Faculty & Staff Directory

Thompson Forbes, PhD, MSN, NE-BC

Assistant Professor
Nursing Science
Office: 2134 Health Sciences Building
Phone: (252) 744-6362

Dr. Thompson Forbes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing Science.  Dr. Forbes's scholarship is focused on improving quality of care and patient safety delivered to patients with dementia using data science approaches and big data.  His long-term research objective is to understand the behavioral and psychological factors that increase risk for pressure injuries/ulcers among the various dementia severity levels and develop interventions to meet those specific needs. Dr. Forbes's interest with big data began during his clinical and administrative experience.  Dr. Forbes came to ECU after 10 years in various leadership roles within the Vidant Health system. During his time at Vidant Health, he led medication reconciliation, bundled payment analyses, and workforce improvement projects using big data from the electronic medical record, reimbursement claims, and human resources databases to create and operationalize improvements. Dr. Forbes has experience with qualitative methods. Dr. Forbes's dissertation was a grounded theory study to understand resident physicians value of nursing communication about patient care.  He is currently part of qualitative studies to understand nurses perspectives of responses to patient error events in an academic medical center and another to understand the biopsychosocial factors contributing to readmissions among DKA patients.  He is also working with Vidant Health to develop a research collaboration focused on using data science techniques to understand and improve population health outcomes in eastern North Carolina. 



Research Interests

Data Science

Quality and Patient Safety

Nurse-Physician Communication

Blog/Twitter/Facebook links


Referred Articles/Papers

Forbes, T.H. (2014). Making the case for the nurse as the leader of care coordination. Nursing Forum.49(3),167-170.

Forbes, T.H., Osborne, K.C., Hartsell, K.C., & Wall, B. (2014). Quantifying efficiency: One academic medical center’s commitment to improving patient flow. Nursing Management, 45(7),18-24.

Book Chapters

Books and Monographs

Non-Refereed Articles/Papers


Expanding and Enhancing Leadership Opportunities for Undergraduate Nursing Students.

(funded by ECU's BB&T Center for Leadership Development)

08/2017 to 07/2018

This grant supports undergraduate nursing student leadership development within the classroom.  Strategies include inviting nurse leaders to speak with students, presentation skill development, and active application of leadership strategies to enhance nursing's role in patient decision making.  

Refereed Presentations

Forbes, T.H. (2017, October). A grounded theory study to understand nurse and resident physician communication dynamics. Poster presented at the 2017 Sigma Theta Tau Biennium Rising Stars of Research Session.

Forbes, T.H., Larson, K., Scott, E., Garrison, H. (2017, March). Resident Physician – Nurse Relational Ties and Communication Using Grounded Theory.  Poster presented at the 2017 National Academies of Practice Annual Meeting.

Forbes, T., Cato, K. (2018, June). Understanding the research question for data science. Podium presentation at the Big Data Nursing Knowledge Conference, University of Minnesota.

Forbes, T., Lekan, D. (2018, June). Data science deployment and clinical decision support implementation. Podium presentation at the Big Data Nursing Knowledge Conference, University of Minnesota.

Tyndall, D., Avery, J., Forbes, T., Powell, S. (2018, January). Writing Accountability Groups (WAGs): Increasing PhD Student Scholarship by “Wagging”. Poster presented at the 2018 AACN Doctoral Education Conference.


Non-Referred Presentations

Cutruzzula, J. F., Forbes, T. H., Wall, B. (2014, October). Capacity management: Clinical operations predicting discharges and improving patient throughput.  Poster presented at the 2014 Health Informatics Career and Internship Fair/Symposium, Greenville, NC.

Forbes, T.H. (2013, February).  Relationship between registered nurses’ characteristics,    perceptions of knowledge and attitudes of pain management, and patient satisfaction scores. Poster presented at the 22nd Annual Collaborative Research Day, Greenville, NC.

Invited Presentations

Forbes, T.H. (2017, November 15). Communication and collaboration: The importance of nurses and physician relationships in leading patient care [Webinar]. In the East Carolina Consortium for Nursing Leadership Emerging Leaders Webinar Series.


Special Projects/Faculty Development

Research Activities

Courses Taught

Graduate Courses

NURS 6083 Healthcare, Finance and Economics

Undergraduate Courses

NURS 4140 Research in Nursing

NURS 4150 Nursing Leadership

NURS 4511 Clinical Capstone

Dissertation Committees

DNP Project Committees

Special Assignments/Faculty Development

Honors and Awards

BB&T Faculty Leadership Scholar Fellowship - Spring 2018

Harvard Business School Value-Based Health Care Delivery Institute - 2017

AACN Nurse in Washington Internship Scholarship - 2011