‘Intrusive’ advisers focus on nursing students’ mental health


Photo courtesy of Tanesha Meade

Nursing students have advisers who focus on their mental health and proactively check up on them throughout the semester. Shown, AACC nursing staff pose for a group photo.

Zack Buster, Editor-in-Chief

The advisers in the nursing school have become intrusive—at least that’s what they hope.

Faculty members who double as advisers this semester began checking in with students about their mental health and personal struggles.

Almost 120 AACC nursing students have access to what nursing faculty are calling “intrusive advising.”

Nursing Assistant Dean Scott Olden said the purpose of the program is to preemptively address “any challenges in students’ success … [that] would hinder that student from being successful.”

Olden said the college wants to “proactively” help students “and not wait until there’s a situation in which a student has done very poorly” because of an issue “that we could have potentially averted using the resources that the college has.”

The pilot program started this semester with a survey faculty gave to students that asked questions about various obstacles that could affect their schooling—such as family issues, test anxiety and mental health.

Olden said the resource is important for student retention because of the “high stakes and very demanding” nature of the nursing program. He added it’s important for the advisers to “build relationships” with the students.

First-year nursing student Thais Gilligan described the advisers as “mentors [who] work individually with you … if you’re having problems, or if you’re struggling in nursing school.”

“Last week, I had an issue with my son, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, how am I going to go to school now?’” Gilligan said. Then, Gilligan said, the mentor told her ,“‘When the hard time comes, remember your purpose for being here [and] where you want to be in the future. … It was really helpful.”

First-year nursing student Lily Pastor agreed, saying the program “could be helpful” because nursing “is a lot of work and [involves] stressful stuff.”