Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Animal Hospital Association has released guidelines designed to help establish effective mentorship relationships in veterinary medicine.
“Today, the value of mentoring is greater than ever,” said Ingrid Taylor, DVM, the executive director of AAHA Guidelines. “Our profession is currently undergoing a crisis of individual and collective wellness, as well as facing difficulties in recruitment and retention, making this release particularly timely.”
The key takeaways include:
- Mentorship is vital at all career stages but might be particularly important during career transition periods, such as when veterinary and veterinary technician students transition into veterinary practice.
- Mentoring is not coaching. Coaching involves helping an individual achieve a specific goal or master a task. At the same time, mentoring is a relationship where one individual invests personal knowledge, energy and time into another individual’s development.
- Successful mentoring relationships define boundaries, set expectations, and establish psychological and physical safety.
- Effective mentoring involves thoughtful mentor-mentee selection, easy access to mentors-mentees, evaluation and continued re-evaluation, and troubleshooting when the relationship isn’t working.
- Mentorship can help address challenges encountered in veterinary medicine by supporting mental health and well-being, increasing representation for underrepresented groups, and providing financial benefits to veterinary practices.
- Mentorship increases self-confidence, career satisfaction and productivity.
Veterinary professionals may download the 2023 AAHA Mentoring Guidelines at aaha.org/mentoring.
A group of experts convened by AAHA prepared the guidelines.
“The entire task force that worked on the mentorship guidelines was dedicated to making sure they were comprehensive, evidence-based and inclusive,” said Marie Sato Quicksall, DVM, CVA, who co-chaired the task force.
AAHA chief medical officer Jessica Vogelsang said the guidelines provide a roadmap “to creating effective mentoring relationships by encouraging self-reflection, preparation, connection and open dialogue.”