I like a Starbucks gift card as much as the next guy. I also like a new pair of gloves to keep as extras in the car. There are many small gifts you can give your employees and co-workers during this holiday season, but one stands out as the most valuable and rewarding of them all. Consider instead of the lotto tickets and gift cards, giving your time and attention and mental energy. I know it sounds like a big ask… and you’re probably thinking:

“Where will this extra time come from?”

“Who do I direct this attention onto?” and

“How can I invest more mental energy, I’m already near the point of running away screaming from veterinary medicine?”

I will tell you it’s no easy task but I urge you to take this time of year to see how you can be of service to the learning and career development of your team members. Maybe send your techs to a conference, or  get them a copy of a book they have been eyeing, or (the best one in my eyes), become a mentor. Taking time to check in with your team and take an active interest in developing their skills and interest can serve your practice in many different ways. Let’s look at some ways mentoring can boost morale and patient care at your practice:

1. Mentoring is especially useful in helping new technicians improve their self-confidence, and develop real-world skills such as advanced catheter placement and regional nerve blocks.

2. Mentoring also fosters leadership skills that technicians can use to advance their careers when it comes time for them to consider leadership or management roles.

3. Mentoring relationships inside the veterinary hospital can help improve team morale. Team members who feel that their professional interests are acknowledged and fostered tend to stay at these clinics longer, reducing the cost of turnover.

If you have a team member that is looking to take on more responsibility, or has a particular area of interest that they want to grow, consider starting a mentor program in your practice. You can pair experienced clinicians with newer grads, and seasoned technicians with others that want to grow in areas such as critical care or anesthesia. An important thing to note is: the mentor and mentee must trust each other. They both must give constructive feedback, both positive and negative. Above all, mentors let mentees know that they believe the mentee will succeed in their chosen area of advancement.

So, this year before you pick up another houseplant for your secret Santa, consider investing time and energy in the team development first.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.


Tasha is a Certified Veterinary Technician from Glenside, PA. She is also a certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and works closely with the IVAPM to educate the public about animal pain awareness. Tasha loves to lecture on various anesthesia and pain management topics around the globe. In her spare time Tasha enjoys reading, spending time with her son, and trying to figure out “what kind of game is Petyr Baelish playing anyway”.