Enhancing leadership and relationships by implementing a peer mentoring program
By: Gafni Lachter L.R., Ruland J.P.
Published in: Australian Occupational Therapy Journal
SDGs : SDG 12 | Units: | Time: 2018 | Link
Description: Background: Peer-mentoring is often described as effective means to promote professional and leadership skills, yet evid ence on practical models of such programs for occupational therapy students are sparse. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of a peer-mentoring program designed for graduate occupational therapy students. Methods: Forty-seven second-year student volunteers were randomly assigned to individually mentor first-year students in a year-long program. Students met biweekly virtually or in person to provide mentorship on everyday student issues, according to mentees’ needs. Faculty-led group activities prior and during the peer-mentoring program took place to facilitate the mentorship relationships. Program effectiveness was measured using the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, MLQ: Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, 2004) and an open-ended feedback survey. Results: Results of multi-variate MANOVA for repeated measures indicating significant enhancement in several leadership skills (F(12,46) = 4.0, P = 0.001, η2 = 0.579). Qualitative data from feedback surveys indicated that an opportunity to help; forming relationships; and structure as enabler were perceived as important participation outcomes. Students expressed high satisfaction and perceived value from their peer-mentoring experience. Conclusion: As we seek ways to promote our profession and the leadership of its members, it is recommended to consider student peer-mentoring to empower them to practice and advance essential career skills from the initial stages of professional development. Evidence found in this study demonstrates that peer-mentoring programs can promote leadership development and establishment of networks in an occupational therapy emerging professional community, at a low cost. The peer-mentoring blueprint and lessons learned are presented with hopes to inspire others to implement peer-mentoring programs in their settings. © 2018 Occupational Therapy Australia