Service-Learning Outcomes of the Recipient Population: Does Peer Mentoring among Nursing Students Reduce Anxiety in the Beginning Nursing Student?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 4:05 PM

Sheri Giordana, DNP, RN, FNP-C, GCNS-C
Nursing, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
Bitsy Wedin, PhD, FNP, BA
School of Nursing, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI

Learning Objective 1: state one benefit of a peer mentoring/service activity in an undergraduate nursing program.

Learning Objective 2: identify peer mentoring as a teaching strategy.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure anxiety levels of beginning students in an undergraduate nursing program before, during, and after an established mentoring/service activity . Typically beginning nursing students assigned to their primary clinic rotation are anxious about providing activities of daily living (ADL) care to patients for the first time. Many students have never bathed nor dressed another person.  During the two hour mentoring activity, senior students assist beginning students with ADL care to assigned patients. A previously conducted qualitative study by these researchers suggested a reduced anxiety level in beginning nursing students during and after the mentoring activity which is a consistent finding with other peer mentoring studies .
Methods: Anxiety levels of beginning nursing students were measured by the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) at three different intervals during the semester: before, during,  and after the mentoring/service activity. The STAI is a widely used valid and reliable instrument for measuring anxiety.  It is especially recommended among the testing of college students. The STAI consists of two subscales that measure both state (temporary) and trait (general/long standing) anxiety.  Each subscale has 20 questions with four possible answers to each question.  Scores can range from 20 – 80 with higher scores indicating higher anxiety.
Results:   A significant decrease in anxiety was noted for nursing students following a mentoring activity on their first day of clinic as compared to the control group who were not mentored. Mentored students were less anxious than non-mentored students at the start of their second clinic day.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that nursing faculty should consider implementing a mentoring/service activity with beginning students to decrease student anxiety and to increase the potential for learning.