Students Helping Nurse Educators at the University of Texas

Article excerpt

Incoming freshman and sophomore pre-nursing students at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing can profit from a new volunteer program that provides a rich learning experience. SHINE, Students Helping Nurse Educators, promotes one-on-one interaction between students and faculty members at the beginning of the nursing education experience, before course work becomes overwhelming. Faculty members have the benefit of students' help and support, and students have the opportunity to become involved with faculty in a nonthreatening way. The overarching purpose of SHINE is to give students the opportunity to form relationships with others and tap into the wealth of opportunities and resources that are available within the School of Nursing.

How the program works Interested students apply to be SHINE volunteers at the beginning of the semester. The application consists of time and task preferences and individual interests in specialty areas or nursing functions, such as research. Students typically volunteer for one semester at a time, as course work and time schedules are apt to change.

Based on the information in the application, students are assigned to faculty members whose needs and time slots are compatible with theirs. The student contacts the faculty member to set up a meeting for developing a schedule for the current week. In some instances, they are able to develop a schedule for the entire semester. Students are required to work at least one hour, but no more than two hours, each week. This gives them valuable time in the School of Nursing but does not interfere with academic priorities.

What the students do Students participate in a variety of tasks throughout the School of Nursing. Some of the more common tasks involve clerical work -- organizing, filing journal articles or other documents, computer data entry, typing and creating documents, and posting documents on the school's bulletin boards. Frequently, the SHINE volunteers make copies of course materials or deliver mail to student mailboxes.

However, students do not function as or replace secretarial staff. The tasks are designed to draw students into the program and to keep them busy as they learn. …