The IVSA Mentor-Mentee program aims to pair current veterinary students with practicing veterinarians to help foster a learning partnership. This partnership creates an open environment for the mentee to ask questions and advice of the mentor who is able to provide honest feedback based upon their unique perspective and experience in the field. This will help to encourage and expose the mentee to their future as a veterinarian while fostering their learning experience during teaching years.


How it works?

Mentoring is a joint venture. Successful mentoring requires that the mentor and mentee share responsibility for learning and sustaining the relationship. Successful mentoring begins with creating a partnership. This means all parties need to be clear about what this relationship is going to look like and how it will be managed. 

The mentor and mentee should discuss the following items: 

· Contact and response times 

· Confidentiality 

· Feedback 

· Goals and accountability

The mentor helps guide the mentee by fostering professional growth and career development. In order for the mentoring program to be successful mentors and mentees must be active and committed participants. 

Successful mentoring programs have:

- A clear definition of mentoring and a clearly defined purpose or set of expectations

- A commitment to the program on the part of both mentors and mentees

- Activities that engage both mentors and mentees

- Regular communication, as established by the mentoring agreement

- Maintenance of confidentiality within mentoring relationships

Key Elements of the Mentoring Relationship

Trust and Respect

The mentoring relationship is based on mutual trust and the guarantee of confidentiality is essential.


Both the mentor and the mentee are responsible for the success of their relationship (each has 100% responsibility for 50% of the relationship). It is important to clarify the roles and responsibilities of each party from the beginning.

Mutual Benefit

The relationship should benefit both the mentor and the mentee.

A Gradual Approach

Mentoring is dynamic and the mentor and mentee should expect relationship changes


  • During the Mentoring Experience, the Mentor should: 

  • Clearly communicate expectations of the mentoring process.

  • Stay flexible in changing expectations or plans.

  • Create goals with milestones and deliverables. 

  • Adapt feedback to the mentees learning style.

  • Be realistic in setting timelines. 

  • Advise, don’t lecture. 

  • Advise on things you know and admit things you don’t know. 

  • Look for answers together for information you don’t know. 

  • Give good examples. 

  • Recognize your mentees challenges and build on their strengths. 

  • Offer constructive feedback and evaluate progress. 

  • Be your mentee’s champion when they reach their goals. 

  • Be consistent and reliable.


During the Mentoring Experience, the Mentee should:

  • Create goals with milestones and deliverables. 

  • Maintain a journal to write down notes and observations.  

  • Listen carefully and observe.  

  • Maintain a positive attitude.

  • Be honest, open, and persistent if there is a lack of understanding. 

  • Bring an enthusiasm for learning.

The Most Successful Intern Mentee is:  

  • Courageous, willing to take risks and be open 

  • A good listener, takes advice 

  • Someone who takes responsibility for learning 

  • Committed 

  • Motivated 

  • Understanding of boundaries 

  • Respectful of Mentor’s time

How to monitor a mentoring relationship


“This partnership creates an open environment for the mentee to seek advice on studies, career options and even emotional support while mentors will be given the opportunity to pass down useful knowledge and tools to their mentees that will ultimately enhance their vet school experience. This is also a great way to not only maintain but to strengthen the bond between our IVSA members. I wish you all the best and hope you benefit tremendously from this project!”


—Naveesha Kaur Shergill, Chair of Standing Committee on Wellness (SCoW), I.V.S.A. Global