Implementing Peer Support to Improve Graduate Nursing Success: A Program Evaluation

Background: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduate nursing students encountered a variety of academic and social sources of stress and anxiety. Post pandemic review of mental health reveals worsening statistics for graduate students. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) attrition is on the rise, with student support issues and program stressors being two major predictors of attrition (Zangaro & Fang, 2022) .

Local Problem: At a large academic university, academic progression through the first two specialty courses were analyzed and revealed 5-28% of students fail or withdraw from these beginning specialty courses. A Peer Support Pilot Program was started to provide a resource for Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Doctor of Nursing Practice (AG-ACNP/CNS DNP) Students. The effectiveness of this program has not been evaluated.

Methods: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) framework for program evaluation will be used to evaluate three specific aims: utilization of the Peer Support Pilot Program, academic progression in the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP program, and student perceptions.

Interventions: Attendance of in-person events and academic progression were recorded by course faculty. An anonymous Qualtrics Survey was sent to participants assessing the frequency of communication with their peer coach and their perceptions of the program.

Results: The Qualtrics survey had a response rate of 83% and revealed 90% of students communicated with their peer coach at least once per month. Whilst 80% of students would recommend the Peer Support Pilot Program to an incoming student, 50% believe it contributed to their academic success. There was no measurable change in academic progression when compared to the year prior. Participants recommended limiting lectures during in-person events and making the in-person events less formal.

Conclusions: The Peer Support Pilot Program was perceived as a benefit by the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP students. The students utilized their peer coaches for support throughout the semester, and half perceived it to contribute to their academic success.

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Work Title Implementing Peer Support to Improve Graduate Nursing Success: A Program Evaluation
Access
Open Access
Creators
  1. Jacquelyn Ryer
  2. Barbara Birriel
  3. Sharilee Hrabovsky
  4. Sheri Matter
Keyword
  1. DNP project
  2. Peer coaching
  3. Peer mentorship
  4. Peer support
  5. Mentoring programs
  6. Graduate nurses
  7. Program evaluation
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Project
Acknowledgments
  1. Dr. Beth Galik, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
  2. Dr. Susan L. Bindon, DNP, RN, NPD-BC, CNE, FAAN
Publication Date February 14, 2024
Deposited March 13, 2024

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Version 1
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  • Created
  • Updated
  • Updated Keyword, Description, Publication Date Show Changes
    Keyword
    • DNP project, peer coaching, peer mentorship, peer support , mentoring programs , graduate nurses, program evaluation
    Description
    • Background: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduate nursing students encountered a variety of academic and social sources of stress and anxiety. Post pandemic review of mental health reveals worsening statistics for graduate students. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) attrition is on the rise, with student support issues and program stressors being two major predictors of attrition (Zangaro & Fang, 2022) .
    • Local Problem: At a large academic university, academic progression through the first two specialty courses were analyzed and revealed 5-28% of students fail or withdraw from these beginning specialty courses. A Peer Support Pilot Program was started to provide a resource for Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Doctor of Nursing Practice (AG-ACNP/CNS DNP) Students. The effectiveness of this program has not been evaluated.
    • Methods: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) framework for program evaluation will be used to evaluate three specific aims: utilization of the Peer Support Pilot Program, academic progression in the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP program, and student perceptions.
    • Interventions: Attendance of in-person events and academic progression were recorded by course faculty. An anonymous Qualtrics Survey was sent to participants assessing the frequency of communication with their peer coach and their perceptions of the program.
    • Results: The Qualtrics survey had a response rate of 83% and revealed 90% of students communicated with their peer coach at least once per month. Whilst 80% of students would recommend the Peer Support Pilot Program to an incoming student, 50% believe it contributed to their academic success. There was no measurable change in academic progression when compared to the year prior. Participants recommended limiting lectures during in-person events and making the in-person events less formal.
    • Conclusions: The Peer Support Pilot Program was perceived as a benefit by the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP students. The students utilized their peer coaches for support throughout the semester, and half perceived it to contribute to their academic success.
    Publication Date
    • 2024-02-14
  • Updated Acknowledgments Show Changes
    Acknowledgments
    • Dr. Beth Galik, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, Dr. Susan L. Bindon, DNP, RN, NPD-BC, CNE, FAAN
  • Added Creator Jacquelyn Ryer
  • Added Creator Barbara Birriel
  • Added Creator Sharilee Hrabovsky
  • Added Creator Sheri Matter
  • Added Ryer, DNP Paper FINAL2-2024.docx
  • Updated License Show Changes
    License
    • https://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword, Description Show Changes
    Keyword
    • DNP project, peer coaching, peer mentorship, peer support , mentoring programs , graduate nurses, program evaluation
    • DNP project, Peer coaching, Peer mentorship, Peer support , Mentoring programs , Graduate nurses, Program evaluation
    Description
    • Background: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduate nursing students encountered a variety of academic and social sources of stress and anxiety. Post pandemic review of mental health reveals worsening statistics for graduate students. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) attrition is on the rise, with student support issues and program stressors being two major predictors of attrition (Zangaro & Fang, 2022) .
    • Local Problem: At a large academic university, academic progression through the first two specialty courses were analyzed and revealed 5-28% of students fail or withdraw from these beginning specialty courses. A Peer Support Pilot Program was started to provide a resource for Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Doctor of Nursing Practice (AG-ACNP/CNS DNP) Students. The effectiveness of this program has not been evaluated.
    • Methods: The Center for Disease Control (CDC) framework for program evaluation will be used to evaluate three specific aims: utilization of the Peer Support Pilot Program, academic progression in the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP program, and student perceptions.
    • Interventions: Attendance of in-person events and academic progression were recorded by course faculty. An anonymous Qualtrics Survey was sent to participants assessing the frequency of communication with their peer coach and their perceptions of the program.
    • Results: The Qualtrics survey had a response rate of 83% and revealed 90% of students communicated with their peer coach at least once per month. Whilst 80% of students would recommend the Peer Support Pilot Program to an incoming student, 50% believe it contributed to their academic success. There was no measurable change in academic progression when compared to the year prior. Participants recommended limiting lectures during in-person events and making the in-person events less formal.
    • Conclusions: The Peer Support Pilot Program was perceived as a benefit by the AG-ACNP/CNS DNP students. The students utilized their peer coaches for support throughout the semester, and half perceived it to contribute to their academic success.
  • Updated