Nursing Student Clinical Anxiety, Clinical Confidence, Clinical Competence, Clinical Peer Mentoring
Deborah Filos, University of Michigan-Flint
Kristi Jo Wilson, University of Michigan-Flint
Nursing students face many challenges as they begin their education. One identified stressor is the anxiety produced by clinical experiences. Clinical Peer Mentoring was determined to be a potential strategy to enhance clinical learning and decreasing anxiety for freshman students in a baccalaureate nursing program without incurring additional cost.
Clinical settings are overwhelming for first semester nursing students who are trying to adapt to the rigor of nursing school, clinical environments, and high acuity patients. Clinical Peer Mentoring was determined to be a strategy to enhance clinical learning for freshman BSN nursing without incurring additional cost. Senior students serving as clinical peer mentors can provide a supportive learning environment without the evaluative component which can produce anxiety in freshman students. The purpose of our pilot project was to evaluate the effectiveness of student clinical peer mentoring to promote confidence in the clinical setting for freshman students.
Identify the impact of Clinical Peer Mentors on the anxiety level of first semester nursing students in the clinical setting.
Evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing senior nursing students as Clinical Peer Mentors.
Evaluate the possibility of extending Clinical Peer Mentoring into the nursing skills lab as a learning strategy.
Hear it from the author:
Clinical settings are overwhelming for first-semester nursing students who are trying to adapt to the rigors of nursing school, clinical environments, and high-acuity patients. Clinical Peer Mentoring was determined to be a strategy that would enhance clinical learning and decrease anxiety for first-year BSN students without incurring additional costs. Senior students serving as Clinical Peer Mentors can provide a supportive learning environment without the evaluation component, which can produce anxiety in first-semester students.
Senior nursing students signed up for 4-hour time blocks of clinical hours to work with first-semester students in the clinical setting. The pairings were created randomly. Both senior and first-semester students were given pre- and post-surveys measuring their confidence and anxiety levels. The open- ended survey questions and narrative responses were thematically coded to obtain qualitative themes. Our hypothesis was that the experience would serve to decrease the anxiety of first semester students in the clinical setting. The data surprisingly did not support this but rather we had significant positive results in the senior students.
The senior students reported statistically significant changes related to their comfort and confidence of
working in the clinical setting and an increase in confidence in giving feedback to and advising the first semester students. There were no statistically significant findings among first-semester students pre-
and post- scores.
There were positive qualitative themes in both the first semester and senior students who participated.
First semester students noted an increased comfort and confidence in the clinical setting after the experience in addition to describing an increased knowledge on how to organize AM care.
Senior student themes included feelings of increased confidence in the role of a Clinical Peer Mentor and a resulting increased confidence as their role as a future nurse.
The results of this pilot study suggest that utilizing peer mentors in the clinical setting is a cost-effective educational strategy that is beneficial for clinical nursing education. Most surprising was the benefits awarded to the senior nursing students, including an increased awareness of professional responsibility as it related to contribution to an organization in addition to increased confidence. These insights can potentially aid with their transition from student to professional nurse. Future applications of student mentoring programs could be extended to skill labs as we transition to Competency Based Education.
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