Learn about the power of veterinary mentorship and achieve your veterinary goals with the support you need every step of the way.
Whether you’re in vet school, your final year of university, currently completing a nursing course, or have ventured out into the veterinary workforce, there’s one thing most vet and nurses crave: mentorship.
During university or training, there’s an emphasis on finding the right practice with the right boss – someone who is supportive, encouraging, and shares their knowledge to help you build your skills. In essence, you’re told to go out and find a job with a good mentor. But that’s easier said than done.
Here is the tricky part: you can’t expect any person to be the perfect mentor, and for them to teach and train you exactly in what you want and need. This idealistic expectation of finding a perfect mentor comes with three main challenges.
So what can you do to overcome these challenges and still find the most suitable mentor for you? Well, the first thing you need to understand is that despite the fact that undoubtedly you and your mentor will learn and benefit from the experience, it is that you as the mentee will need to do the majority of the work.
So are you ready to be a mentee? Discover our three key steps to make sure you’re a properly prepared mentee.
- Are you prepared to put in the effort to maintain the relationship?
- Are you prepared to take action and implement?
- Are you ready for feedback and self-reflection?
This challenge can be overwhelming to think about at first – but as veterinarians and nurses, we always strive to learn more. If you’d like to master mentorship, sign up to our mentorship series and receive useful resources to empower you to set yourself and your mentor up for success, all the while having realistic, achievable and communicated expectations.
Setting Clear Goals
There’s also a lot to consider when finding a mentor and knowing how to set clear goals is essential. They’re all individuals like ourselves after all, and have unique strengths and skills that may or may not be suited to you. For example, you might be expecting a mentor to teach you veterinary business principles so that one day you can open your own hospital.
Knowing what you want and getting the right mentor is critical, as without it could be a fast track to failure. That’s why we emphasise the importance of getting clear about what you want. Set yourself up for mentorship success by exploring three important questions to help you set your mentorship goals.
Master the Ask
While it’s important to know whether you are ready to do the work (as being a mentee is not easy going), and then also clarify what it is that you are after and the type of mentor you are looking for, there’s one more vital step in mentorship to set yourself up for success: mastering the ask.
We discuss the critical stage of approaching your possible mentor in the right way with the most effective approach. Like any relationship, don’t just go in cold turkey and ask them to be your mentor. Get to know them first and establish a genuine relationship – spend some time getting to know them first. Get out of the clinic and ask them for an informal chat over coffee. While chatting over a coffee is a great way for you to get an impression, treat it as a two-way interview.
Find out more about how to “master the ask” and what factors to consider when approaching a mentor.
Finding Mentorship Through Internship
From preparing yourself, setting clear expectations, through to how to best approach and ask your prospective mentor, there’s a lot to consider. One way to maximise your chances of success in a valuable mentorship program is to consider finding veterinary mentorship through internship.
So how do you know if a veterinary internship is the right fit for you?
When looking for mentorship through internship, find out exactly what should be included in our detailed guide on seeking veterinary mentorship through internship. We discuss three of the key points to ensure are included in an internship for you to secure the mentorship that’s right for you.
- One Mentor, Not Multiple
- Regular Check-Ins
- The Ability to Safely Fail
Overcome the Challenges
As disappointing as this situation may be, it can be a seriously valuable experience. As we mentioned initially, no mentor is perfect, and finding the correct mentor for you isn’t always a simple process. It can be trial and error, and sometimes finding the incorrect mentor will set you on a clearer path to finding one that’s far more suitable.
There could be many reasons why you and your mentor weren’t compatible. These could include:
- Preference for communication
- Differing mindset
- Learning styles
- Interests and passions
Don’t be disheartened – it’s a scenario that’s all too common and one that almost all of us will encounter at some stage during our veterinary careers. Instead, use this as an opportunity to take a step back, reflect, and learn how to achieve a more successful mentor/mentee relationship in future. Discover our article and use these handy points as a guide to ensure your next mentorship avoids any challenges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I consider a veterinary mentor?
The whole goal of a veterinary mentor is in guiding you and offering valuable advice. Through their help and knowledge, they are short cutting your journey to success. You are learning and benefiting from their experience and hard earned knowledge as an experienced clinician. A good mentor will be ready to listen, ask questions, then step in to offer advice and guidance when needed.
How can I prepare for veterinary mentorship?
Knowing what you want and getting the right mentor is critical, as without it could be a fast track to failure. That’s why we emphasise the importance of getting clear about what you want. Set yourself up for mentorship success by considering the following questions: What is it you want to achieve? What kind of mentor do you want? What is it that you are expecting from them?
How do I ask for veterinary mentorship?
Like any relationship, don’t just go in cold turkey and ask them to be your mentor. Get to know them first and establish a genuine relationship – spend some time getting to know them first. Get out of the clinic and ask them for an informal chat over coffee. While chatting over a coffee is a great way for you to get an impression, treat it as a two-way interview.
What if my mentorship doesn't go according to plan?
Firstly, don’t be disheartened – it’s a scenario that’s all too common and one that almost all of us will encounter at some stage during our veterinary careers. Instead, use this as an opportunity to take a step back, reflect, and learn how to achieve a more successful mentor/mentee relationship in future. Take feedback, reflect on the relationship, and use this as an experience to grow.
Still have questions?
Download Part 1 of Our Mentorship Series
You’ll receive part 1 of our three-part mentorship series, designed to help you select and approach a mentor with the best chance of success.
Want to receive the full series with detailed tips on veterinary mentorship? Sign up here.
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