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Peer mentors ease stress for new nursing students

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February 6, 2024

APPLETON — Fox Valley Technical College’s (FVTC) Nursing Associate Degree program started a peer mentorship program that aims to relieve the stress that first-semester students may experience.

FVTC Nursing Instructor Jennifer Zernzach said first-semester students are paired up with third-semester students who have been nominated by faculty.

She said the mentors volunteer their time to work with new students as they enter the core program.

“Our first semester students are typically overwhelmed while taking three heavy courses, learning a new medical language, the different software and resources in the program and starting their career as a nurse,” Zernzach said. “The mentor provides a friendly face in their corner while navigating all of this. Some students don’t have any family or friends who understand what they are going through. Our third-semester students have been in their shoes and succeeded.”

The program, Zernzach said, has been successful, and many of the students who have been mentored during their first semester have in turn volunteered to be mentors in their third semester.

“The program boosted my confidence in the beginning, so I wanted to turn around and pass the baton,” Trisha Doherty, a mentee-turned-mentor nursing student, said.

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