Melanie Gibson

Nursing Technology

Student Spotlight
Portrait of Melanie Gibson at the Coshocton campus.

While she knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, Melanie Gibson hasn’t had a straight path to her dream position. Gibson is a currently pursuing her associate degree in nursing at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), but it wasn’t her first stop on her educational journey. 

Gibson received her first Associate of Applied science through College Credit Plus at a college in Canton. From there, she moved onto a four-year university and declared a chemistry major. Gibson’s original plan was to go to medical school after graduation. However, she quickly realized that both the school and program weren’t the right fit for her.

“It’s great for some people, but I just felt like it wasn’t for me,” Gibson says. A Coshocton native, she didn’t like being so far from home. “I’m a homebody, so it didn’t work for me.”

Changing professional and educational goals

She also had a change of perspective pertaining to her career goals. Gibson had her sights set on anesthesiology, but her original plan was to enroll in medical school and pursue her dreams on the doctorate level. However, an earlier experience job shadowing a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) made Gibson realize she wanted to be more hands on than most anesthesiologists are. “Ultimately, I came to the decision that [medical school] was no longer for me. I knew that with nursing you have so many opportunities and different routes to go. There was still a way to get to my end goal, just a different route.”  

She made the choice to pivot to nursing, and since her school didn’t offer a nursing program, COTC became a clear choice for her. “My mom already went here, and she loved it,” Gibson explains. 

Cost was also a factor in the choice. She was taking out personal loans to pay for her steep tuition each semester. “Here at COTC,” she says, “I’m able to pay for a majority of my schooling with the scholarship I received.” 

Gibson splits her time between the Coshocton and Newark campuses. When in Coshocton, she works as a student assistant. “It’s a really great work environment. I love the people that I work with here,” she enthuses. Gibson also works as a technician at Genesis Healthcare System in Zanesville.

A culture of support and encouragement 

Despite having some experience in the field, the nursing program was more challenging than Gibson anticipated at first. “There was just a lot of self-doubt. In high school, I was used to all As, and now I was getting Bs. I was still passing, but I wasn’t doing exceptional.” COTC faculty proved to be a great resource to Gibson in overcoming that self-doubt. Particularly Susan Cooperider, her pharmacology instructor. “Susan was constantly that little good reminder chirping in your ear. She was always very, very encouraging. She was like your personal cheerleader.” 

After graduating from the nursing program, Gibson will take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed and begin working as a registered nurse. She plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing while working, and then pursue further education to become a CRNA.

Advice for students

Gibson’s advice for prospective students is to “go for it. I know starting something new can be very scary and intimidating at first, but if you know for it’s something you want to do, don’t let anything hold you back.” She continues, “We do live a short life, unfortunately, and I think it’s way too short for you to not do something you’re going to love.” Gibson also encourages current students to “utilize the resources COTC offers, because they definitely offer a lot to help our students as much as possible.” 

When she’s not in class or working, Gibson likes to golf and spend quality time with her friends and family. “I’m an introvert, but I’m an extrovert to my people.”