Students as Partners: An evaluation of the role of peer educator within a School of Nursing

Dianne Burns, Steven Pryjmachuk, Philip Keeley, Monica Haggart, Patricia Wood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

In nursing, professional portfolios have long been recognised as a way of demonstrating professional competence and personal and professional development. As such, they are often an important component of current undergraduate nursing programmes. However, many students often feel confused and overwhelmed about what their professional portfolio should contain or how it should be presented. Since there is evidence to suggest that the use of peer support can increase self-confidence, independence, role-modelling ability, and appreciation of peer expertise and support amongst students, we established ‘Portfolio Workshops’ for student nurses that were facilitated by fellow students working as ‘Peer Educators’. Peer-assisted educational schemes such as ‘PASS’ (peer-assisted study sessions) and peer mentoring are an established part of the University experience in some areas.
The overall aims of our project were to :
1) engage with students as partners in shaping the learning experience
2) increase the confidence of both junior and senior students in a supportive learning environment
3) assist students in developing collaborative learning partnerships.
4) provide additional support and guidance for students who are developing their professional portfolio
We report on a qualitative evaluation of these peer-assisted Portfolio Workshops. Perspectives of both peer educators (n=5) and workshop attendees (n=14) were obtained via individual and focus group interviews carried out by an experienced, independent researcher. Findings suggest that the peer-assisted Portfolio Workshops made a considerable positive impact on the life and learning of many student nurses, despite them having a relatively low level of resource.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoyal College of Nursing (UK) Joint Forums' 3rd International Conference and Exhibition
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the borders: Innovations and challenges for nursing education
Place of PublicationBelfast, UK
Publication statusUnpublished - Jun 2011

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