It is hard to believe that another school year has come to a close and we have a brand new group of veterinarians that we can call our colleagues. I can remember, with remarkable clarity, the thoughts and feelings that I had when I took the Veterinarian’s Oath and made it my own, vowing to live by its principles every single day. At this time each year, I like to spend some time remembering my years in veterinary school and the great feeling of achievement that came when my graduation day finally arrived. I felt inspired, excited, and hopeful about my future on that day. I reflect on those feelings and I think about the countless blessings that have come to me through my involvement with veterinary medicine. I can think of changes in my own life that I have already experienced and new changes that can lead to continued growth. Think about that word for a second. GROWTH. Merriam-Webster defines growth as “progressive development.”
Veterinarians have a good concept of the word growth. As individuals, we have to be flexible and open to new ideas, concepts, and methods for accomplishing a multitude of tasks. As mentors to veterinary students and recent graduates, we have the opportunity to see these new ideas in practice. I feel confident that each one of us had at least one mentor that helped to guide our growth and development. Those mentoring relationships are so valuable because everyone involved will learn something new.
The inaugural group of AVMA Future Leaders has spent a lot of time focusing on the needs of the recent graduates and emerging leaders in our profession. We have learned that mentoring is a positive and familiar concept to these new veterinarians. Our group is in the process of developing a pilot mentoring program that will allow for the pairing of recent graduates with more experienced veterinarians. This program can create an opportunity to welcome these new veterinarians into our profession and an opportunity to learn from each other; an opportunity for growth.
Many of our state veterinary associations will be hosting an annual conference or meeting over the next couple of months. I would like to encourage each of you to make an effort to attend the next meeting or CE opportunity in your state. Set aside this time to catch up with your classmates, your professors, and your mentors. Go to the meeting to be a mentor to another veterinarian and go to make new friends. Go to find your own opportunities for GROWTH.