Mentorship: Making an Impact on Student Success

When Sarah Lindgren was considering going back to school to get her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), she chose MSUM based on a variety of factors, including affordability and convince. Another primary influence in her decision to attend MSUM was a recommendation from Laurie McReynolds, who she was working with in primary care at HealthPartners in St. Paul, Minn. Laurie graduated from MSUM’s RN to BSN program in 2013.

For current registered nurses interested in earning a bachelor’s degree, MSUM’s RN to BSN program is a great option. The online program provides an opportunity for students to learn at their own pace, and the flexibility of the program makes it ideal for those who want to continue their education while working full time.

“I can tell the difference between the nurse I was before and the nurse I am now,” said Sarah, who graduated from the program in December 2020.

The program’s curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities give students a new perspective on nursing practice as a whole.

“Going from RN to BSN definitely gives you an extra layer of knowledge,” said Laurie. “It keeps you asking more questions which is important in the field because that’s how we get to better care overall for patients.”

One of the courses for the program requires students to select a mentor. For Sarah, asking Laurie to be her mentor was an obvious choice. They had worked together for a while at that point and knew they enjoyed collaborating. In addition, Sarah already considered Laurie a mentor before she officially adopted the role for Sarah’s class.

Because Laurie had completed MSUM’s RN to BSN program herself, she knew what Sarah was experiencing. It made her the perfect person to help guide Sarah as she continued her education.

“It was really kind of a natural progression into it, so it worked out wonderfully,” Laurie said.

Sarah says it’s helpful to have someone around to be both objective and supportive. The mentorship aspect of the RN to BSN program greatly enhanced her learning experience.

In order to graduate each student must complete a capstone project, which combines material learned in all previous classes. Though it is difficult, the way it ties everything together makes it an extremely valuable learning experience.

Sarah and Laurie agree the capstone project was their favorite part of the program. The goal for Sarah’s capstone project was to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use. She took measures to increase education for both patients and nurses. She also had to gather information and create an outline that stated her goals, measures and outcomes.

“Although it was pretty intense to do, it was a great way to summarize the entire BSN curriculum,” said Laurie.

Outside of the classroom, mentorship plays an important role in the healthcare field. Collaborating and learning are key components of nursing. Having a mentorship experience in school better prepares nurses for what they will experience every day at work.

“In healthcare in general mentorship and collaboration are so critical; we need each other to get the best outcome for the patient,” Laurie said.

Having a mentor truly is an invaluable experience, giving students the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. It also creates bonds that can last a lifetime.

Though Sarah and Laurie now work in separate departments at the same company, they continue to keep in touch.

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