Featuring David Provost, MA, CST, Surgical Technology Department Chair and Program Director, Pikes Peak Community College
At Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, CO, David Provost, MA, CST, surgical technology department chair and program director, has developed a mentorship program where his first cohort of students, who are in clinicals, mentor the incoming cohort.
ARC/STSA spoke to Provost about his inspiration for the program and how it has benefitted the department. Plus, hear from mentors and mentees about how the program helped boost their confidence.
What inspired the mentorship program? I started the program because I considered my struggles when going through various programs in the past and reflected on what could have helped me foresee these challenges. The dream would have been to have a mentor that had just gone through what I was about to undergo. Luckily for our students, there was a class in their clinical phase of the program, while the second cohort was in their first semester — that dream could become a reality.
So far we’ve had two cohorts of 25 students participating in the program. I have yet to hear anything but praise for the mentor program, so I think it is here to stay!
How often do mentors and mentees interact?
The interaction with the mentor/mentee is completely up to the pair, with no requirement to meet at certain times. What is imperative is that each of them are interested in being a mentor or mentee. So far, we have had very successful groupings and all have wanted to be in the program.
How do students benefit from this relationship?
The benefits for the mentees seem to be really strong so far. Instead of starting from square one, new students can lean on a prior cohort with recent knowledge of what it’s like to go through the program. They can share their successes and fears and get help from someone who was in their place recently.
It really seems to be a good experience for mentors, too. As some of my students have put it, “the best way to learn is to teach.” I have seen many of our mentors blossom in their knowledge as they work with their mentees.
What are some trends you’ve noticed from this program?
I have noticed a couple of trends at this point. The first is that each cohort definitely has some natural talent in wanting to teach others and help grow our future surgical technologists. We also have some students who are hesitant to break away from self-study, even when they have the opportunity to pursue a partnership in their learning. Luckily, most of our students have taken to the mentorship program and have attained a significant benefit from it.
Additionally, I have noticed that most of our students are more willing to work in peer groups during study sessions and often will invite their mentor as a prior-class subject matter expert.
Do you think the mentorship system contributed to your program’s 100% pass rate?
Most definitely! The ability for the mentors to once again cover past material with their mentees has reinforced the material needed for CST certification and hands-on skill sets while working in their career field.
Plus: Read a Dynamic Duo’s Perspective on Mentoring
Kim Trobee, Student Mentor
“When I was asked to mentor students in the new class at Pikes Peak Community College, I was a little hesitant. I was facing my clinical rotation and worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to be of much help. It did take a little extra time, but I’m so glad I invested in it! My mentees were so eager to learn and I found myself learning more and more about surgical technology as I helped them practice and study. Being able to share my experiences in the operating room proved to be invaluable — for all of us. The mentor program is such a fantastic idea and one of the strengths of surgical technology at Pikes Peak!” —Kim Trobee, student mentor
Michael Guzman, Student Mentee
“As part of the Pikes Peak Community College Surgical Technology Program, Kim Trobee was assigned as my mentor. She was amazing. Kim held study sessions with my classmates and me, helped us practice gowning and gloving, answered all of our questions and pushed us to get better every day. The mentor program has been so beneficial for our class, allowing us to get advice and tips on how to succeed in the program from those who have already been there.” —Michael Guzman, student mentee