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Students' peer mentoring program proves popular

May 9, 2019
Guylaine Spencer

Maria Pratt and Massod Nawa


Photo above: Dr. Maria Pratt with accelerated student Massod Nawa

When students and professors work together on improving the learning experiences of students, great things can happen.

One example is the collaboration between Dr. Maria Pratt, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, and graduating BScN student Massod Nawa. Over the past term, the pair has worked together on a Student-Consultant Partnership. These partnerships are funded by the MacPherson Institute through the Student Partners Program (SPP).

For Pratt, it’s her second year doing the program. “I have found the program to be helpful in creating teaching and learning experiences with the students. Massod was in my lab group last year in clinical. He came to me with some feedback related to the experiences of students.”

Massod was working as a peer tutor in the Centre for Simulation-Based Learning (CSBL) when he discovered that some first year accelerated nursing students found certain concepts vague or assignments a little difficult.  

Based on this feedback, Massod went to Pratt and proposed a group mentoring project. They worked together to create the content. “On a weekly basis, I would look at the learning sequence and a week before I would go over the assignment, and give examples, guidance, and tips on how to write something in more depth. I found students were attending my sessions and they found them very useful. We did mock practice exams. A lot of students are nervous for these tests, so by doing this preparation they were much more prepared. They felt more confident,” says Massod.

Pratt provided feedback to Massod on the mock exams and scenarios that he created. “Her feedback was helpful because she knew the curricular content better than I did,” says Massod.

The sessions were very well received, Pratt notes. “And the collaboration has been great,” she says. “As a faculty member, I like to bring student voices into making change. Part of our strategic goals for the School of Nursing is to enhance students’ experience. Having this partnership is an example of how we can do that.”

For Massod, the experience of having to lead students and give them advice was confidence-building. It’s also helped with his scholarly work. One of his articles about the experience will be published in The Meducator. “Before I initiated this project, I wrote a critical review of the use of group mentoring in undergraduate nursing. So my project is evidence-informed. The research shows there are many benefits of using peer mentors. Mentees have less stress and anxiety and show increased grades in patho-related courses. For mentors, their self-efficacy increases, and show more competence in their nursing practice in their first year of work.” The student-faculty duo presented their project findings in poster form at the MacPherson symposium in April and will be presenting again at the Geoffrey Norman Day in Education in June.

Massod is graduating this spring but the mentorship project will continue.  “I have talked to some of the accelerated students and they thought the idea was wonderful. They have contacted Dr. Pratt. I’m passing on the baton to one of them.”


Student-faculty partnerships are a win-win experience


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