Clinical introduction into population health management using a peer mentoring strategy

Margaret A. Avallone, Renee Cantwell, Staci Pacetti


Background/objective: Baccalaureate nursing clinical experiences must prepare graduates to assess and support the health of vulnerable populations within communities. Clinical experiences need to align with theoretical coursework throughout the entire curriculum. This pilot project evaluated an innovative method to introduce second-semester Accelerated Baccalaureate Students (ABS) into a service-learning community experience using a peer-mentoring strategy.

Methods: Eleven second-semester and twelve fourth-semester ABS students were paired in learning dyads in a low-income, ethnically diverse urban housing development, along with community health workers and social workers.  Second-semester students were peer-mentored by fourth-semester students. Second-semester students performed health screenings, health promotion education, and medication reconciliation guided by fourth-semester students. Learning objectives and changes in knowledge were evaluated before and after the experience in a retrospective pretest/posttest format for all students. Additionally, second-semester students reported their perception of the mentoring experience on self-confidence, satisfaction, and helpfulness.

Results: The learning objective rated highest related to the role of social determinants of health in the overall health of the residents (M = 4.38). Paired t-test analysis revealed significant positive increases in levels of knowledge about social determinants of health, role of culture, and importance of the interprofessional team. On a scale of one to five, second-semester students reported increased self-confidence (M = 4.2), satisfaction with the learning experience (M = 4), and help providing health promotion strategies (M = 4.4) due to mentorship by the fourth semester students.

Conclusions: Students’ comments reflected an appreciation of the complexity of healthcare issues affecting vulnerable members of the community. Second-semester students reported more confidence and perceived themselves to be more effective due to the mentorship of the fourth semester students when providing education to residents with complex health needs.

Full Text:



Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.