Nurse of the Week: Elliana Tenenbaum Might Become the First 16-Year-Old BSN

Nurse of the Week: Elliana Tenenbaum Might Become the First 16-Year-Old BSN

Move over Doogie Howser, M.D. — we’ve got the real deal here.

Our Nurse of the Week is Elliana Tenenbaum, a 15-year-old California native who has chosen Arizona State University to pursue her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and she’s not even old enough to drive.

She will graduate with her BSN next summer and will turn 16 in the fall, making her the youngest nursing student graduate ever at ASU. Neil P Harris with stethoscope as Doogie Howser, MD (ABC TV series).

In 2009, ASU had a student graduate at age 17, but this is truly unique, says Judith Karshmer, dean of the Edson College.

“The fact that Elliana has found her passion in nursing and is pursuing it at this level already is really impressive,” Karshmer said. “Our program at Edson College is quite rigorous in order to adequately prepare future nurses for the workforce. Her ability to handle the coursework and clinical experiences at such a young age is extraordinary and truly sets her apart. I’m just glad she picked us to earn her BSN and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”

Tenenbaum says she discovered her passion to heal people at an early age by shadowing her father.

“I’ve always had a calling to heal people and I grew up with my dad as a medical doctor. … I think I was 4 when I did my first shot and 8 when I did my first thyroid ultrasound,” she said.

Greatness runs in the family. Her mother, Maya, has her PhD, has taught statistics and political science, and continues her love of learning by taking postdoctoral classes. She says her daughter had a “deliberate plan,” and even mapped out her journey to success using charts to keep track of her credits and progress. In all, she says about 300 emails were sent back and forth between her daughter and her counselor.

“It’s really gratifying as a parent to see a child living up to their full potential and finding their gifts and giving back to the world,” Maya said.

Elliana Tenenbaum comes from a family of five, including a brother who attends the University of Arizona. Yet she chose ASU because of the accelerated nursing program and has found Edson professors to be exceptional and her fellow students to be quite supportive.

“They have accepted me as one of their peers and it’s been a great experience,” Tenenbaum said.

She sped through her high school years and took college credit courses while at El Camino High School at Ventura College in Ventura, California. And while she is incredibly smart, she said she did find some of her anatomy and physiology courses to be challenging at times.

The program she is enrolled in now is even more intense. It involves a rigorous 16-month accelerated program designed to give cohorts of nursing students real-life experience by working with patients, doctors and nurses in local hospitals and clinics.

“I am looking forward to working with more at-risk populations because there’s a greater responsibility there and they really need it,” said Tenenbaum, who has begun clinicals at the Justa Center and John C. Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Phoenix.

So, what’s next for this real-life Doogie Howser? While she can legally practice nursing in Arizona once she passes her state board exam, known as the NCLEX-RN, she plans to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate in nursing, which is a step beyond a nurse practitioner. She has an interest in acute care and trauma but would also like to explore other options that might allow her to see the world, such as travel nursing.

She advises others to be open-minded and to “not limit people by their age, and recognize people as individuals and not as numbers because everyone is different and learns at different paces”

She also says, “If you have an interest in something, find a way to pursue it.”

As for that driver’s license, well, she’s also enrolled in driver’s education courses, too, and will take a stab at that shortly after graduating college. But first things first.

Student Success Champions Help Faltering Nursing Students Stay On Track

Student Success Champions Help Faltering Nursing Students Stay On Track

To support nursing workforce development during the critical nursing shortage and ensure prelicensure students have the resources they need to stay on the path to graduation, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing undergraduate program has developed an innovative academic support solution that aids students on the front-end of academic challenges before they become barriers to successfully completing the nursing program.

The new Student Success Champions initiative connects traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing students and Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway students—those from another career path coming into nursing school—who may be facing academic challenges to resources within the School and across campus to provide the support they need to be successful. They also are connected with a Student Success Champion, a faculty member who can develop a personalized plan that not only identifies students’ challenges but also helps develop a pathway to success.

“The nursing shortage certainly is not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a wider conversation,” said Instructor and AMNP Student Success Champion April Love, MSN, RN, RNC-OB, CNE (BSN 2010, MSN 2013). “COVID gave us a need that was more defined. We heard students emphasize that they are more than just a GPA and want success inside and outside of the classroom. It also encouraged us to create a new approach that is sustainable for our students and our program. These students have made a lot of sacrifices to get where they are, so getting to the end of their program in a timely fashion is important.”

“As a leadership team, we looked at how we could best support and help our students. We know they need, primarily, academic support, but we also recognize that multiple factors affect academic success. This program allows for the early identification of all student needs; implementing a collaborative action plan that can assist with the transition to the student nurse, reducing stress and potential burnout,” said Instructor and BSN Student Success Champion Jennie Alspach, DNP, MSN, RN, FNP-BC (BSN 1996, MSN 1999, DNP 2020).

Steps to foster student success have been in place throughout the School’s history, but the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the importance of strengthening those resources and intervening early on.

“We thought about what we could do to ensure students are successful in their first and second semester, when they are most vulnerable to academic and other challenges,” said Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Prelicensure Education Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Student Success Champions provide us an opportunity to identify early barriers to academic success—is it the transition to nursing school, time management, test-taking skills or working in addition to school? Once we identify those students who are facing challenges, then we can either offer School support or connect them to campus resources.”

This support ranges from reaching out to students after early signs of academic challenges, such as a test grade that puts them at academic risk, to identifying ways to help students be even more successful. A new online course offered by the School free to all students provides access to resources such as scholarship opportunities, counseling, resiliency training and more.

“This goes beyond just pulling resources together. It also involves considering the specific needs of our student population as well as talking with faculty about courses and tools they have in place to help students succeed,” Childs said. “Our Student Success Champions are able to consider how students perform across courses and create a holistic approach to identify challenges.”

It also enables the School to keep students on track in their nursing coursework, helping them enter the field and meet workforce needs in a critical nursing shortage.

“In nursing, that knowledge base is the skeleton of the rest of your career,” Alspach said. “It is important that students master fundamental skills and concepts—critical thinking, pathophysiology and pharmacology—and build on them to connect the dots and apply knowledge to practice at the bedside. By providing this additional support, we not only continue to put nurses into the workforce, we continue to produce nurses who are safe, knowledgeable and can provide the best patient outcomes for our communities.”

The program has already seen encouraging results. Since it launched with Bachelor of Science in Nursing students in the fall 2021 semester, the number of students who had to repeat a course in their first or second semester was cut in half. These numbers are encouraging, Childs said, and show how the foundations of nursing skills and education are supported by this program.

The Student Success Champions program expanded to include the Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway during the spring 2022 semester.

“Academic success, especially in nursing, is rarely defined as a GPA-based thing. To go on to be a great nurse, it’s about a compassion for others and your ability to understand people at a different level,” Love said. “From a personal perspective, one of the things that drew me to the hospital and to UAB as a school is the diversity in our student population—and not just in any one aspect, but in lives and life conditions. Our students bring their world view and perspective and experience into the role, which makes it so exciting to help them transition to nursing.”

AMNP students, as well as some students in the BSN program, already have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing field, and for most, nursing is a second career. Their life and career experiences are a benefit to the nursing field, Love said, as they approach nursing from a new perspective. But it also means facing potential challenges.

“The Student Success Champions program is very much about sitting down and meeting people where they are, looking at what amazing things they offer to the field, but also looking at the barriers. We help them find resources and a sense of community as they consider, ‘How do I turn this potential challenge into something that helps me be successful in the profession as a whole?’” Love said. “Resources have been set up for a long time, but too often they come in to ‘get you back on track.’ This is an opportunity to be more proactive, to learn skills super early on, so that as you’re moving through the program and they’re no longer an issue.”

The strength of the Student Success Champions comes from the understanding that all students face unique challenges and have different needs, Childs said. And ultimately, this program is one step in a continual conversation.

“This program is one way we can address the magnitude of what is needed, not just from an academic but also from a psychosocial perspective. It allows us to take a step back and look at how we engage with students and how we focus on the tools they need,” Childs said. “From here, we can address ways to further incorporate the new American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials, continuing to help our students become more resilient and more strategic as they navigate this education system and their careers.”

Getting from Point “A” to Point RN: Which RN Pathway Works Best for You?

Getting from Point “A” to Point RN: Which RN Pathway Works Best for You?

So, you want to become an RN?

Even if you don’t plan to accumulate as many nursing credentials and degrees as Sandra Lindsay, becoming an RN involves intensive training and education. But what skills should you have? What kind of training and education does an RN need? Are there different RN “flavors” to choose from?

The options can seem pretty daunting if you don’t have a guide, but DailyNurse is here to help! We consulted with an expert on RN education—none other than Adriana Glenn, Ph.D., MA, MN, RN, FNP-BC (see above re credentials and degrees). Dr. Glenn was a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) for three decades and has been an educator for over 10 years. And, as Director of the RN-BSN Program Track at the George Washington University School of Nursing, she is the go-to person for nursing students who… need to find out what they need to know. Below, Dr. Glenn answers the questions she often gets from her GWU nursing students, along with a few that they should ask.

What are the most useful skillsets for an RN education?

Focus on developing strong study skills. Here are six important skill sets that will serve you well as a student and as an RN throughout your career:

  • Effective note-taking – explore the different methods of note-taking. There are some formats that work better for some courses than others in terms of recording and recalling information.
  • Reading skills – engaging in active learning strategies when reading the text by developing questions from readings for your study group or to ask in class. Read with intent and focus on mastery of key concepts emphasized in your course objectives and lectures.
  • Listening – really listen to the instructor/professor’s voice inflection as well as verbal indicators of important content.
  • Recall and memory – review class notes and concepts that are challenging daily, think about making flashcards (hard copy or electronic), and take advantage of learning the various acronyms and mnemonic available online (via images, YouTube videos, etc.).
  • Critical thinking – Develop intellectual curiosity; make it routine to be curious, creative, and think critically!
  • Time management – it is critical to learn how to use your study time in an efficient and productive way. Nursing school requires mastery of vast amounts of content that must be balanced with your life obligations. There are many great approaches you should explore that can help ranging from the use of a day planner to spaced learning review, prioritizing tasks, or assessing for “time wasters” in your life.

What are the key points I should consider when selecting my RN career path?

Of course, all prospective nursing students should consider the general aspects of a nursing program, like accreditation, NCLEX-RN® pass rates, location, education delivery format (i.e., in-person vs online), class schedules, and pacing. However, as an individual potential nursing student, you really need to reflect on:

  • The type of learner you are (auditory, visual)
  • Your proficiency and comfort with technology
  • Your financial resources/financial plan
  • The amount of time you have available to pursue a nursing degree.

If finances are an issue, you may enter the nursing profession in stages. For example, a person may elect to attain their Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) credentials and then move on to an ADN which allows them to work as a nurse while moving through the coursework needed to become an RN. This is a path, but it is not a necessary or required path. Attaining the LPN is not a guaranteed path to attaining your RN; while both tracks provide the end result of a license, the licenses are different and the nursing responsibilities are different as are the level and types of knowledge required.

What are the different RN pathways, and what kinds of career options do they prepare you for?

Regardless of the path you choose, you will have to pass the NCLEX-RN® exam, but you can approach the test from four different pathways. From the least common to the most common, you can select the RN path that best fits your goals, interests, finances, and life situation:


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RN-Diploma Program  (not a degree)

This is a hospital-based apprenticeship-type program and is how “professional” nursing started if you will.  Less than 100 of these programs still exist mostly in the East and Midwest with the vast majority in PA and NJ. These nurses will only be able to work in hospitals/acute care settings.

RN-Diploma programs are fairly rare, and I will not go into detail as they do not lead to a degree. However, one thing they have in common with the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) path is that they are generally the fastest way to becoming an RN. The programs are generally 3 years in length, require a high school diploma/GED for admission, and these programs are affiliated with hospitals. There are less than 100 of these programs nationwide. The diploma pathway prepares the RN to practice exclusively in the hospital as that is how the program was designed on an apprenticeship type model.

Direct Entry Master’s in Nursing (MSN):

Sometimes referred to as a generalist entry master’s, this path is at the opposite end of the educational spectrum from a diploma program (if you dream of a Sandra Lindsay level nursing career, at some point you’ll need not the direct entry master’s, but an advanced practice nursing MSN).

This MSN degree is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who want to become RNs. It is what’s known as a generalist master’s degree in nursing, and is offered by a number of colleges/universities. The aim is to provide a non-ADN/non-BSN graduate with a nursing education that will allow them to be eligible to take the NCLEX. It is an alternative to the accelerated BSN and may help with regards to obtaining aid packages since it is not another bachelor’s degree. It usually takes up to 24 months to complete a direct-entry MSN program. This degree should NOT be confused with the MSN needed (currently) to become an APRN.

One benefit from this pathway is that in addition to making you eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, you will also be eligible for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL). A CNL is a nurse who is prepared to be a leader at the bedside and at the organizational level particularly in health care facilities like hospitals. It is notable, many share clinical experiences in this pathway are limited. The point I want to emphasize here is this: nurses with a generalist entry master’s are not advanced practice nurses (APRNs), and this type of master’s degree does not guarantee automatic admission into a program that yields a master’s as an APRN.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) :

An ADN RN can be employed in a variety of settings, but they tend to work in acute care and long-term care settings (i.e., hospitals). The ADN pathway is one of the faster ways to attain the RN (barring the long waitlists for many to get accepted or get the needed classes).

ADN programs are mainly located on community college campuses. They prepare great “bedside” nurses which is what we need in the hospitals, and ADN-prepared nurses can also work in other settings like rehabilitation centers or in the community. This is a common path for people who have financial considerations or those looking to change careers.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN):

A BSN from a college/university is the recommended entry-level education for the nursing profession. The best-rounded (and best paid) RN nursing professionals have a BSN. A good program will prepare you for a nursing career in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings, as the curriculum includes required courses like leadership, nursing research/evidence-based practice, and community/public health. A BSN education will help you acquire a broader knowledge base than an associate degree or diploma program and BSN/RNs are rewarded with greater pay and income potential.

Of course as a nursing professor, I want everyone to take the BSN pathway which aligns with what professional nursing organizations have advocated for as the entry-level degree for many years. The BSN offers the most comprehensive classes and supports greater employment opportunities as an entry-level nurse.

However, I am keenly aware the ability to obtain the BSN at the start is not a practical reality whether is stems from the amount of time, finances, or even on the university/college end the inability to accept applicants due to a faculty shortage and the fact clinical courses must maintain low student, instructor ratios for safety reasons and in accordance with state laws. In general, the long-term earnings and career opportunities are far greater with the attainment of the BSN.

In addition to the traditional BSN track, other options at this education level include RN to BSN programs (for those who have an associate degree) and accelerated BSN tracks.

Does one path better prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam better than others?

All pathways prepare nurses to provide safe, patient care meeting the minimum standards recommended by the profession and in alignment with our code of ethics. Passing the NCLEX-RN exam reflects an individual meeting the minimum standards. So, in terms of the exam, all pathways will prepare the individual for the NCLEX-RN.

What is your best advice for students considering becoming an RN?

Embrace all learning opportunities. Many students have their heart set on a specific area or specialty in nursing which is great. However, you can and will learn from every clinical rotation and you should embrace the opportunities offered to you fully.

Ask questions! Ask questions in class, connect with your faculty in and out of the classroom, explore your interests with faculty and get their perspective as well as ask for clarification of challenging course content. Faculty are people too and we worked (and some still work) as nurses! Also, connect with cohorts of nursing students ahead of you. Many nursing students are very happy to share their trials and errors in learning the material and managing clinicals

Develop your intellectual curiosity: this is done by asking questions but also by seeking knowledge outside of what is required for exams and quizzes. Try to connect concepts between the courses. Everything you learn in nursing school will apply to what you do as a nurse in some way. Also, engage in reflective practice (which is what we nurses do) how can something be done better or differently in a situation that may present again in the future.


Nurse (Couple) of the Week: Texas BSNs Combine Proposal with Pinning at Grad Ceremony

Nurse (Couple) of the Week: Texas BSNs Combine Proposal with Pinning at Grad Ceremony

A BSN pinning ceremony during a global pandemic is a dramatic event in itself. Amid the celebratory atmosphere, there is almost a mood of military enlistment among nursing grads. Newly minted BSNs are getting ready to work on the “frontlines,” and as we have seen over the past two years, many standout nurses have served in the armed forces. So, is it really that surprising that some nurses – like our Nurse (Couple) of the Week – are pairing off on route to the Covid Front?

Romantics like VBSN (Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) Darvin Del Rio like to make an impression when asking someone to become their life partner, and if you make one major rite of passage a gateway to another, it will definitely be an event to remember.

The San Antonio firefighter and flight paramedic felt that the woman of his dreams deserved nothing less than a “fairy tale proposal,” so – with the Dean’s blessing – he popped the question to his girlfriend/classmate/fellow vet Leianne Maugeri at their Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing BSN pinning ceremony.

Did she say “yes?”

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According to the combat medic and brand-new nurse, “Of course, I said yes! I admire this man so much and am honored to spend the rest of my life with him.”

Apparently, Mr. Del Rio’s stratagem hit the target straight on, as his new fiancée added, “This was more than I ever dreamed of, and for that I will be forever grateful. Thank you, Devin, for showing me what it’s like to feel undoubtedly loved and cherished.”

Del Rio and his intended were first introduced in 2017 at Fort Bliss (yes; Fort Bliss, where else?). A year later, they were sharing a home. As the pandemic began to spread, the pair – like many veterans – saw nursing as a natural step from military to civilian service. With their paramedic and combat medicine experience, they made swift progress through the TTU accelerated VBSN program. Maugeri noted that the VBSN seemed tailor-made for them, given “our 9-plus years of experience in trauma and emergency medicine. This fast-paced environment is something we’ve become accustomed to through the military so it definitely stood above the rest.”

Maugeri’s fiancé said “completing the program in one year was a bonus,” but sounded both proud and humbled to confess, “Leianne has the better grades, hands down. She’s smarter than me by far. How she ended up with me, I don’t know. But I do thank my lucky stars for it. Sometimes it’s better not to question.”

However, it sounds like there is no question about this love match. When asked about one another, both nurses respond in terms that could easily double as self-penned wedding vows:

She: “It is crazy to think of all that we have endured together over the last four years — from serving as active-duty flight paramedics to graduating this nursing program together. It’s a wonderful thing to have gone through so much with my very best friend. I feel incredibly blessed.”

For his part, Del Rio waxes poetic: “She has a presence about her that lights the room…. Living with her these last four years is what has made me sure now more than ever.” He concluded with a vow that would win anyone’s heart: “Thank you, Leianne, for bringing out the best in me. Know that no matter what happens between us, I’ll always love you for the stability you’ve brought to this rocky world of mine. So long as I live, I’ll continue to give you the world.”

We wish the love-struck BSNs the very best. May they enjoy a long, happy marriage, and make a difference in patients’ lives for many years to come.

For more on the newly affianced grads, see the story at Lubbock Online.

Nurse of the Week: After Battling PTSD and Addiction, She’s Helping “Brother and Sister” Vets

Nurse of the Week: After Battling PTSD and Addiction, She’s Helping “Brother and Sister” Vets

Jennifer Grubb, our Nurse of the Week, is a military veteran who is now deploying her hard-earned experience to help others as a nurse.

The PA native started her career in 2003 at the age of 20, when she served in Afghanistan at the height of the post-9/11 military action. Grubb was a combat lifesaver and worked security details in a place where saving lives was often impossible, and no one could afford to feel secure. She saw comrades die in attacks, witnessed the wretched collateral damage suffered by civilian adults and children, and picked her way through minefields.

Like so many soldiers, she struggled as her psyche attempted to process things that most people are not meant to process. In an interview with her hometown Pennsylvania newspaper, The Daily Local, she recalled, “I saw so many gruesome sights. I just hated where I was and decided my best route was just to feel nothing… I started writing less, I started calling less, I started eating less.” Finally, after Grubb had lost 80 pounds during her quest to seal off the horror of war, the Army medevacked her back to the US with an honorable discharge. Then, again like so many other soldiers, she found that even 7000 miles somehow failed to provide a safe distance from the war. As she describes it, “you don’t fit in in your own life anymore. I was always looking over my shoulder. The slightest thing made me jump.”

The nightmares were so intense that they seemed to taint her waking hours, so she tried her best to avoid sleeping and numbed the trauma with drugs. Eventually, she slid to one of those make-or-break low points: “I was just going to use drugs until it killed me. I had one moment where I had a glimmer of hope, and I prayed to God to save me. Two hours later, I was pulled over and arrested for possession of crack cocaine.”

Things began to arc upward when the court allowed her to enter a drug program, and Grubb’s new therapist diagnosed her with PTSD. “I wasn’t Jenn anymore; I was PTSD, with all of my symptoms, and allowing it to really consume my entire life.” With the help of her therapist, though, and treatment at her local VA medical center, she says, “I started to smile more. And the nightmares became a little less. And not every social situation I was in made me jump out of my skin. And I just tried to stay sober, just one day at a time.”

In 2015, Grubb’s life asserted itself as being on an upward swing when she was invited to a women’s vet breakfast with then-first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden. During the gathering, Obama noted, “So much of your rise had to do with that reaching out and realizing that there are so many folks out there that are ready to just take your hand.” Grubb realized she was in an ideal position to help other vets sidestep the pitfalls of the self-reliant military ethos and the notion that “we can do anything by ourselves, and I don’t need your help.” She adds, “And there’s such a stigma attached to reaching out.”

As the urge to serve and help others is part of her nature, the recovering vet soon sought ways to do that. While PTSD is chronic – Grubb will always do her best to avoid crowds and can only tolerate sitting in an auto passenger seat if her trusted husband is driving – the treatment allowed her to acclimate. “PTSD is not hopeless,” she says. “There are ways to make it a part of you rather than have it define you.” Once she felt that her demons were tightly reined in, Grubb became an LPN, then a director of patient services at an SUD treatment facility. When the latter’s lack of resources had her teetering on the edge of burnout, she then found a position at the VA center where she first received help herself, the Coatesville VA Medical Center.

Now, the LPN, Almost-BSN is caring for fellow vets and helping them navigate their own trauma ordeals. The military connection is powerful. “These guys and these gals, they’re my brothers; they’re my sisters. There’s a closeness and a bond even with strangers that I can’t really explain to the rest of the population. There’s a level of trust that comes with it.” Deciding that she had a calling to pursue, Grubb earned a BA in Psychology, then entered Immaculata College’s accelerated BSN program, where she will graduate in 2022.

Becoming a nurse came naturally to Grubb. She was moved by the nurses who cared for her when her daughter was born, and realized, “When I left the service, I missed being in service to people.” Today, she’s finishing her BSN program and working as a communications specialist at the Coatesville VA, where “I’m good at my job because of the personal connection I have to it. With the veteran population, they want other veterans to be their caregivers. They want people who really get it.”

For more details about Jennifer Grubb, see the excellent Daily Local article here.

Mentoring: A CUNY School of Professional Studies Nursing Student’s Power Enhancer

Mentoring: A CUNY School of Professional Studies Nursing Student’s Power Enhancer

Power is defined as the capacity to knowingly participate in change for wellbecoming (Barrett, 2015). Barrett (1986) assumes that everybody has power, but at times people may experience powerlessness depending on life circumstances. Mentoring is a modality that can help students overcome barriers that hinder their power to excel in their programs and as professionals in the field.

Mentoring has been used in nursing to help both nurses and nursing students grow and advance in their careers. It has been depicted as important to the growth of nursing (Navarra et al., 2017) and as a catalyzer for increasing diversity and the inclusion of minorities in nursing (Talley et al., 2016). It is not surprising that mentoring was cited as a modality that can help nurses excel. Excel is one of the components of the American Nurses Association (ANA) 2020-2021 Year of the Nurse theme: “Excel, Lead, Innovate” (Indiana State Nursing Association, 2021). In addition, mentoring fits into the mission of the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS), which is to offer customized programs that are responsive to its students’ needs, and its vision to enable students to grow and excel (CUNY School of Professional Studies, n.d.). Mentoring also aligns with the CUNY SPS nursing program’s mission to guide students in attaining the necessary tools (knowledge, skills, values, and ability to make sound judgment) to excel in the profession of nursing (CUNY SPS Nursing Department, n.d.).

The nursing program at CUNY SPS is a fully online program that offers many opportunities for nurses to further their education and climb higher in the profession. It includes a BS in nursing and four BS dual joint programs that ensure a seamless transition from Borough of Manhattan Community, Bronx Community, La Guardia, and Queensborough Community College. It also offers several MS degrees in nursing informatics, nursing organizational leadership, and nursing education, as well as an accelerated RN to BS-MS in nursing informatics.

The CUNY SPS nursing program uses two unique mentoring initiatives that target new students in the BSN program. The Black Male Initiative (BMI) is a CUNY-wide initiative that facilitates retention and degree completion success for Black and Hispanic men in higher education. The BMI program, which was designed to level the playing field of inequity and inequality in higher education, uses “a peer-to-peer mentoring model”. At CUNY SPS, the BMI program is used to enhance its Career Ladders scholarship program and to implement the BMI mentoring model (CUNY School of Professional Studies, 2021). It takes into account cultural differences and trains experienced high-performing students to serve as culturally competent peer mentors for new and struggling nursing students. Peer facilitation has been shown to boost both peer facilitators’ and students’ confidence (Davis and Richardson, 2017).

At the beginning of the fall semester, the CUNY SPS nursing department launched its first mentoring program. The aim of the program is to support nursing students in their journey to professional nursing. This decision was spearheaded by the need to provide support to adult students who very often are juggling school with full-time work and family, in addition to other life responsibilities. These realities were worsened by the COVID pandemic. The nursing department’s mentoring program is voluntary for both the mentor and the mentee. It targets new students entering the BSN programs. In contrast to the BMI peer mentoring program, the mentors are professional nurses who are active in the profession. Although all the mentors are currently CUNY SPS nursing faculty who volunteered to participate, mentors can also be professional nurses outside of the program. Careful measures are taken so as not to pair students to faculty who teach them. The hope is for students to use this resource for career guidance, confidence building, and collegial support.  As we continue to evolve in an ever-changing world, it is our hope that these two mentoring opportunities can support our students’ aspirations, facilitate their ascent to higher grounds, and increase their power. As they knowingly ‘participate in change for their wellbecoming’, so too will those they serve. “Power is being aware of what one is choosing to do, feeling free to do it, and doing it intentionally” (Barrett, 2015, p 498).


Barrett, E. A. M. (1986). Investigation of the principle of helicy: the relationship of human field motion and power.
Explorations on Martha Roger’s Science of Unitary Human Beings, 173-184.

Barrett, E. A. M. (2015). Barrett’s theory of power as knowing participation in change. In M. C. Smith and M. E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories and Nursing Practice (4th ed. pp. 495-508). F. A. Davis Company.

CUNY School of Professional Studies, (n. d). Mission and vision statement.

CUNY School of Professional Studies (2021). CUNY grant to fund career ladders mentoring program.

Davis, E. and Richardson, S. (2017). How peer facilitation can help nursing students develop their skills. British Journal of Nursing, (26)21, 1187-1191

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