Seeing COVID-19 from another medical perspective

Lauren Tolbert Photo

Lauren Tolbert knows that social distancing and isolation creates more obstacles in recovery.

Winston-Salem, N.C. When Lauren Tolbert, licensed practical nurse decided to go to nursing school at Forsyth Tech, it was an inner calling for her. She wanted to work specifically with alcohol and chemically dependent patients because she can relate to what they are going through. She has seen addiction impact many of the lives around her including herself. February 20, 2020 marked her sixth anniversary of being clean.

Now during COVID-19, she’s serving on the front lines at the Addiction Recovery Care Association (ARCA) in Winston-Salem. For alcohol and chemically-dependent individuals who count on social support for their physical, mental and emotional recovery, the isolation effects of COVID-19 can be extremely difficult. The staff at ARCA have had to make several changes that limit their personal interaction during COVID-19.

“We are taking all the recommended precautions to observe social distancing in the dining hall and classrooms, wearing masks, using proper handwashing protocols and taking staff temperatures before entering the facility“ said Lauren Tolbert, licensed practical nurse.
Tolbert said, “It’s hard on patients since this is the first time that many of them have sought help for substance use disorders. They are tasked with learning to use the 12-step program, while focusing on other substance use dependency issues. Most treatment facilities have stopped face-to-face meetings and have expanded their telehealth capacity to include virtual meetings online. COVID-19 has resulted in restricted protocols that excludes visitation, family groups and drop-offs.”

“I love what I do and it’s rewarding to feel that I am making a difference as a nurse,” said Tolbert. “COVID-19 is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before especially since you don’t know who might be carrying the virus. The safety recommendations are common sense. Handwashing is what we should always do to protect ourselves from germs.”

Before becoming a nurse, Tolbert took care of her father, a two-time cancer survivor, while undergoing radiation, while she was going to school fulltime. Tolbert was also an Emergency Medical Technician for three years and then a Certified Nursing Assistant for three years. Yet, Tolbert she had always wanted to be a nurse. She graduated from the Paul M. Wiles School of Nursing at Forsyth Technical Community College in 2018.

“I feel that my experiences as an EMT and a CNA prepared me well for nursing school,” Tolbert said. “The instructors at Forsyth Tech were great and gave us everything we needed for success. It was difficult, but if you show up on time and follow what you are supposed to do, you will succeed. You have to love what you do and have your heart in it, and that’s how I feel about nursing.”

Angie Lundgren, department chair of the practical nursing program at Forsyth Tech said, “Lauren is a great example of how Forsyth Tech can change people’s lives. She was an excellent student, determined to graduate and become a nurse despite her past. Lauren is in a nursing position that is a true passion for her. She knows what the patients have been through and she is there to help them recover each and every day.”

At Forsyth Tech, the Practical Nursing curriculum provides knowledge and skills to integrate safety and quality into nursing care to meet the needs of the holistic individual which impact health, quality of life, and achievement of potential.
Course work includes and builds upon the domains of healthcare, nursing practice, and the holistic individual. Content emphasizes safe, individualized nursing care and participation in the interdisciplinary team while employing evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and informatics.
The Forsyth Technical Community College Associate Degree in Nursing and Practical Nursing diploma programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA) located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037, 202-909-2526.

Triad community college releases fall semester instruction plan

Forsyth Tech Community College will begin the fall semester with an instruction strategy that includes sessions held in person, online and a combination of both. As Covid-19 mitigation efforts continue, FTCC will offer students course delivery options in a variety of formats for the semester that begins Aug. 17 and concludes Dec. 9.

Forsyth Tech Program Helps Prepare Low-Income Students for College

A program to prepare under-served students for college has partnered with Forsyth Tech to advance its mission to end the cycle of poverty.
“College Lift” places students from low-income families into intensive, hands-on math, science, and language arts courses on campus, starting in sixth grade right up through high school.
Creator Logan Philon started the program after seeing in a 2015 Harvard Study that Winston-Salem was one of the hardest places in the nation to escape poverty if you’re born into it.

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Congratulations to Dr. Linda Latham

Linda Latham

Linda Latham, dean of Health Technologies, has completed the work to receive her doctorate of education in Higher Education Executive Leadership from Wingate University in Wingate, N.C. For three years until this past March when everything went online, she commuted every Saturday to Wingate with no summers off.

Her inspiration to pursue her doctorate was developed when she saw Wingate University at the North Carolina Community College System office conference. She saw their brochures and thought the topics were relevant to being a new dean, so she started the program.

The title of her dissertation was “The Effect of Mandatory Academic Advising on Community College Completion Rates.”

“It was challenging, but looking back it was exciting to see, with data analysis, how very important required advising can be,” said Latham.

She studied the advising model that Forsyth Tech established in 2015 for college transfer students and their completion rates. Latham also studied the differences in mandatory advising for minority students and their completion rates. She found a significant improvement in completion rates in both the college transfer cohort as well as in the URM (underrepresented minority) students’ completion rates after the mandatory advising program began.

Latham is now a published author as well. “We also had the opportunity to contribute to a book “Student Focused Learning: Higher Education in an Exponential Digital Era edited by Dr. Darrel Staat, Coordinator, Higher Education Executive Leadership Program/Assistant Professor, Graduate Education at Wingate.” said Latham. “Each of the seven students in my cohort wrote a chapter and mine was Concept-Based Education.”

Dr. Latham has been at Forsyth Tech for 16 years, beginning as an adjunct clinical instructor in nursing, moving into increasing roles of responsibility as lead instructor, program coordinator, department chair, director and was hired as dean three and a half years ago.

“I’m very pleased with our whole Health Technologies division and how we take people where they are and place them in life-changing careers,” said Latham. “We are one of the largest health technologies undergraduate programs in the state, and of course I think, the best.”

Dr. Latham received her undergraduate degree in nursing at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, N.C., now named Barton College. She holds two master’s degrees; she received a master’s of arts in adult education from East Carolina University and a master’s of science in nursing education from Western Carolina University.