Tonya Rountree

Tonya Rountree with diabetes education material.

Tonya Rountree uses visual aids during her online diabetes education class.

Tonya Rountree, (MSN-Executive Leadership ‘20) is clinical manager for the Wound Healing Center & Limb Preservation Clinic at Methodist North Hospital. She teaches diabetes education and because of the pandemic, moved the classes online.

The pandemic has provided challenges for us, but I think that has encouraged healthcare workers to think differently and to present some unique ways to provide good quality patient care. How we interact with our patients has not changed, we have just had to change the protective equipment we wear when interacting face to face with our patients. In my “office duties,” there are a lot of virtual meetings I must attend. Everything is communicated virtually or through phone calls. But we have all been resilient and embraced these changes so that we can continue to provide good quality care to our patients.

As you know there is still a lot of research being done on COVID, but we do know that people with underlying conditions like diabetes are more vulnerable to the disease. Knowing that, we felt it was more important than ever to try and get this education out there to anyone who is interested.

People with diabetes are vulnerable, not only to COVID, but many other conditions such as, hypertension, heart disease, Peripheral Arterial Disease, and slow or non-healing wounds to name a few. According to the ADA “approximately 656,000 people in TN have diabetes, approximately 158,000 of those people have diabetes and do not know it,  approximately 1.7 million people in TN have pre-diabetes and approximately 39,000 people in TN are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year” (Take a Closer Look: Statistics by State, ADA, These classes are not only for people who have diabetes, these classes are for anyone that wants to know more about diabetes. If they have a family member, friend or just want to know more about controlling the disease they should join our classes.

(When classes moved online because of COVID concerns) We initially decided to use Zoom because it is the virtual program that I am most familiar with using. We are exploring a few other options for future classes. Currently the Director of Community Outreach is personally calling each person that has signed up. He is answering questions they may have about the Zoom application. He also sent out a tutorial via e-mail prior to the class. So far, we have not had issues with people not having access. This was one of our original concerns when we discussed trying a virtual class, but really felt that it was important to try it and see what the response would be from our community.

So far, we’ve received great feedback from the participants. If anyone is interested in these classes, they can sign up at: or call: 901-516-5484.