By Lyndee Johns
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter.
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
None of these famous mentor/mentee relationships can hold up to the partnership between faculty member Dr. Janelle Macintosh and fifth-semester nursing student Steven Roundy.
Macintosh has been mentoring padawans—I mean, students—ever since she first started teaching at BYU in 2011. “Students are the best part of teaching,” she says. “I love engaging with them and helping them discover more about themselves and do hard things.”
Roundy met Macintosh at an event where professors came to describe their research projects. “And they talked about mentored learning, and I was looking for a professor to research with because I wanted to jump in,” says Roundy. “And I was just looking for someone that I thought would be fun to do research with and whose topic I was interested in, and Janelle was right along the same lines. She was super energetic, and she was researching immunization.”
Working together since January 2019, Macintosh and Roundy have gathered a lot of valuable data about how the nursing program influences student attitudes towards immunization. Macintosh and Roundy’s project is largely survey-based. Nursing students receive a survey about their opinions towards immunization before they begin the nursing program, before the semester about immunizations, and after the semester on immunizations.
The front end of the project also involved a lot of research into previous immunization surveys and compiling questions to use in the project. “[Steven] has spent many hours poring over journal articles and working on learning about how to conduct research and about immunizations,” Macintosh says.
Roundy says that while the research took a lot of time, it was “cool to see what was already out there, and to see the difference between like medical students’ knowledge versus nursing knowledge versus pharmacists’ knowledge.”
Roundy and Macintosh have enjoyed their time working together.
“[Janelle] could write a Mentor Research for Dummies book if there needed to be one,” says Roundy.
“Steven is a great student, and he is anxiously engaged in learning, and, from the beginning, has been interested in learning more about the research process,” says Macintosh.
In April, Roundy and Macintosh will present their research at the Western Institute of Nursing Conference in Portland, Oregon. But they don’t plan to stop there.
“We will use the findings of this study as part of an evaluation of how well students are retaining knowledge regarding immunizations and how to adjust classes/curriculum to enhance student learning,” says Macintosh.
Roundy believes that it is very important for nursing students to be knowledgeable about immunizations. “If our health professionals aren’t knowledgeable and behind immunizations, then it’ll just bleed through to the people . . . and they’ll sense the uncertainty in their healthcare professional.”
Through this experience, a big takeaway for Roundy has been that research isn’t restricted to just the professionals. “[Research] can be fun and it can be something that anyone just curious can do—anybody who has a question and really wants to know the answer.”
Roundy is very grateful for Macintosh’s willingness to train him, and he plans to pay the effort forward in his future career.
“Whatever I do, I want to be able to put aside time to invest in other people trying to learn new things in life and find their place.”