The decision to become a mentor to a colleague is an important step in a successful AVDT training program and, ultimately, a successful completion of the veterinary technician specialty. In Greek mythology, Mentor was the loyal friend and advisor of Odysseus and the teacher of his son, Telemachus. Webster’s New World Dictionary states the definition of a mentor as 1. a wise and loyal adviser 2. a teacher or coach. The purpose of the mentor is to guide and evaluate the mentee through the processes of their training program, the submission of credential materials, and the examination preparation.
In addition to providing your dental knowledge and expertise, mentorship will require your time for evaluation of case treatments and submission materials. Mentors must be familiar with the current AVDT training program requirements Each mentor needs to obtain a copy of the credentials packet to ensure that they are participating using the same materials as the applicant has. It details the program requirements, equipment list, and AVDT-approved forms. Mentors should outline a plan to accomplish the mentorship and communicate the structure of the mentor program to the applicant. Both the mentor and mentee should agree upon the planned outline.
An AVDT Board Member may have a total of three credentialed veterinary technician applicants or RDH/credentialed veterinary technician applicants.
Questions to Ask Before Deciding to be an AVDT Mentor:
- Do I enjoy working with others and sharing my veterinary dental knowledge and skills?
- Do I have the space to provide a work area for a mentee to study and perform dental procedures?
- Do I have time to evaluate the clinical performance of a mentee and the paperwork associated with it? Yearly applicant submissions of logs and other documents are required to be evaluated and signed by the mentor. 100 minimum specified required cases must be formally reviewed during the training program. Five case reports, written by the applicant, must be reviewed and evaluated by the mentor prior to submission to the Credentials Committee.
- Is the mentee legally qualified to perform dental work in my hospital and will the practice owner allow it?
- Can I maintain an objective professional relationship with an individual who may also be a friend? Honest evaluation and constructive criticism of work performance and materials are required for the advancement of high standards in veterinary dentistry. A mentor must to be prepared to address program or mentee inadequacies, and terminate a program if necessary.
- Am I aware of my strengths and weaknesses in the training, experience and caseload of all major aspects of dentistry? Can the outline for mentorship accommodate these strengths and weaknesses by utilizing other AVDT colleagues or outside rotations, if necessary?
How to evaluate a potential applicant as a possible mentee:
The requirements for an AVDT credentialing program are based on a 2-year time frame. Therefore, a successful and rewarding mentor-mentee relationship requires planning and agreement prior to the start. It is important to know as much as possible about the applicant, through review of his or her curriculum vitae, evaluation of the applicant’s current level of dental skill and equipment, and discussion of the applicant’s desire and commitment toward advanced veterinary dentistry. Undertaking a veterinary dental training program requires a great amount of involvement, time, and money. The applicant must be familiar with and agree to all the basic program requirements, the protocol of the AVDT training program, and prerequisites for admission to the certifying examination. The mentee also must be aware of other time and financial commitments including (but not limited to):
- An increase in his or her advanced dental caseload
- An ability and willingness to keep detailed records and logs and devote time to the other associated training program documentation
- Travel to CE programs
- Training program dues to the AVDT
- Preparation of admission materials and associated fees for commencing the training program and the credential and examination applications
- The applicant’s willingness and ability to take time off from the clinical case load to study and practice for the certifying examination
The mentor should communicate to the applicant the structure of the mentor program and also outline the review process. Discussion should also include information regarding mentor guidance and mentee evaluation. Although the mentor and applicant may be friends, one purpose of the mentor is to critique the applicant’s work and submissions. The mentee should not take remarks personally. A mentor or mentee may recommend a provisional working period to see how the mentor/mentee relationship is going to work.
Questions to Ask Before Agreeing to Mentor a Potential Applicant:
- How well do you know each other? Are you familiar with the work of the applicant? Have you worked together at conferences or on cases before?
- Is the applicant aware of the scope of the commitment involved in starting and completing the training period, credential application process and for the certifying examination preparation?
- Is the applicant preparing or participating in other major professional or personal accomplishments?
Assisting your Mentee with the Credentialing Process:
By December 15, all AVDT training program applicants and their mentors must together submit several required documents to the Credentials Chair of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians along with the required fee:
- Letter of Intent (Form 1)
- The applicant’s curriculum vitae.
- Complete employment history (Form 2)
- Contract with veterinary dental mentor (Form 3)
All applicants and mentors are encouraged to review the current Credentials packet at the training program inception to become familiar with the scope of the final credentialing process.
The AVDT Mentorship Program:
All mentors and mentees must read the AVDT credentialing packet and be familiar with it. Each basic program requirement and its AVDT-approved format are detailed in it. Changes in the required format of submission and forms may be implemented by the AVDT at any time and applicants and mentors are encouraged to ensure that the most recent guidelines and forms are used when making program submission requirements.
Although it is the responsibility of the mentee to maintain records, logs, and documents, the mentor must evaluate the submissions and sign them. A mentor should not allow the applicant to submit a substandard document package. Substandard, incomplete, or late submissions will be returned to the sender, resulting in a delay in the training program. Mentors should realize that the high standards required for the documentation submission help assure competency for the certifying examination application. The mentor should assist the mentee in achieving these standards.
Preparing Your Mentee for the Credential Application:
It is the mentee’s responsibility to make sure that all forms are in proper order and that all case logs and case reports have been reviewed and are ready for submission.
Preparing Your Mentee for the Certifying Examination:
It is the mentee’s responsibility to be sure that she/he is as ready as possible to take the exam and that all arrangements for taking the exam are in order. The mentee is responsible for submitting all information required to the mentor in a timely fashion for review.