Photo of Nicole Tolbert

GHC nursing instructor creates contests for SkillsUSA competition

Nicole Tolbert, an Associate Professor of Nursing at Georgia Highlands College (GHC), takes her love of education outside of the classroom to help Alabama high school students participate in SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers and industry.

Through her work with the organization, Tolbert created the Medical Terminology Test, Healthcare Knowledge Bowl Test and Basic Healthcare Skills Contest for participating high school students.

A student in her Basic Healthcare Skills contest went on to win the 2022 National SkillsUSA conference, the first national winner for healthcare for the state of Alabama.

“In the Basic Healthcare Skills test, students have to present a nursing skill, take a healthcare quiz, participate in an interview and wash their hands,” Tolbert said. “The students are judged and graded on their presentations, test, skills and interview.”

Medical Terminology tests students on terms and abbreviations associated with the healthcare field, and in the Healthcare Knowledge bowl, a group of four students compete with other teams to answer questions related to healthcare.

Tolbert started a SkillsUSA chapter several years ago when she was serving as a high school teacher and has stayed active with the organization. She said the organization helps to build leadership skills in participants and opens the door toward employment.

“I help participate with the SkillsUSA competition in Alabama to give students interested in the healthcare field an opportunity to obtain scholarships and improve their presentation, interview and overall healthcare skills used within the profession,” Tolbert said. “I continue to participate in this organization since being at GHC because it is something that I feel I can give back to my community and upcoming student nurses.”

To learn more about the nursing program and the School of Health Sciences, visit