School of Nursing instructor reappointed to state board of practical nurse examiners


Courtesy of Barbara Gibbs

Barbara Gibbs is an instructor for the university’s School of Nursing. She has been reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners and will serve as a registered nurse representing the Louisiana State Nurses Association.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has recently announced multiple appointments to the Louisiana boards and commissions on Jan. 15. One of those appointments was School of Nursing instructor Barbara Gibbs.

Gibbs has been reappointed to the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners and will serve as a registered nurse representing the Louisiana State Nurses Association. This is her second appointment to the LSBPNE and will last six years.

The LSBPNE is made up of 16 members, consisting of six licensed practical nurses, two registered nurses, four physicians and one consumer member.

According to the LSBPNE website, its mission is “to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public by providing reasonable assurance that persons who practice practical nursing are competent, ethical practitioners with the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to the title and role of the licensed practical nurse.”

Gibbs discussed the role of a board member and how it is beneficial to patients.

“As board members, we meet to discuss the 50 plus case hearings we have read and decide to accept or amend the hearing officers’ renderings on disciplinary actions. The board is first and foremost an advocate for the patients in the state of Louisiana,” Gibbs explained.

Other responsibilities of the LSBPNE are enforcing laws regarding the practice of practical nursing and reading disciplinary hearings of nurses who have not followed those laws pertaining to their practice.

Due to COVID-19, the board has faced many challenges, and the question of clinical placements for nursing students has caused concern.

“Many hospitals and nursing homes ceased to allow students to attend clinical practice. Schools of Nursing, including our own at SLU, scrambled to work with simulation and find new ways to attain the required clinical hours needed. This has not been ideal, and both the LSBN (RN board) and LSBPNE (LPN board) have worked with schools allowing some simulation and communicated with facilities to allow students to return to the clinical sites as they are doing so much in patient care. Simulation cannot entirely replace training at the patient’s bedside,” Gibbs stated.

As an instructor for the School of Nursing at Southeastern, Gibbs believed that her experience of teaching has made her more prepared for a position on the board.

“Teaching, along with my clinical practice experience, has prepared me for the board. I worked as a staff RN in med/surg, home health, endoscopy and as a preceptor/charge nurse. I realized I loved teaching and went on to teach LPN courses at NTCC while obtaining my master’s degree in nursing education upon which I began as an instructor here at SLU,” Gibbs said.

Along with being an instructor, Gibbs is also a nurse and feels grateful to be both.

“When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse but could not decide. I started my college career in education. I did not finish that but got married and had a family. I worked for my husband in his businesses. When he sold that, I went back as a non-traditional student but this time as a nursing major. Somewhere along the path in my journey, God saw fit to make me both, a teacher and a nurse,” Gibbs described.