Peer-to-peer (student-to-student) mentoring programs have been emphasized in learning institutions, and its application is on the rise especially in nursing colleges. Its popularity in nursing education has been attributed to the fact that when students who have a medical background are paired with those who are fresh in the field can enhance exchange of field experience, knowledge, thoughts and reflections between the peers whom one is acting as the mentor (one with prior medical experience) and mentee (fresh student in the field) (Arnesson & Albinsson, 2017). In this perspective, peer-to-peer mentoring programs can be said to be effective methodologies for ensuring a smooth transition from theoretical settings to real nursing environments as the students with medical backgrounds help the novice to make a link between theory and practice. The following literature review provides an overview of previous research on peer-to-peer mentoring programs in nursing education in regard to its aspects and usefulness.
Colucci (2016) explored the implementation and outcomes of a peer mentoring program for baccalaureate nursing students at St. Catherine University. The mentoring program was structured in such a way that sophomore-level students were paired with junior-level students with the latter group serving as mentors to the former group (Colucci, 2016). The program ran for one semester and involved 50 current sophomore-level nursing students who were newly enrolled for a nursing course in Nursing Care of Individuals and Families. The study established that peer mentoring program made the students feel supported by their peers who had recently gone through the course (Colucci, 2016). The program also made the sophomore-level students feel confident, empowered and improved their communication skills. Moreover, the program helped the new students ease their anxiety, lessen confusion, and promoted the learning environment of fresh learners (Colucci, 2016). Although the study involved students who were enrolled in a single course, the findings appear intriguing and useful as it explored the basic benefits of mentoring programs including the provision of support for new students in a nursing course.
Sibiya, Ngxongo, and Beepat (2018) examined the influence of peer mentoring on critical care nursing students' learning outcomes. The study employed a qualitative exploratory research design. The researchers recruited 10 participants from the critical care nursing students from critical care units in two public and 5 private hospitals. They were interviewed through individual face-to-face to gain their experiences in peer mentoring programs. The study established that peer mentoring was a vital strategy that helped critical care nursing students in attaining their learning outcomes (Sibiya et al., 2018). Peer mentoring complimented students' competence levels, enhanced autonomy and work independence, increased self-esteem, and confidence, and also assured personal and professional growth of critical care nursing students (Sibiya et al., 2018). Furthermore, it enhanced clinical competence and aided in the attainment of some learning outcomes such as learning what to be done in a unit and what is expected (Sibiya et al., 2018).
Raymond and Sheppard (2017) explored the effects of peer mentoring on nursing students' perceived stress, sense of belonging, self-efficacy, and loneliness. The researchers conducted a quasi-experimental survey that involved 70 students in their first year of nursing (34 in the experimental and 36 in the control group). The first years comprised the mentees while third-year students were selected as the mentors. The College Self-Efficacy Inventory (CSEI)-Revised, Perceived Stress Scale, Sense of Belonging-Antecedents, Sense of Belonging-Psychological, and the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale were used to evaluate the concepts under study. The study established that the mentorship program significantly reduced first-year students' perceived loneliness and stress (Raymond & Sheppard, 2017). Also, the program increased the psychological sense of belonging as well as a sense of self-efficacy. Moreover, the study established that mentorship experience potentially enhanced student experience and aided the academic institution in resource maximization and retention (Raymond & Sheppard, 2017).
In summary, peer-to-peer mentoring programs for nursing students are of immense value, especially to the mentees. Previous research has shown that mentorship programs lessen anxiety among new students, reduce confusion, and promote a learning environment. It also enhances students' self-confidence, self-esteem, and empowerment. It boosts autonomy and independence among nursing students. Peer mentoring programs also offer psychological support to students and leads to improved learning outcomes as well as higher self-efficacy. Furthermore, the peer mentoring programs help the new students learn what is required in a unit and what is expected from them which lead to improvement in learning outcomes. From the literature, a mentorship program should comprise of a student who previously gone through the course or learning experience and a newly enrolled one acting as the mentor and the mentee respectively. Whereas the previous literature has extensively examined the usefulness of the peer mentoring programs for the newly enrolled students, it appears that little or no knowledge exists about the importance of the programs to the mentors. The researchers have not highlighted the usefulness of peer mentorship programs to the mentors. Peer-to-peer mentorship programs consume mentors' time and should be beneficial to them. Future research should examine the benefits that mentorship programs have for mentors so that they can be promoted when implementing such programs to yield mutual benefits for participants.
Arnesson, K., & Albinsson, G. (2017). Mentorship-a pedagogical method for integration of theory and practice in higher education. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 3(3), 202-217. doi/pdf/10.1080/20020317.2017.1379346
Colucci, K. (2016). Peer Mentoring Program for Baccalaureate Nursing Students. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website:https://sophia.stkate.edu/ma_nursing/88
Raymond, J. M., & Sheppard, K. (2017). Effects of peer mentoring on nursing students' perceived stress, sense of belonging, self-efficacy and loneliness. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 8(1), 16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v8n1p16
Sibiya, M. N., Ngxongo, T. S. P., & Beepat, S. Y. (2018). The influence of peer mentoring on critical care nursing students' learning outcomes. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 11(3), 130-142. doi/full/10.1108/IJWHM-01-2018-0003
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