Ready, Set, START: Fairfield Egan Mentors Graduating Nursing Students During the Pandemic

Ready, Set, START: Fairfield Egan Mentors Graduating Nursing Students During the Pandemic

Fairfield Egan launched Stags Transition, Achieve, Reflect Together (START) outreach mentorship program to new nursing graduates as they entered the healthcare field at the height of the pandemic.

Recognizing the challenges new nursing graduates entering the health care environment during the pandemic, Fairfield Egan launched the START mentoring program last spring. Nurses entering the healthcare field during the pandemic were faced with a shortage of personal protective equipment, nurse illness, physical and mental exhaustion, stress, and burn-out. 

“When we fully grasped the Covid-reality within which our graduating nursing students would depart Fairfield and enter practice, we knew we needed fast action. The generosity of our faculty in volunteering to continue to mentor our students throughout the START initiative wasn’t surprising given their ongoing devotion and commitment to the education of our nursing students,” said Dean and Professor Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN.

Fairfield Egan developed and implemented the START program, which comprised of Dean Kazer and 20 faculty volunteers from the undergraduate nursing program. Each class of 2020 nursing graduate was assigned a mentor and met regularly over Zoom. Topics included transition to the healthcare environment during the pandemic, preparation and celebration of passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), interview strategies, and help students network.

Following the conclusion of the program for the class of 2020, an overwhelming number of students credited the program with offering needed support during a challenging time. Dean Kazer stated, “Students responded with an outpouring of gratitude. Moreover, the impact of START on student success with 100 percent board pass and employment rates, underscored the timeliness and importance.” 

With the success of the program, Fairfield Egan hopes to continue to offer this mentoring opportunity for the class of 2021. Of the experience, Audrey Beauvais, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, associate dean and associate professor said, “The START Program was an effective mentoring opportunity to enhance the experiences of new nurses. These empirical descriptions of faculty’s beliefs about mentoring provides guidance to increase successful transitions of novice nurses into a successful professional nursing role.”

Tags:  Egan School

Last modified: 05-11-21 1:30 PM

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