The US racial profile is changing rapidly, yet the nursing and midwifery professions are not evolving accordingly. The lack of racial and ethnic diversity within these health professions negatively affects efforts to eliminate persistent health disparities. To address this issue, the Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC) of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) created a national online mentoring program in 2011 to support midwifery students of color. An evaluation of the program is reported here.Methods:
This was a descriptive study conducted via online surveys mailed to 44 mentors and 42 mentees who participated in the program during 2012. Categorical survey responses were compared between groups, and open-ended responses were evaluated for common themes.Results:
Response rates differed across groups. Half of the mentors responded (50%), while only 38.1% of the mentees responded. The majority of mentors and mentees rated the program as either excellent or good and felt the program should continue. Both mentors and mentees shared similar positive ratings about the effectiveness of the application, speed with which matching occurred, and satisfaction with mentee-mentor match; they also share less favorable ratings regarding frequency of communication, impact of geographic proximity, and academic support need and response. Both groups desired to live closer to one another and communicate more.Discussion:
This study suggests that the online mentoring program for student midwives of color currently being offered should continue but with enhancements to improve the face-to-face mentoring experience, including the use of computer-based technology. Other program improvements are also recommended. To be truly effective, mentoring programs must meet the needs of mentors and mentees; future evaluations should clarify their potential as an important tool for increasing diversity.