The average US practice has about 2 full-time veterinarians.1 In most practices, clients visit because of relationships, and it is tempting to stay small and intimate and not hire another associate—even when it may be beneficial. On the other hand, some multidoctor practices hire additional associates as a result of perceived need,— even when the practice may not be ready. In either case, practitioners who fail to hire for the right reason and then do not train their new associate appropriately wonder why their new hires consistently fail to meet expectations.
Mentorship may be the answer. Mentoring can help graduates fit into the practice culture, improve their technical, business, and medical skills quickly, and allow them to succeed financially.2
Mentorship is similar to “an ongoing relationship between 2 individuals who are committed to improving their professional environment.” The mentee is typically a team member or colleague, and the mentor is more experienced. The mentor is not the same as a supervisor, although one person can serve both roles.”3 Studies in 2008 and 2012 of practice owners (mentors) and mentees that investigated the benefits of a structured mentorship plan found mentoring to be “a method to improve hospital culture, productivity, and efficiency. It has been shown to improve communication, promote long-term job satisfaction, and facilitate adoption of best practices. Ultimately, mentoring relationships can lead to improved patient care and overall hospital performance.”3