ACU Online’s BSN to DNP and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program director, Dr. Linda Gibson has dedicated her life to the field of nursing. From tending to patients in the hospital to educating the next generation of healthcare heroes, Dr. Gibson brings rich knowledge and leadership to what she terms “a life-long profession.” Read more to learn about her journey in nursing and how she’s using her experiences to shape and change the lives of others.
In The Field
Linda began her education in healthcare at Red Lake Community College in Ina, IL, where she became a licensed practical nurse. In 1983, she got her associate degree in nursing and became a registered nurse (RN) at Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL. From there, she received her master’s in psychiatric/mental health nursing and teaching/curriculum in 1994 from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR. She completed her RN to BSN at Harding University in Searcy, AR, in 1996. Dr. Gibson went back to school in 2010 at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, UT, where she earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Throughout her education, Linda worked at local hospitals in various specialties, including labor and delivery, dermatology, pulmonary, psychiatry, the ICU and more. After becoming an RN, Dr. Gibson spent five years at a veterans affairs hospital in Little Rock, AR where she developed a passion for helping those who had served in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. After taking a few years off in the field to teach advanced med-search and psychiatry, Linda returned to the veterans’ hospital as a nurse practitioner in the acute psych units, where she tended to patients experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the war in Vietnam. “It was very trying work, but I found psych mental health nursing to be a fulfilling role and became very compassionate towards my patients and their stories,” Linda recalled.
Helping Students Succeed
Once her work in psychiatry units was completed, Dr. Gibson dedicated the rest of her career to teaching in the classroom and connecting one-on-one with students. Her experience spans over 30 years, serving as an assistant professor for nine years at Harding University, chair of the nursing program at Freed-Hardeman University for six years, and associate professor at Tennessee State University for almost eight years. She joined ACU Online’s faculty in 2017 as an assistant professor and was named program director for the BSN to DNP and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in 2020. “Through teaching, I found that I can touch even more lives than I was through nursing because I’m able to touch the lives of my student’s patients,” Linda explained. “I feel like I’ve been able to give back to my nursing profession by being in the classroom.”
As program director, Linda not only impacts the lives of students and their patients, but the faculty she mentors on a daily basis. When creating her team of educators, Dr. Gibson looks for strong faculty who give quality feedback through their instruction and makes students feel connected to the ACU family. Linda is a reflection of those same values and is always looking for opportunities to help her team grow. “I see my role as mentoring those who want to teach, who are teaching and who want to one day be directors themselves,” she said.
Whether in the classroom or leading the program as a whole, Linda’s favorite part of education is helping others reach lifelong dreams. Dr. Gibson believes that no matter the student’s degree level, they can achieve anything with perseverance. “It’s my job to be their cheerleader throughout the process,” Linda shared. “What better job could you have than helping other faithful Christians reach their maximum potential?”
Satisfaction + Service
One of the biggest blessings that comes with Linda’s job is the flexibility of getting to work remotely. Dr. Gibson leads her program from her home in Tennessee and believes the online structure is allowing students to succeed now more than ever. “These online programs take a lot of dedication and time management, but the rewards are numerous when you finish,” she remarked. “I want to help students reach the level in their careers where they’re able to get a lot of satisfaction out of touching other’s lives.”
Dr. Gibson has found that satisfaction herself. She views her role at ACU as one of scholarly service and enjoys being able to use the university’s Christian foundation to uplift her students through prayer, scripture and support. When she’s not serving students, she’s serving her children and grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys making memories with her family and loves to take road trips and sightseeing with friends.
Looking for the flexibility to learn online and gain a deeper knowledge of nursing from seasoned professionals like Dr. Gibson? Visit acu.edu/online or contact us at 855-219-7300 today.