By: Kalkidan Gebre, Dalhousie School of Nursing
The Annual Crossroads Interdisciplinary Health Research Conference is a national student-led health and wellness research conference that was held March 9th and 10th, 2018 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Crossroads is an adjudicated, peer-reviewed event for student researchers at all levels. It provides students from all disciplines with the opportunity to present their health-related research in a supportive and interdisciplinary environment. Student researchers are provided the platform to showcase their research, engage in dialogue and participate in interdisciplinary learning and collaboration with other students, faculty, and experts.
What my research was about?
At crossroads, I gave an oral presentation of a small integrative review that I conducted on the importance of mentoring for black students in nursing. Students of African descent in the university setting have different lived experiences than their European descent counterparts and encounter factors during their undergraduate that impede their success. These barriers include, inadequate academic preparation, financial problems, poor social adjustment and engagement, isolation, a lack of faculty and institutional support, and underrepresentation.
The preliminary findings from this integrative review concluded that mentoring programs are useful ways to support students as they enter postsecondary education. For black students specifically, the mentoring relationship can provide academic, social, and career guidance that is invaluable during the undergraduate years. Increasing recruitment and improving retention and graduation rates of black nursing students through mentorship programs, not only will it assist in diversifying undergraduate nursing programs and the workforce, it will lead to reduced health care disparities in underserved populations.
Kalkidan has just completed the third year of her nursing program. While her school work keeps her very busy she is always eager to explore new opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Kalkidan worked in the global health office as an outreach assistant in 2016 and she is currently a Queen Elizabeth Scholar with PASADA (Pastoral Activities and Services for People with AIDS Dar es Salaam Archdiocese), an HIV/AIDS service based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. until August. We look forward to future blog posts from her!