Haleigh and Lindsey Gibson are twin sisters from Curlew, Washington. They both graduated from the Washington State University College of Nursing and both work in labor and delivery at Spokane hospitals.
“Very twinsy of us,” says Haleigh, laughing.
Similar, yes, but the paths they took to nursing and what they like about it are an example of the wide range of possibilities in a nursing career.
Lindsey targeted nursing from the start of college.
“The main deciding factor for me was how versatile the degree is,” she says. “There are so many options, different kinds of shifts, different jobs.”
Haleigh decided to go to nursing school “at the last second.” She had taken all the prerequisites for another health science-related degree, was accepted into the program and even paid a deposit. “I wasn’t excited about it,” she says. “I thought, if I’m going to do this as a career, I probably should be excited about it.”
She looked at nursing, decided it offered pluses that the other career path didn’t, and took extra courses to prepare her to apply to the WSU College of Nursing. She graduated a semester behind her sister in 2019.
Both Gibsons were nurse techs during nursing school – aides who work under the supervision of registered nurses. But Lindsey’s experience was in labor and delivery in an urban hospital in Spokane, while Haleigh worked in just about every unit in a small rural hospital in Colville.
They got scholarships through the College of Nursing and through external sources; with that support, and by working as nurse techs, they graduated from nursing school debt-free.
Though their current jobs seem the same, they show how varied the nursing experience can be.
Haleigh works at Providence Holy Family Hospital’s Family Maternity Center, where patients are in one room for labor, delivery, recovery and post-partum care. She’s sometimes with a patient throughout.
“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on – bonding, newborn screenings, helping with breastfeeding,” she says. “All the doctors are gone, it’s just you guys. It’s really an honor to be there for them.”
Lindsey, on the other hand, works in the labor and delivery unit at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. She appreciates the personal care she’s able to provide patients, but she also likes the fast pace of a high-risk pregnancy center.
“It’s taught me a lot about OB emergencies,” she says. “Every labor is different, it’s always a new challenge. It keeps me on my toes.”
As for the future, they’ve talked about teaching or nursing leadership down the road.
“The options are endless,” Lindsey says.
–Story by Addy Hatch