Implementation of a Peer Mentoring Program for Undergraduate Student Nurses
Frank, Brittany Hattie
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Stress is evident among undergraduate nursing students (Raymond & Sheppard, 2018). Throughout their education, nursing students experience high academic demands and are exposed to numerous stressors. High stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and poor physical health (National Institute of Mental Health, n. d.). Positive coping mechanisms need to be in place in order for undergraduate nursing students to prevent the negative effects of stress. Mentoring has been shown to decrease stress levels and enhance self-esteem by providing social support (Demir et al., 2014). Mentoring consists of a relationship between a mentee (a novice nurse or student) and a mentor (a more experienced nurse or student). Mentors provide knowledge, guidance, and enhance the mentee’s learning (Brown, 2012). Mentees participate by communicating areas of need or concern. Numerous benefits occur from mentoring related to both the mentor and mentee. Based on the need for stress relief among the undergraduate nursing population, a mentoring program was developed and implemented in an urban School of Nursing. The program was targeted to students in the pre-licensure BSN program, including senior and junior students as mentors and sophomore students as mentees. The duration of the program was eight weeks during fall semester, in which students were encouraged to meet face to face, via phone, or skype weekly for approximately 30 minutes. The program was geared toward the needs of the students, however, topics of discussion regarding stress relief, study skills/time management, leadership, and social support were offered as a guide. Students were self-directed through the program. The program was evaluated through a mid and post program survey that assessed quantitative feedback using a Likert scale and qualitative feedback for coping skills for stress relief, self-esteem, and program logistics. Data was collected at mid program and program completion. Surveys were sent via email using an anonymous link through Qualtrics. Overall, the mentoring program had a positive impact. Mentors developed leadership skills, confidence, and personal satisfaction. Mentees gained study habits, confidence, and social support. Both mentors and mentees described positive coping mechanisms for stress. The majority of participants recommended to continue the program at this organization.