The school of nursing course, Leadership in Patient Care, consists mainly of first semester seniors and a few second semester juniors. The course focuses on leadership in nursing with a great deal of emphasis on communication at all levels of nursing in the many diverse environments that nurses may practice. As Nursing has been identified as the most trusted profession for many years now, we focus on the professionalism, dedication, and continual learning that is required to maintain that trust in the community. As we all know, this has been a trying time and we often encounter students that need a little extra encouragement, someone to cheer them on and help them to be successful.
I wanted to give the students an opportunity to be an advocate for the profession that they will soon be joining and put their newly learned leadership skills into action by completing a final assignment focused on mentoring the incoming freshmen nursing students. I created the “Pearls of Wisdom” assignment where each student writes a letter to a freshman nursing student entering the fundamentals course, Health Assessment Across the Lifespan. The guidelines for the assignment are to write an informative letter of encouragement to the freshmen nursing students sharing information that they feel would be valuable, focusing on such things as “Lessons Learned” and “If I knew then what I know now”. To my delight, the students produced heartfelt encouraging letters that also included valuable advice to the freshmen students on what they learned along the way that helped them to be successful in the pursuit of their nursing degree. These letters were then uploaded to the Canvas fundamentals course site for the freshmen students to access throughout the semester whenever they feel they need a little encouragement or advice from a fellow student. Many of the students that completed the assignment, commented that this was their favorite assignment and that they would be willing to be available to the freshmen students one on one if there was a need or desire. The freshmen students have shared that they have enjoyed reading the letters and appreciate the advice and encouragement that they contain.