Rutland house is a busy first opinion and referral hospital in St Helens, with 9 branch surgeries. Like many other practices, they have found it increasingly difficult to recruit experienced vets and so have introduced a New Graduate Programme, looking after the development and wellbeing of young vets during the first stage of their careers.
The Practice Manager, Jane Clare and Head First Opinion Vet, Gerard Tennyson masterminded the New Graduate Scheme. The plan was to take on a new or recent graduate and support and mentor them for 12 months before they are fully integrated onto the rota. The first 6 months is off rota with maximum support and a steep learning curve which supports them to increase their surgical and consulting repertoire. At 6 months they are integrated into the rota, often working alongside experienced surgeons at the hospital or branches. They also have a third of their time off the rota again allowing the pressures of time and deadlines to be removed and instead continue further learning, performing more complex surgeries with assistance, case discussion and ongoing tutorials to improve their knowledge base. By 12 months the aim is that they are fully integrated into the team and capable of working alone on the rota with support as required.
They continue to have close contact with their mentor/coach who is available to chat about cases or even difficult clients! They have a plan of topics they try to focus on each week, from vaccinations and parasite prevention, to interpreting laboratory results and covering endocrine diseases. The practice also attempts monthly 1 on 1 with all their vets to provide an opportunity for any ideas or concerns to be raised.