To meet strategic national goals of increasing access to quality health care, reducing health disparities and improving health equity in all U.S. populations, schools of nursing are seeking to diversify the nursing workforce to optimize provider alignment with challenged communities by enrolling students from these settings (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). Retaining and graduating the culturally diverse Associate Degree Nurse will benefit many; such as the diverse population with whom they are more likely to work, as people frequently
seek health care from providers of their own race or ethnicity (Dapremont, 2011). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2014) has appealed for an increasingly diverse nursing workforce and for learning environments that engage and support students. As schools of nursing increase enrollment of the culturally-diverse nursing student, they must also increase the support for this student. Mentoring has been identified as an essential component in the education of the culturally diverse nursing student. Bleich et al., 2015; Bond et al., 2012; Brooks Carthon et al., 2014; Carter et al., 2015 found to retain the culturally-diverse nursing student initiatives must include financial support, mentorship, social and academic support, and professional counseling.
Many, if not all disciplines have a variety of definitions for mentoring, however none are concise nor uniform. Most disciplines include role modeling, support, guidance, education and psychosocial support in their definition of mentoring and nursing is no exception. As nursing becomes more complex, patients more critical, and students more challenging to teach, mentoring becomes more essential for clinicians and educators. Whether it is a new staff nurse working at the bedside or an experienced nurse contemplating a change into a leadership or academic role, having a mentor can support and facilitate the nurse in this new role.
Methods: The participants in this research study were a cohort group of students who were awarded a Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) Grant. The grant supports projects that increase nursing education opportunities for individuals who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities that are underrepresented among registered nurses. This cohort group was provided with mentoring, personal and social counseling, academic support services, scholarships and stipends, to ensure the successful completion of their bachelor’s degree by each of the participants who are from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities. The students attended monthly mentoring meetings. The 14 participants were diverse; seven were Hispanic/Latino, one of whom was male and seven were African American. After informed consent, mentees were given a 26 question Likert survey to determine how supported and skilled they felt after having the benefit of a mentor for the previous year. Results: The five constructs rated the highest were communication, trust, role modeling, networking and enhancing professional development, all of which had a mean of 5.43 or higher. Baseline data were collected on ethnic identity, social support, and GPA’s. Journaling revealed valuable information about challenges faced by mentees. Conclusion: The mentoring program supported students and culminated in all 14 Associate Degree Graduate Nurses graduating with their baccalaureate degree and securing employment. All graduates have gone back to their communities to present to their neighborhood schools about the program and mentorship received. The findings contribute to sparse research examining the support and further development and evaluation of mentoring programs for nursing students.
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