Nursing school mentorship program eases transition for graduates

Ryan Prokell

The UT-Austin School of Nursing expects to add 10 matches of students and alumni to its Alumni Mentor Program this semester. 

The program provides current nursing students with UT alumni mentors from hospitals around Texas who guide them through the transition from school to job and prepare them for the workplace by providing career guidance. The program is managed by the Office of Student Services. 

Since its inception in the fall of 2015, 16 students and alumni have been accepted to the program.

“Selected seniors are matched with School of Nursing alumni who are truly willing to make a commitment to their assigned mentee,” said Carol Riazzi, assistant director of clinical and career services.

Riazzi manages the program with Patty Prado, assistant director of student life. 

“Once the match is made, it is up to the student and alumni to determine the direction of the experience and just how often they are in touch,” Riazzi said. “This relationship provides seniors with a sounding board for their fears and concerns, and guidance in many areas — from what to include on their resume to how to study for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and everything in between.”

A 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index survey of 30,000 college graduates found mentoring was one of the most important factors in life, success and happiness after college. 

Riazzi asked Stephen Sims, a UT School of Nursing alumnus, to take part in the program, which he said makes the school-to-work transition easier.   

“The mentor program helps ease the transition from student nurse to professional nurse. My hope is to make the transition as stress-free as possible for my mentees,” Sims said. “I was honored by the opportunity to stay connected with The University of Texas and to share my experience with students going through the transition I experienced myself only a few years ago.” 

Sims is currently employed as a charge nurse for a specialized unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. 

“If you are eager to broaden your perspective and gain insight into post-graduation life, this is the perfect program for you,” said mentee Lindsey White, a UT School of Nursing alumna.