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Resources - NHVMA Mentoring Program
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Overview of the NHVMA Mentoring Program
 
   Welcome to the NHVMA mentoring program. New veterinary school graduates beginning their professional lives in New Hampshire will be assigned a mentor if they desire. The purpose of this program is to help new graduates assimilate to their professional lives. This program is designed to be an informal mentoring process where the mentor provides coaching, listening, advice, sounding board reactions, or other help in an unstructured casual manner. We have created three documents which will help to guide this process. They are as follows; The NHVMA Mentee Guidelines, the NHVMA Mentor Guidelines, Action Steps for the Mentoring Process. These documents review the roles and responsibilities of the mentor and the mentee and the action steps will help to get the conversation started. It is recommended that you print these documents and use them as you prepare to meet with your mentor or mentee. The better prepared you are, the more you will get out of the relationship.
   If you are a veterinarian within five years of graduation and would like a mentor please e-mail Cathy Gajewski at gajewskicathy@gmail.com (preferred) or contact Linda Baines in the NHVMA office at 603-774-8021. We will need to know a little bit about you, so please provide the following information: where and when did you graduate from veterinary school, if you are working where do you work, the town where you live, do you own a practice or wish to own a practice, practice focus i.e. large animal, small animal, mixed, holistic, specialty, other. You are welcome to provide any information which will help us choose a mentor for you. Also, it is required that you are a NHVMA member or plan on joining in the near future. If you have not started working or if you have just started a new job and are not yet a member, you are welcome and encouraged to enter the mentor program.
   If you are a seasoned New Hampshire veterinarian and would like to sign up to be a mentor, please contact Cathy Gajewski as noted above. If you have any special qualities that would help me to choose a mentee for you, let me know. Please include where you practice, do you own a practice, where do you live, your professional interest, etc.
 
Prepared by Cathy Gajewski, DVM
 
Action Steps for the Mentoring Process
   1. Get acquainted, by meeting outside of the work environment. Build trust by openly sharing and discussing ideas. Discuss past experience, goals, plans, skills, and career path.
   2. Discuss roles and responsibilities. Collaborate to choose the style of mentoring relationship that best fits your situation. Agree on the style of communication (personal meetings, telephone, e-mail) and the frequency of communication.
    -establish formal meeting times to discuss “how are things going ?”.
    -determine meeting location.
    -create a process whereby a mentee can ask for immediate help as needed.
    -If most meetings are virtual, also schedule occasional face-to-face meetings.
   3. Develop mutual expectations and boundaries. Discuss accountability of both parties at the beginning of the relationship. Discussed confidentiality.
   4. Discuss ethics, including conflict of interest, and agreed-upon ethical boundaries.
  5. Discuss a vision plan for the relationship. What is the overall purpose and long-term goal of the relationship.
    6. Establish, clarify, and write down goals to achieve the vision. Allow the mentee to express areas of greatest need. Discuss the mentee’s concerns and fears when establishing goals.
  7. Create a timeframe for the relationship that is beneficial to both parties. Clarify a mutually agreeable endpoint or time for renewal of the relationship.
 
(Adapted from the American Animal Hospital Association mentoring guidelines)

 

The NHVMA Mentee Guidelines
  
   The New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association would like to welcome you to New Hampshire as you enter your professional life. You may be returning to New Hampshire after veterinary school or you may be coming to the state for the first time. In both cases we encourage you to join the NHVMA and enter our mentor program. This program is designed for new graduates within five years of graduation. In your first few years of practice it is easy to feel isolated and overwhelmed. The stress of trying to balance personal and professional life can be an enormous strain. You will find that there are many terrific veterinarians in New Hampshire that have been through the same thing, and these people are available to be your mentors. Your mentor will be happy to give you professional and personal guidance during your formative years. You will have someone that you can meet with or talk to regularly to help you obtain your professional goals. You will also have someone that you can call in a time of need. As a member of the NHVMA you should never feel isolated. The NHVMA board meetings are open and you are encouraged to attend at least one meeting. You may also elect to become a committee member and be involved with your state association either now or at some point in your career. We are an association of volunteers and we encourage you to become familiar with our activities and the volunteer opportunities available to you.
 The following is a list of the suggested mentee roles and responsibilities as well as mutual responsibilities between the mentor and mentee. You may also find useful to separate documents entitled “The NHVMA Mentor Guidelines” and “Action Steps for the Mentoring Process”. These documents are available at nhvma.com.
  
Mentee Role and Responsibilities
·        Meet with your mentor at least once in person. Commit to meeting with or talking to your mentor approximately once a month. It will be up to the people involved to decide upon when to meet in person and when to communicate by phone or e-mail.
·        Take responsibility for your mentoring relationship. Actively discuss professional needs and goals.
·        Request help in clarifying goals, finding resources and identifying new directions as needed.
·        Respect the mentor’s time commitment by identifying planning and preparing issues for discussion.
·        Be open to developing communication skills as well as medical/surgical skills. Recognize that this takes time and practice and trust that confidence will build.
·        Be willing to share fears and concerns with your mentor, learning that it is acceptable and natural to sometimes feel helpless, lost, or frightened.
·        Actively pursue opportunities to network. When possible attend your association’s continuing education meetings, social gatherings and board meetings. Consider attending these meetings with your mentor when possible.
·        Strive to be a receptive and active listener, knowing that constructive feedback is an essential element to continuous professional growth.
 
Mutual Responsibilities of Mentee and Mentor
·        Confidentiality agreement- all discussions and communications are to remain confidential. Neither party is to discuss any details within their own practices, or outside of the relationship.
·        Maintain respect and the highest standards of professional conduct at all times, especially if topics are of a sensitive nature. Conflict of interest must be disclosed.
·        Bring enthusiasm, optimism, sensitivity, and unselfishness to the relationship.
·        Make a commitment of time and energy.
·        Strive to be open to new ideas and feedback.
·        Reschedule any meeting time that can’t be met.
·        Periodically evaluating mentoring relationship to see if it should continue, be modified or terminated.
 
(Guidelines adapted from the American Animal Hospital Association mentoring guidelines)
 

 

The NHVMA Mentor Guidelines
      As new graduates move into New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association would like to welcome them. It is our goal to provide a mentor for each new graduate that would like one. These veterinarians are typically under heavy stress financially, personally, and professionally. It is the purpose of the mentor to reach out to these individuals, be supportive, and help prevent early burnout. Also, every new graduate that is a member of the NHVMA is to be invited by a board member to attend a board meeting and a personal invitation is to be extended to serve on a committee. In this manner, each new graduate will be introduced to the Board of the New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association and they will become familiar with volunteer opportunities in organized veterinary medicine.
   When veterinarians graduate from school and enter the profession they may have many needs that are currently unmet. They may be entering a new area where they do not know anyone, they may be challenged by the rigors of professional life, they are likely to be saddled with unprecedented levels of debt, they may be entering a marriage or starting a family and they may be working in a practice that is unable to provide in-house mentoring. Think back to your first few years in practice and recall the challenges that you faced. In our first few years of practice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed which can translate into compromised patient care and professional recidivism.
   The job of a mentor is to provide support during the formative years of our newest members. This will help them to integrate into the veterinary workforce with a more positive outlook on their chosen profession. They should be made to feel that they are part of a group both socially and professionally and that they are never isolated no matter where they work. It is important to note that it is not the purpose of the mentor to manage the mentees clinical cases, nor is it to teach them clinical skills. While it may be appropriate in some cases to discuss medicine, it is the role of the mentor to help the mentee develop the soft skills that are not typically taught in veterinary school. This may include anything from time management, balancing work schedules with real life, to client communication. It may be appropriate to encourage the mentee to seek internal mentoring as well.
   On the next page you will find a list of the suggested mentor roles and responsibilities as well as mutual responsibilities between mentor and mentee. You may also find useful the separate documents entitled “The NHVMA Mentee Guidelines” and “Action Steps for the Mentoring Process”. These documents are available at nhvma.com.
 
 
Mentor Roles and Responsibilities
·        Meet with the mentee in person, at least once. Maintain open and frequent communication with the mentee, approximately once a month. It will be up to the individuals involved to establish the form of communication which may include meeting in person, e-mail and telephone communication.
·        Listen to the needs and goals of the mentee and ask challenging questions.
·        Help the mentee establish a vision plan.
·        Listen to the mentee’s concerns and give constructive feedback.
·        Help guide the mentee in the medical decision-making process, when appropriate. If the mentee is not in your practice, it is not up to you to help them manage their cases, but rather to give them advice and support when you see the need.
·        Help the mentee become fully independent as a professional, recognizing that the mentee has the ultimate responsibility for the personal and professional decisions. Encourage self-directed learning.
·        Help the mentee to identify fears or discomforts and develop a plan to deal with them.
·        Inform the mentee of available resources such as internet sites, textbooks, professional meetings and associations, networking, etc. Consider attending meetings or conferences together.
·        Help the mentee improve communication skills with clients and team members, thus creating positive professional relationships.
·        Give the validity to the mentee’s observations, provide a verbal encouragement, acknowledged the mentee’s progress, and make it fun.
·        Be available as needed, within reason.
Mutual Responsibilities of Mentee and Mentor
·        Confidentiality agreement- all discussions and communications are to remain confidential. Neither party is to discuss any details within their own practices or outside of the relationship.
·        Maintain respect and the highest standards of professional conduct at all times, especially if topics are of a sensitive nature. Conflict of interest must be disclosed.
·        Bring enthusiasm, optimism, sensitivity, and unselfishness to the relationship.
·        Make a commitment of time and energy.
·        Strive to be open to new ideas and feedback.
·        Reschedule any meeting time that can’t be met.
·        Periodically evaluating mentoring relationship to see if it should continue, be modified or terminated.
(Adapted from the American Animal Hospital Association mentoring guidelines)
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