MSN Student Mentoring Program
by Nnenna Weathers, PhD, RN, FNP
We warmly salute the graduate students that have been volunteering to mentor other students toward completion of their nursing education in the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing (PACSON) at Cal State LA! Selflessly, these students agreed to mentor other students with or without incentives. As we ‘render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s’ we must also give immense credit to staff whose insightfulness of the needs of students was the impetus for developing this Mentoring program. It was only with their dedication to helping students that the Mentoring program was successfully piloted in the fall of 2015 under the guidance of Dr. Nnenna Weathers.
In planning the Mentoring program for graduate students that are multi-cultural and multi-ethnic by all metrics, it was fitting that we invoke the Igbo and Yoruba proverb that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ This proverb emphasizes the importance of social support in forging success and is exemplified by the support junior faculty receive from senior faculty in order to move their careers forward. As this culture of support is what we provide in the PACSON, using a peer-mentoring strategy to help students progress was essentially spontaneous. Specifically, dyads of peer-mentors conduct group-mentoring in conjunction with a one-to-one approach to meet students’ learning needs. Group-mentoring of approximately 20 to 30 students and one-to-one sessions are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Students that used the Mentoring program reported that "Mentoring sessions have helped my grades," and "It has been so helpful knowing how to focus my studying." Other students reported, “The MSN program is rigorous and incredibly challenging and the Mentoring program is an amazing way to support incoming students and help direct their studies, answer pressing questions, and provide students reassurance that despite its level of difficulty, the MSN program is manageable and so well worth it!”
Mentors reported, “I have loved being a mentor for many reasons, but the best thing about this program is feeling like you have helped others get through it and on track to completion of their goals of becoming Nurse Practitioners!” One mentor also reported that, “Being a mentor was a rewarding experience because I was able to help other students. It introduced me to a consultative one-on-one peer dialogue, a condition that could often not be replicated in a classroom setting. The entire process not only helped mentees but me as well since I often had to research topics beforehand or approach topics in a way that I hadn't looked at before. Ultimately, it gave me a stronger appreciation for the PACSON and helped create camaraderie with students.”