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Mentorship Standards FAQ

What is mentoring?
Mentoring is often defined as a professional relationship where a mentor (the experienced person) assists the mentee (a relative newcomer to a profession) in developing skills and knowledge to enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth. Mentoring can be a powerful personal development and empowerment tool which is based on a partnership between two people (mentor and mentee). For more information on mentorship, please visit the “AAHA Mentoring Guidelines”.

What is the mentor’s responsibility? 
A mentor is a guide who helps direct the mentee in their career. Mentors usually have had similar experiences and understand the kinds of things the mentee will need to learn and what kinds of issues they may encounter and experience. A mentor should challenge the mentee by asking questions and provide guidance and encouragement. The mentoring process helps the mentee explore new things and should help the mentee build their self-confidence and enhance their skills.

Are the mentoring standards a mandatory part of my evaluation to become (re)accredited?
No, they are completely optional.

When you access your online evaluation tool, you will be asked (as one of the rule-out questions) if you are interested in pursuing mentorship accreditation. If you initially answer “yes” but change your mind about pursuing mentorship accreditation, contact your accreditation coordinator to have them removed from your online evaluation tool.

What are the definitions of mentor and mentee?
The mentor is more experienced. The mentor is not the same as a supervisor, although one person can serve both roles.

The mentee is typically a team member, junior colleague, or a new associate.

What are the benefits of mentoring?
Mentoring improves hospital culture, productivity, communication, and efficiency. It can help improve communication skills, promote long-term job satisfaction, and facilitate adoption of best practices. Ultimately, mentoring relationships lead to improved patient care and overall enhanced hospital performance.

Who can pursue mentorship accreditation?
All practices going through an AAHA evaluation, either to be reaccredited or to become accredited for the first time, may choose the mentoring standards as an optional part of their evaluation.

What are the benefits to the mentor and the practice?

  • Re-energizes career satisfaction by sharing knowledge and expertise
  • Develop skills to enhance patient care
  • Learn the newest and most up-to-date developments in the veterinary industry
  • Reduces associate turnover
  • Shorter ramp up times to production (i.e., the time it takes a new associate to produce enough to be profitable for the practice)
  • Enhances understanding and buy-in of clinic culture and medical philosophy by the mentee
  • Cultivation of a future partner/owner
  • Recruitment of top candidates

What are the benefits to the mentee?
The transition from student to practitioner can be overwhelming. During this time it is valuable to have colleagues who are personally and professionally supportive. The mentee benefits from the mentor’s expertise in the following ways:

  • Helps new associates learn effective communication skills and teamwork
  • Learns skills that were perhaps not covered in school, including:
    • Technical
    • Communications
    • Business
  • Builds confidence quickly
  • Learns specific skills and knowledge relevant to personal goals
  • Encourages to think and manage independently
  • Increases productivity and revenue production
  • Enhances the possibility for longevity at the same place of work
  • Enhances potential for ownership and/or practice buy-in

Why should I pursue the optional mentoring standards?
Mentoring is beneficial to both mentee and mentor in sustaining growth, accomplishment, and long term satisfaction, and both mentee and mentor can broaden each other's understanding of complex issues. Mentoring is a key activity by which employers can successfully facilitate a new associate's entry into the hospital environment. The mentor provides valuable knowledge, expertise, and support, while the mentee provides enthusiasm and an open mind. This solution-focused attitude reflects positively on the entire hospital.

How do I access the mentorship standards?
The mentorship standards are part of the AAHA Standards of Accreditation (you will need to log in).

What’s in it for me?
Structured mentorship helps the industry create more confident, knowledgeable, productive associates (which benefit both practices, pet owners and patients), reduce turnover and staff conflict (benefits practices), increase the hiring market for new graduates, and assist with the transition of practices as baby boomers leave the marketplace.

Why were the mentorship standards created?
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has recognized that the skill sets developed during the veterinarian's first year in practice, as well as at other important career transitions, are crucial to their professional future. Mentoring is invaluable during these transitions. AAHA supports the mentoring process and has created and formalized standards for this.

How much does it cost to add mentorship standards?
There is no additional cost to add the mentorship standards as part of your accreditation.


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