Date of Original Version
A peer-to-peer student mentoring pilot program was implemented at the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Pharmacy (COP) in the Fall of 2013, to supplement a well-established, formal, faculty-to-student mentoring program for students beginning their first professional (P1) year. This added one or two students in their third professional (P3) year to each advising group. The goals of the program were to improve academic success for P1 students, enhance leadership, and promote strong communication and camaraderie within the COP.
This study aims to evaluate differences in opinions of the previous faculty-mentored (FM) classes (P3 class and P4 class) compared to those with a peer mentor (the current P1 class and P2 class).
A 16-question survey was electronically administered to all URI pharmacy students during the Fall of 2014. The responses to the questions evaluated demographics, students’ level of professional involvement, and students’ attitudes towards their mentoring experiences. Information was stratified based on the students’ mentoring program during their P1 year. The FM group (class of 2015 and 2016; P4 and P3, respectively) only experienced a formal faculty-to-student mentoring program and their cumulative responses are compared to the classes of 2017 and 2018 (P2 and P1, respectively), those with the peer-to-peer student mentoring program added to faculty mentoring (PFM). Descriptive statistics were used to compare students’ opinions on confidence, preparedness, time management skills, and level of support provided by faculty and peer mentors in the beginning of their first professional year. This study was designated exempt by the URI Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Most students were 18-23 years old, lived off-campus, and were female. Overall, students in the PFM group reported being more realistic about the time commitment required during P1 year, more comfortable to reaching out to both faculty mentors and other students for help, having more opportunity to interact with students farther in the PharmD program, and more outreach from faculty mentors. Students in the PFM group reported feeling more anxious than the FM group (75% vs 51%, respectively) and less balanced regarding academic life and social life, organization membership, and extracurricular activities (48% vs 55%, respectively).
PharmD students that had a peer mentor in addition to a faculty mentor reported being more realistic about the time commitment required during P1 year, more comfortable to reaching out to both faculty mentors and other students for help, having more opportunity to interact with students farther in the PharmD program, and more outreach from faculty mentors. Limitations to the study include: recall bias for FM group students and their corresponding experience compared to PFM group students, and P1 students of the PFM group only experienced a few months of the program. Areas of research for the peer mentoring program include anxiety lowering strategies, creating more opportunities to meet peer mentors, and providing advice or activities to balance responsibilities.
Asal, N. & Morgans, R. A. (2014). Pharm.D. Students' Opinions on Peer Mentoring [Poster presentation]. American Society of Health System Pharmacy Midyear Clinical Meeting.