We often talk about the need for mentoring of new veterinarians entering the profession. But do we fully appreciate its importance? As it turns out, there’s research data to demonstrate both the value and the potential impact.
In fact, as today’s chart shows, mentorship is something early-career veterinarians actively seek out.
What the data show
New veterinarians value mentorship so highly that it was the top reason cited by 2022 veterinary graduates for choosing to accept a job offer—even more so than location, compensation, or benefits. In the AVMA’s annual survey of graduating seniors, fully 84% of 2022 graduates indicated that a desire for mentorship played a role in their decision.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. Since the AVMA began asking graduating seniors this question in 2020, the answers have been remarkably consistent. Mentorship has claimed the top spot every year.
That’s not all. Other research speaks to the positive influence mentorship can have on new veterinarians’ wellbeing. For example, 2020 graduates who participated in a small 5-month pilot of the MentorVet Leap program experienced a slight decrease in exhaustion, while a control group of graduates who had been wait-listed for the mentoring program had a significant increase over the same period. These early results suggest that mentoring programs like this one run by MentorVet can help protect against exhaustion—a component of burnout.
What does this mean?
As employers look to attract new talent and the profession looks for ways to improve veterinarians’ wellbeing, providing quality mentorship to our newest colleagues can have a real impact. Not only are new veterinarians looking for mentorship when they graduate from veterinary school. Receiving formal mentorship from a more experienced colleague might promote wellbeing.
What can we do?
The transition from veterinary student to practicing veterinarian can be simultaneously exciting and stressful. It’s only natural to want help navigating the changes.
Yet mentorship can be challenging to deliver in today’s busy practices. Even in practices that have clinical mentoring, it can help for a new veterinarian to have someone reliable and trustworthy outside practice walls to provide emotional support and guidance.
The AVMA recognizes the importance of mentorship and providing resources to support wellbeing. That’s why we’ve partnered with MentorVet on a new project—MentorVet Connect—which will provide new graduates with trained veterinary mentors outside the workplace.
Through MentorVet Connect, any AVMA member in the class of 2023 can sign up to be matched with a trained mentor, free of charge. And any AVMA member with at least one year’s experience can apply to receive free mentorship training and be paired with a mentee.
The entire mentoring relationship takes place remotely, and mentors can act as advisers and sounding boards on a wide range of issues faced by new veterinarians. While the mentorship commitment is for six months, the relationships may last a lifetime.
MentorVet Connect is open for both mentors and mentees to sign up now, with mentor-mentee pairing beginning in July. Get details, including how to get started, at avma.org/Mentor.