Catie Pernice

Document Type

DNP Project

Publication Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Susan Penque Ph.D., APRN, ANP-BC, NE-BC, NC-C

Practice Mentor

Dr. Susan DeNisco DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP


Significance and Background: Peer support programs in graduate studies can help students in a multitude of ways. Peer support programs can improve student satisfaction and decrease stress levels among students. Some graduate nursing programs offer a peer support program for students but not all. The university where this project was conducted does not offer a peer support program for Doctorate of Nursing Practice/Family Nurse Practitioner students.

Purpose: To increase student satisfaction and decrease the stress of DNP/FNP students in their first year of graduate college.

Methods: The project’s implementation and evaluation were guided by The Iowa Model Revised: Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Excellence in Health Care. A total of four plan, do, study, and act cycles were completed. Pre-surveys to obtain the need for a peer support program were sent to graduate third- and fourth-year DNP/FNP students. A 19-week peer support program was implemented. Graduate third- and fourth-year DNP/FNP students were the mentors and newly enrolled DNP/FNP students were the mentees for the program. Education was mandatory. Upon the match of the mentor and mentee, a contract had to be signed and the mentee had to share three measurable goals. A communication log was kept between the mentor and mentee. A post-evaluation survey was sent out to the mentors and mentees at the end of the program.

Outcome: The pre-survey concluded that 54% of graduate third- and fourth-year DNP/FNP students felt that a peer mentor would have helped with stress and satisfaction, and 46% felt a peer mentor would have helped with stress (n=12). Newly enrolled DNP/FNP students concluded that reasons to have a mentor were to help with time management, balance, study skills, support, and post-grad questions. Over the 19-week period, 51.94 hours were spent on the peer support program among the groups. The post-evaluation for the mentors determined that most students would continue the relationship, objectives were met, and the program was not overly time-consuming. The post evaluation for the mentees determined that most students are interested in peer mentoring and will continue the relationship, had a positive overall experience, improved confidence as a student, objectives and goals fulfilled, and felt the mentor was a valuable academic resource.

Discussion: Implementing this peer support program into the DNP/FNP program can increase student satisfaction with the program and aid in decreasing stress levels. This program can be implemented into any graduate program. A peer support program can help most students in different aspects.


A DNP project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice, Sacred Heart University Davis & Henley College of Nursing.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Available for download on Saturday, January 25, 2025

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