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The Navigating Medical School Program: An innovative student-led near peer mentoring program for strengthening the medical school learning environment

Tyler E Callese,Vahakn Shant Keskinyan,Malcolm Moses Hampton,Gwenyth Davis,Jessie Ykimoff,olleen Laurence,Scott Wirth,Shaina Kaye,Kyle McNamara,Caleb Suggs,Iltifat Hussain,Paige Bentley,Patrick Reynolds,Roy E Strowd.

Abstract
Abstract.
Background. The medical school learning environment (LE) includes the setting and context in which students develop into physicians. We identified “student navigation” as an opportunity for addressing the LE and describe the development of a student-led, faculty-supported program to improve student navigation.
Methods. A student focus group, needs assessment, and a self-regulated learning assessment completed by 139 junior medical students identified 4 key components to navigating medical school: faculty mentor, near-peer guides, colleague support, and friends and family. The Navigating Medical School (NMS) program improves student navigation by facilitating the development of an individualized student navigational team.
Results. In its first year, participation was high: 84 (64%) first-years, 105 (79%) second-years, 54 (43%) third-years, and 49 (44%) fourth-years attended at least one seminar. Post-seminar surveys were completed by 89 students and 97% “agreed/strongly agreed” that these seminars improved student navigation. The Guides program enrolled 134 junior medical students who were paired with 45 near-peer guides. An impact on medical student mentoring at all levels was observed. Near-peer mentoring significantly increased from 46% before to 70% after implementing the NMS program. Students who gained a near-peer mentor demonstrated improved self-directed learning behaviors.
Conclusion. The NMS program is a feasible model for a student-led, faculty-supported initiative to strengthen the LE by improving student navigation, connection and promoting self-directed learning.

Key words: Medical education, leadership, learning environment, student initiative



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