Preceptor Spotlight: Susan Gibbs, ARNP
Dade City nurse practitioner Sue Gibbs understands how critical it is for nursing students to find good clinical opportunities.
That’s why as a preceptor, when Gibbs gets new students to mentor, she makes sure they have a nurturing environment where they can grow and become independent health care providers.
Gibbs is a nurse practitioner at Florida Medical Clinic, a rural outpost in eastern Pasco County where clinicians mostly see older adult patients. Gibbs earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from USF and has been mentoring nursing students for many years.
A great clinical experience shapes a student’s future nursing career, so she tries to impart the same lessons she learned from her mentors to share with her students. Gibbs said one of the biggest lessons is the value of educating patients.
“In other words, the contribution of the patient in maintaining their own health. Educating the patient is crucial. We don’t just write a prescription,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said she likes to lead by example. New students spend a lot of time shadowing her in the beginning, and after about two to three weeks, they feel comfortable seeing patients on their own.
Two of Gibbs’ recent nursing students believe Gibbs’ guidance was unparalleled.
Nursing student Nina Wadhwa said Gibbs serves as an outstanding ambassador for USF and her dedication exemplifies how the college’s rigorous program trains nurse practitioners.
“Sue Gibbs is one of those health care providers that you hope to emulate,” Wadhwa wrote. “She is patient and kind to both her students and patients.”
Wadhwa said Gibbs takes the time to explain the cases to her students and that commitment shows how she’s dedicated to creating a learning, clinical experience.
“Her ability to teach and explain in a manner that ‘clicks that light bulb on’ is unmatched. She has a natural ability to teach both her patients and her students. The care and compassion that Sue demonstrates with her patients is hard to even articulate,” Wadhwa said.
She added that Gibbs spends quality time with patients reviewing labs, conditions, and treatments in a way in which patients understand.
“In an age in which we are so focused on patient volumes to pay the bills, many providers don’t give the patients the time they deserve; Sue does so even if it means she is playing catch-up late in the day,” Wadhwa said.
Wadhwa said Gibbs is a constant source of inspiration and encourages her students to seek out knowledge — whether it’s through listening to health-related podcasts during the hour-long commute from Tampa to Dade City or enrolling in continuing education opportunities.
“Sue goes over and beyond her role for her students by challenging them to be better providers on a daily basis. For Sue, her role as a nurse practitioner is not just a job, it is a calling and both her patients and students are lucky she answered that call!” she said.
Fellow nursing student Rebecca Paffenroth echoed the same sentiments about her preceptorship with Gibbs.
“From the very first day that I met Sue, she welcomed me with open arms eager to teach at every opportunity possible. She is full of knowledge and loves to educate her patients as well through drawing and explaining the pathophysiology behind their disease process so that they can better understand,” she said.
Both students believe Gibbs expanded their knowledge of primary care and helped them become comfortable evaluating patients.
“She takes time with her patients to go over every lab result and answer their questions to the best of her ability. She is someone who I admire and aspire to be like once I am on my own as an NP in the near future,” Paffenroth said.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing