Nursing alumni as student mentors: nurturing professional growth
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Mentorship is a commonly used strategy for role and career development that has potential benefits for students in undergraduate nursing programs. In contrast to preceptorship, which generally involves clinical supervision and performance evaluation, mentorship is more focused on sharing and nurturing to promote personal and professional growth. This article describes a mentoring program at McMaster University School of Nursing in Canada in which baccalaureate nursing students are mentored by alumni from the same nursing program. Following a successful pilot project with level one students, the program was expanded to include nursing students in all levels who were interested in having a mentor. Both student mentees and alumni mentors have reported positive outcomes. Students felt supported in making personal, academic and career decisions whereas alumni found satisfaction in providing this supportive function, having re-connection with their alma matter, and sharing their professional experience and knowledge. Given the prospective gains not only for the individuals who take part in mentorship programs but also for the profession and beyond, consideration should be given to providing opportunities for nursing students to be mentored during their formative years.
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