animal from urinating for a couple of hours prior to the appointment. I prefer to always try to perform an ultrasound guided cysto-centesis and in-house urinalysis (and culture if appropriate) with these cases. Now, if my new associate feels the urine needs to be sent out to the lab, we can chat about that option. The key is discussing these basic presentations in a low-stress environment, before the situation arises. This provides great practice for future discussions during more challenging situations.

 

These early discussions are most profitable when both parties come to these discussions ready to really discuss topics that are important to them. It wasn’t until I was setting up for my first anesthetized procedure in my newly purchased hospital that I learned the previous owner’s induction agent was “Ricardo.” I josh you not! Ricardo, a very willing and fairly strapping kennel assistant, was tasked with holding down the animals while they were masked down with isoflurane. If only I’d thought to have an introductory mentoring discussion with Dr Hospital-For-Sale before we traded keys!

 

Do you feel dental radiographs are important for every mouth, or do you only take them when you’re looking for a tooth root abscess?

COMMON PROTOCOLS

What about IV catheters; do you want one in every anesthesia patient? Do you use them for cat orchiectomies?

 

What common protocols might you discuss with your new associate? Take a moment and think through some of the questions you had as a newly-employed veterinarian, and maybe update them for today’s practice setup. Topics such as IV catheters and pain meds for animals undergoing procedures, full-mouth dental rads, and appointment duration are some of the most contentious issues that each of us has to negotiate when we start a new job.

 

While working through your mental list, remember there are one billion ways to “skin” a cat. Both the boss and the associate need to be ready to negotiate these topics. Remember, each of us believes our position is a good one, maybe the best… We need to realize the person ACROSS the table feels that way as well. It’s the conversation you don’t have that’s going to cause the most distress!

 

Whether you are an owner, associate, or hospital manager, remember you work full time in your field of expertise — you are the expert at practicing medicine and surgery in your hospital!

QUALIFICATIONS

What qualifies you to mentor a new associate?

 

You spend every day working in your area of expertise. You make intuitive leaps that are all but impossible without the experiences you’ve had! Your accumulated knowledge is of incredible value to a new associate. Think of the simple things, the obvious “pearls” and share those insights. Common sense is not common — it is earned and has great value. Anyone who has “been there, done that, and has the T-shirt” can be a mentor. Doctors with years of medicine under their belts aren’t the only folks who make great mentors. Consider having your Golden Tech work with your mentee for the first few weeks or months.

 

Remember that first week or two of your first job? It’s hard to know which tests can be run during an outpatient visit, and which ones work better with a drop-off. Did you have to ask for three different kinds of ophthalmic examination toys before you lit on the ones the hospital actually had available? I’d bet you a vanilla soy latte that your more experienced techs or veterinary assistants know what’s handy for corneal anesthetic, dilation, staining, examining, and pressure reading. Encouraging your support team to help mentor your new associate will allow your newbie to maximize efficiency.

 

New grads can be great mentors as well. I always think of a new associate as a chance to freshen my treatment protocols and learn new techniques. Hopefully, while I’m guiding them in my classical favorites, they’ll share something new and cool that they picked up. Additionally, new grads frequently mentor each other successfully through those dark nights of the soul known as “internship.” Anyone who has reached out in support of a colleague, answering questions on message boards or in person, has dabbled with mentoring. A formal mentor-mentee relationship is just a more structured version of that support system.

 

PERKS OF MENTORING

I waited a bit too long before hiring my first associate. When she came on board, I was overwhelmed by my practice load. One of the unexpected pleasures she brought was a wonderful level of enthusiasm; she was like a breath of fresh air for our practice! Take a moment to dream about some of the cool new qualities, skills, and enthusiasms that you hope your new mentee/associate will bring to your practice.

TIME CONSTRAINTS

There are many ways of mentoring — from intensive one-on-one training regimens to more casual remote mentoring relationships. You and your associate can design a relationship that suits both of you. For associates who are newer grads, a few days of shadowing will give a comfortable introduction to your practice’s style of communication.

 

During the first few days with a new associate, I generally introduce my new colleague to my clients, giving a ten second intro; basically “selling” the new associate’s awesomeness to the client. Then I perform the exam, make the recommendations as per usual. Once the pet is in the treatment area, I’ll invite the shadowing associate to perform their own exam and make recommendations. We generally chat about each of the cases, sharing ideas for diagnostics and treatments. My goal during the shadowing period is to get the team comfortable working together. As soon as the new associated feels ready to go solo, we’ll start booking them appointments. I try to schedule juvenile exams and easier cases for my new colleague during the first month or so. I schedule longer appointment times to begin with, then decrease them as my new colleague becomes more efficient.

 

With more experienced DVMs I still provide longer appointment times initially. I’ll always schedule the new doctor with my most experienced technician for the first few weeks. My tech team knows the clients well, and will help the doctor create estimates that make sense with our hospital’s style of medicine.

Take a moment to consider the kinds of scheduling modifications you are thinking of making during your new associate's first few months.

I prefer to start new grads with longer appointments and only do anesthetic procedures on days we are together. We’ll adjust that over time. My practice uses intensive scheduling – 30 minute appointments with 15-min add ins. This means our first appointment starts at 9am and runs to 9:30 am, our second appointment starts at 9:15 am and runs till 9:45 am. I don’t expect newer grads (even with internship training) to “go there” for quite awhile. Of course, this is my style as the culture of our practice is pretty information-intensive. We like to educate clients and develop the best bond we can. Some doctors have great success while being less chatty than I am, and there is nothing wrong with that! Every hospital, and every doctor, will develop the practice style best suited to their communication style and comfort level. Clients will settle in with the culture of practice that best suits their needs as well.

 

New associates need to be comfortable with the kinds of sedation your hospital offers; either you or an experienced support team member may need to provide support during sedated procedures for the first few months. For the first few weeks, I’ll invite the new associate to scrub in with me on surgeries. I’ll usually do the first ovarian pedicle on the first OVH, then invite them to do the next. During these experiences, I’ll be sure to discuss good surgery habits.

 

For me, this means:

  • Setting up the surgery tray in the same way each time (i.e., sharps to the left, clamps to the right, etc.)
  • Maintaining excellent posture
  • Breathing – I remind myself and my team that “when the going gets tough, the tough relax and breathe!”
  • Self-focusing and calming techniques

 

Conversation during surgery lets my new team member relax and chat about comfortable topics while they work through their first surgeries in our facility. The topics also remind all of us — support staff as well as veterinarians– to recognize high-quality performance is a habit which benefits from being practiced.

It’s important to acknowledge the elephant living in the surgery suite -- fear.

Explaining I use self-focusing techniques whenever the blood squirts into the air allows less experienced doctors to accept they will experience some scary things in surgery and medicine, and that they will be able to face those challenges when they arise. When my body is tense, my mind is tense. I try to keep my body comfortable so I can make good decisions

 

What focusing and calming techniques do you use when cases get tricky? One of the best things we can give our new associates is confidence. Sometimes that means the confidence to boldly go forward alone with diagnostics and procedures, and sometimes that means they’ll boldly go forward and call for help!

 

We’ve all probably had an experience or two where we’d have appreciated an in-person mentor. Work with your new colleague to plan ahead for the procedures where they might need some support. Some are obvious, such as GDVs, bad HBC’s, DKAs…the classically tricky or scary stuff. However, I’ve also learned I need to sit with my newer grads many, many times through abdominal ultrasound. Sometimes they don’t see key changes, and since they don’t see it, they miss it. It’s a tricky toy, ultrasound is. Dental rads and surgical flap extractions may seem simple to you, but they also takemental and dexterous finesse. As you observe each others’ strengths and growth opportunities, set out a plan to support each other.

REMOTE MENTORING

Remote mentoring may be an option for more experienced veterinarians. I work remotely, on a very casual basis with several doctors. When they find themselves with a confusing case or difficult client, they email me and we chat through options. With my own associates, I’ve been generally pretty available in person or via text message whenever they’re at work for about the first year. If they have a critical case, I will come in from wherever I am and assist.

 

As the associates become more confident, I’ll swing by to review rads with them, or just be available for a quick question. Then, I’ll wean myself (ahem! I mean THEM) away and be available by email or cell phone for questions.

 

I try to wait at least a few months before leaving a new associate completely alone. Everyone is unique, so you’ll need to feel your way with this one. Practice owners all want our clients and patients to be in great hands, but we experience that “tension of the opposites” as we’d also like a week in Bimini.

 

Scheduling time once a week to work side-by-side with your team members facilitates good communication. I initially schedule all of my associates’ procedure days when I’m on-site running outpatient appointments. This way I’m readily available for unexpected crises and moral support.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR MENTORING

Customize your mentoring program to suit your own comfort level. Don’t let your mentoring become a chore!

 

Avoiding over-mentoring can be tricky, veterinarians tend to be driven folks who like to succeed and lead, so we are often tempted to “over train.” It can be hard letting the new associate make their own mistakes… and believe me, I have lost sleep over this one! Sometimes being a good mentor means allowing your associate to work their way through a case on their own.

 

Remember your goal is to push your new associate to work through problems on their own. Often, the problems that might occur with their cases haven’t even dawned on them yet. So tell them your stories about those tricky cases and clients, but don’t diagnose their cases for them.

 

How will you know when it’s the right time to step back?

What clues will you look for?

I typically hang around “doing paperwork” on days when I think I may be needed. And as I see my associate handling those tricky cases nicely, I ease myself out of the picture.

 

Let’s start in the surgery suite… I’ll be scrubbing in on those OVHs and splitting them until I see good tissue handling, good hemostasis, then I’ll just be “around” for a few. Then, I’ll maybe ask if my new associate is comfy and step out. I am a bit of a control freak — I’d rather lose some play time the first year than lose a patient. How will you know it’s okay to be off-site when your new associate is doing surgery? I focus on surgery because many practice owners are very possessive of the surgery suite — and this isn’t good for our business. We need to develop the ability to coach from the sidelines, then let them roll on their own once they have the skills.

EXPLORE MORE
VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual

Let’s answer your burning questions.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Job Search Tips

The job search experience can be uncomfortable and intimidating, but you aren’t alone.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Cover Letter

Job hunting can be a stress filled experience, having a bomb-proof cover letter can help.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Resume Tips

You will “dress to impress” for your job interview; likewise, your resume needs to look professional.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationships

A practical guide to the mentoring relationship. Here we’ll be walking through some tips for developing successful mentoring relationships.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationship

Relationships are always a two-way street. In order for your mentor to help you effectively, there are some things you’ll need to do.

0

Mentor Relationships Introduction

Not Quite a Marriage; But Close!

A practical guide to the mentoring relationship.

By Bree Montana, DVM, VIN Foundation Vets4Vets® Program Leader

Here we’ll be walking through some tips for developing successful mentoring relationships. I hope we’ll be able to remove some of the roadblocks to mentor success. Additionally, I hope those of you who will soon need mentors will learn some tricks for developing successful mentoring relationships with owners and associates who aren’t naturally gifted with mentoring skills.

 

I own a small animal hospital and have enjoyed working with several talented newer graduates. I have also been matching mentors with mentees for several years, through the VIN Foundation’s Vets4Vets® Mentor Match program. I’ve learned a great deal from working with my team members.

``Good judgement comes from experience, and experience ~ well, that comes from poor judgement.``

I’m not sure who authored this quote, but it’s an excellent description of my hospital ownership- employer- mentor learning curve! I hope this discussion will help you avoid some of my more interesting experiences!

 

You may be asking yourself “How am I qualified to mentor anyone, and what does being a mentor mean, anyway?!

Anyone in a position to help a colleague work through a case or get comfortable in a new position is dabbling in the dark arts of mentoring.

TYPICAL MENTOR CONCERNS

Here are some of typical concerns that mentors and mentees bring up when we first start working together:

 

  • I don’t have enough experience to be a mentor.
  • I don’t have enough time to be a mentor.
  • I don’t know how far to go with mentoring; how much depth do I give?
  • I need a mentor and worry that I won’t get the support I need.

 

These pages — one for mentors and one for mentees will address those concerns. Let’s walk through those concerns, one at a time. When you’re done reading the suggestions for mentoring or being mentored, consider visiting the other page to get a glimpse into the concerns of your partner.

MENTORING BILL OF RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Mentees:

  • You have the right to actively and openly engage and interact with your mentor on a regular basis.
  • You have the responsibility to do so at least monthly. These meetings may be in person, via telephone, or by internet.
  • You are responsible for developing your medical and surgical skills as well as caseload.
  • You have the right to ask for help while building autonomy.
  • You are responsible for maintaining a professional and supportive relationship within the practice – both with your support team as well as your hospital’s ownership team.
  • You are responsible for approaching your mentoring experience as an educational opportunity which will aid in your learning and developing as a veterinary practitioner.
  • You have the right to pursue continual education with the goal of enhancing your medical and surgical skills as well as building your hospital’s client base.

 

Mentors:

  • You are responsible for advising and guiding your new associate. This will include teaching, coaching, and simply listening.
  • You have the responsibility to meet with your associate at least monthly. These meetings may be in person, via telephone, or by internet.
  • You have the right to set protocols and rules in your hospital in order that patient care may be provided in a safe, appropriate, and cost-effective fashion.
  • You have the right and responsibility to provide candid, honest and supportive appraisal of medical and surgical diagnostic and treatment plans, while supporting your associate’s developing skill sets.
  • You have the right to learn as well as develop new techniques and treatment protocols with your associate. You and your associate are encouraged to grow and learn together, creating a partnership that is stronger than either of you were individually.
EXPLORE MORE
VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual

Let’s answer your burning questions.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Job Search Tips

The job search experience can be uncomfortable and intimidating, but you aren’t alone.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Cover Letter

Job hunting can be a stress filled experience, having a bomb-proof cover letter can help.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Resume Tips

You will “dress to impress” for your job interview; likewise, your resume needs to look professional.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationship

Everyone has a first day at work, and if this is your first mentoring experience you may be feeling similar jitters.

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Thrive in Five | New Graduate Survival Manual | Veterinary Mentor Relationship

Relationships are always a two-way street. In order for your mentor to help you effectively, there are some things you’ll need to do.

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