California State University, Fullerton Leverages Leadership Institute to Certify Emerging Nurse Leaders
Since California State University, Fullerton received 20 New Careers in Nursing Scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the fall of 2009, program director Mary Wickman has utilized existing campus resources and a new grant supported mentoring program to help students in the accelerated program develop leadership skills and provide them with mentorship opportunities.
Students from all over the area, including local community colleges, apply to take part in the University’s Student Leadership Institute, an award-winning program that enables those involved in the nursing program to meet fellow emerging leaders engaged in other academic disciplines, like marketing, political science, or even marine biology.
Now, NCIN scholars choose from eight different leadership tracks and follow a curriculum plan throughout the academic year, during which they learn about topics like social justice, public service, and peer tutoring. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity that students have really enjoyed, “Wickman says.
To expand opportunities for the NCIN scholars, Wickman has also tapped into another mentorship program the university had previously established through a Health Resources and Services Administration grant that links new students with either nursing students seeking their master’s degrees or NCIN scholars in the second year of their program.
“I think the natural inclination for the NCIN students is to stick together, because they are all nursing students,” Wickman says. “But this has made them mix it up a bit. It has taken them out of their comfort zones and helped them use leadership skills they weren’t familiar with before they started.”
Nursing students in this accelerated program tend to be achievement-oriented, have high expectations, and are often interested in leadership and mentorship programs, “because they are interested in linking into anything that helps them be successful,” Wickman says. Mentors help them choose classes and understand what to expect during clinicals. “They work with faculty as well, but I think that student to student interaction speaks the loudest.”