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Developing future nurse educators through peer mentoring

Authors Rosenau PA, Lisella R, Clancy TL, Nowell L

Received 29 August 2014

Accepted for publication 8 October 2014

Published 9 January 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 13—21


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr David E. Vance

Patricia A Rosenau, Rita F Lisella, Tracey L Clancy, Lorelli S Nowell

Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

Background: The nursing workforce and nursing education demographic trends reinforce the urgency to cultivate future nursing leaders, educators, and mentors. The changing realities of health care environments, involving crowded student placements, overtaxed clinical mentors and preceptors, and inexperienced staff, hamper student learning and professional development. Peer mentoring has been used successfully in nursing education to enhance student engagement and the quality of the student learning experience. Although various terms like peer mentor have been used to describe the role of senior students facilitating junior student learning, the literature is silent about how peer mentoring fosters the development of future nursing education leaders.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to understand how peer mentorship fosters the development of nursing education leadership in senior undergraduate nursing students enrolled in an elective undergraduate peer-mentoring credit course, Introductory Concepts in Nursing Education and Leadership Through Peer-Led Learning.
Design and method: This phenomenological study explored the development of nursing education leadership in senior undergraduate students through the analysis of critical reflections of individual senior students and online discussions between triads of senior students teaching/learning across diverse junior-level theory and practice courses.
Participants: Seventeen senior undergraduate nursing students enrolled in the elective course participated in the study.
Results: From the critical reflections and online discussions, four themes emerged: "developing teaching philosophies and pedagogies", "learning teaching strategies", "supportive peer relationship", and "benefits of the peer mentorship program".
Conclusion: The creation and promotion of peer leadership opportunities provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities and increase leadership and teaching skills of senior nursing students. In the long term, successful peer leadership programs have the potential to benefit individuals outside of the mentorship relationship including peer leaders' future peers and coworkers, their clients or patients, and eventually their own students as they become nurse educators of the future.

Keywords: nursing education, peer mentorship, qualitative study, nursing students

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