Why become a mentor?
Altruism: The idea of “giving something back” to the profession in a significant area of need; which is the present and future crisis in staffing rural practices with competent veterinarians who are content to be in the role of a rural veterinarian. A mentor has the opportunity to interact in a very personal and positive way in the career choices today's veterinary students are confronted with. Many of us received guidance from practitioners whom we respected and admired in our career choices during our formative years, and many of today’s students simply do not have such positive role models. You have the opportunity to meet and interact with some of our best and brightest young veterinary students. You can get to know them out of the context of prospective associate and develop your own trans-generational communication skills.
What is a mentor?
A trusted advisor, teacher.
Someone who takes a personal interest in another.
How much difference can one individual make?
In a word - huge!
The positive influence of a single individual, as mentor or role model, is very significant in terms of career choice, direction and success. For veterinarians, that influential individual is often the local practitioner, externship provider or first employer. Today, we are witnessing some disturbing trends in our profession. Important areas are rapidly becoming underserved. This is not in the best interests of the profession, or of national well-being and security. If you relate to these concerns, then you should get involved.
What can you do?
Become part of a mentoring network for veterinary students.
This may involve:
- providing advice,
- being a good listener teaching a specific skill,
- visiting schools, clubs, etc to spread the word introducing students to your community and way of life including students in social or sporting events
*Hopefully, to continue through the DVM program, and beyond
Mentors might be expected to:
- Commit to being called or e-mailed by students and be open to being visited by them.
- Students should feel free to call when they wonder about the clinical relevancy of some ethereal matter they are studying.
- Consider being a source of summer jobs and possibly participating in the vet school curriculum as an externship sponsor. (While a mentorship and externship are not exactly the same thing, one can easily be both or either things.)
- No mentor should have more students than they feel they can comfortably help, and while it would be ideal if the student's home was close by, distance is by no means a limiting factor.
How the Program Works
Step 1: Develop a database of motivated veterinarians willing to act as mentors*.
Step 2: Develop a website containing ARV mentor contact information and relevant details, Students can search the database and select practices/veterinarians that provide the types of opportunities they wish to explore. ARV mentors can seek mentees via the website and its list serve. Mentors will visit cooperating Colleges to describe the program and advise on mentorship opportunities. There can be a mentor-mentee matching service done at school meetings when students fill in a request form for mentorship and a mentor is assigned to contact that student, in the event the student is shy about initiating first contact.
*Mentors will be regularly provided with information to help them be even more effective mentors. Job Prerequisites: a Love of your profession a Concern about its future a Desire to make a difference an Urge to be pro-active Motivation to inspire and guide others.
- Helping to ensure a bright future for our profession,
- Knowing that you are making a positive difference,
- Furthering your area of interest within the profession,
- Forging of life-long mentoring relationships,
- Recruiting a future associate, and/or professional partner.
Contact The Academy of Rural Veterinarians Mentorship Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.