Four decades of dedication and influencing lives
While change is difficult for many, change is a big part of what keeps Linda Pettersen, Minot State University assistant professor of nursing, motivated and dedicated to her profession, which she holds near to her heart.
"Linda has an unbelievable dedication to every student, Minot State University and the nursing profession," said Nicola Roed, Department of Nursing chair. "She is always willing to share and teach others, not just students or colleagues, but all in the nursing profession. That is a huge reflection of who she is and her dedication."
Pettersen was a member of the first graduating class in Minot State Collegeís nursing program, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in 1973. Following graduation, she worked at St. Josephís Hospital as a staff nurse, but Minot State was calling her back. More specifically, Sister Mabel Meng, MSCís first director of nursing, encouraged Pettersen to come back and teach.
Pettersen has not only witnessed, but been a part of, many changes in the nursing program since its inception. Her career in higher education started with making student handouts on the ditto machine and hiring models to act as patients, to state-of-the-art clinical simulation experiences for nursing students and online distance education.
"All of the changes in the nursing program over the years are a big part of what has kept me here. There is always something new and different," Pettersen said. "Itís been a great opportunity to teach online. While I miss the direct contact and face to face discussions with the RNs, online education can also be effective."
Pettersen spent 28 years engaged in outreach and distance education to licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. In the late 1980s, delivery methods included taking courses to local communities, such as Williston and Rugby. Pettersen would pack her bags and hit the road, often on a Friday evening, to teach classes.
From the beginning, Pettersen has been heavily involved in the accreditation process. She has been an active participant and charter member of the local chapter of the nursing honor society and served as Department of Nursing chair for nine years.
Evolution of the program was not the only driving force keeping Pettersen at MSU for the past 40 years. Seeing the professional development of graduates has always been an important factor.
"We have top notch grads who are really doing great work, and I am just so proud of them. And to think that I have in some way affected each student, directly or indirectly, and you think of all the people they have touched and impacted, itís a pretty awesome profession to be a part of," Pettersen said. "Our conversation is always about advocacy and how we can help to improve the quality of life for people. And to work with a top notch department chair and colleagues is amazing. I get to work and interact with so many fantastic, fascinating people in so many different disciplines. Itís an amazing experience."