Veterinary Career Partnership Program

Action Steps for the Veterinary Career Partnership Program

  1. Initiate a partnership by mutual agreement.
    • Students and veterinarians will be matched based on interests and locations.
    • Read and review the expectations and responsibilities found in this section.
  2. Discuss and negotiate a schedule for meeting together.
    • Establish formal meeting times to discuss how things are going.
    • Determine meeting location; determine availability for emails or phone calls.
    • Plan for your discussions, with the student taking the lead in planning.
    • Create a process whereby a student can ask for immediate help, as needed.
    • If most meetings are virtual, also schedule occasional face-to-face meetings, i.e., a lunch near campus or a visit to the veterinarian’s clinic.
  3. Get acquainted; build trust by openly sharing and discussing issues.
  4. Develop mutual expectations and boundaries.
    • Understand accountability and confidentiality.
  5. Discuss ethics, including conflict of interest, and that business secrets will not be shared.
  6. Discuss a vision plan (i.e., overall purpose, long-term goal of partnership).
    • Does the student just want to have a sounding board?
    • Does the student want help with job search preparation and placement?
    • Does the student want exposure to general practice, the business aspect of a veterinary practice, specialty medicine, or a specific field of veterinary medicine?
    • Does the student want ongoing guidance after graduating and starting a veterinary career?
  7. Establish, clarify, and write down goals to achieve the vision.
    • Define and prioritize areas of greatest needs, with the student taking the lead rather than relying on the veterinarian to define needs.
    • Use SMART goals (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely) for student and veterinarian, as well as shared and/or consistent goals.
    • Personalize goals to fit the needs of the student – may be different as the student progresses through veterinary school, i.e., school help to job search. Examine the student’s concerns and fears when establishing goals.
  8. Establish a protocol to help the student develop new skill sets in areas such as surgery, medical records, client communication, and other areas of interest.
  9. Discuss expected outcomes and how those will be monitored or measured.
  10. Discuss how to resolve conflicts.
  11. Create a timeframe for the relationship that is beneficial to both parties. Clarify a mutually agreeable endpoint or time for renewal of the partnership. The Veterinary Medical Alumni Association will survey and review partnerships twice a year. We hope the partnership and communication would continue beyond a set termination date.
  12. Celebrate progress and accomplishments.
  13. Provide an out clause. Understand that should, for any reason, the student or veterinarian elect to terminate the partnership, it may be done without the need to give a reason, and that it should be considered an amicable ending

Participant(s) should contact the Veterinary Medical Alumni Association to request dissolution of the partnership. These steps were created using the American Animal Hospital Association Mentoring Guidelines.