The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

DEVELOPMENT AND INITIAL ANALYSIS OF A FORMAL MENTORSHIP PROGRAM FOR A BACCALAUREATE DEGREE RESPIRATORY CARE PROGRAM

V. L. King1, B. A. Wattier1


Background: Academic mentoring has been described in nursing journals as a strategy to facilitate student success and decrease student attrition rates. Traditionally, the program has seen applicants from a narrow demographic group and a close geographical proximity. A change in academic partnership to a 4-year degree program has increased the applicant pool to include wider geographic and ethnic diversity. During the 2005-2006 academic year the Mayo/UofM Respiratory Care Program chose to develop a formal mentoring program to assist with matriculation, psychosocial development and career development of students.

Method: In 2006 a unique profile questionnaire was created and information was gathered for a committee to make mentor/mentee pairings (mentor group). A workshop for all mentor groups was presented. This consisted of ice breakers, guided discussions, a presentation of the program objectives, participant responsibilities and lunch. A contract was signed by each mentor group that outlined responsibilities and asked for a meeting plan. In the 1st year (‘05-‘06), the program was unstructured for the participating students from the senior class. Review of the program resulted in change; however the mentor group pairing process and the introductory workshop was continued. In the 2nd year (‘06-‘07) of the program a structured format was adopted, three peer mentors were added (from the senior class), and the program was implemented for the junior class verses the senior class. A topic of professional significance was presented one time during the semester and social gatherings were incorporated. Mentor groups were encouraged to meet during the semester. A survey was distributed to each member and responses were collected.

Results: In two years of the mentorship program, 18 students and 18 mentors have participated. Survey results from all participants showed a low perceived benefit after the first year. Following program restructuring, 2nd year post program surveys indicated 90% of the members had their expectations met. Mentor groups interacted on average 3 to 5 times per semester in the 2nd year of the mentor program vs. less than 1 meeting time per mentor group in the 1st year.

Conclusions: Commencing the program for junior students and implementing structure increased program perceived benefit and increased the interaction between mentors and mentees. Further refinement to outcome surveys will give greater clarity to program outcomes.

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