June 14, 2024

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, a shortage of nurses and other health care workers had already plagued Tennessee. The shortage worsened as the population grew and more people had reached retirement age and required more care.

During and after the pandemic, a mass exodus of health care workers ensued as one in four health care positions turned over. Too many were overwhelmed by too many demanding patients and incidents of harassment.

Roane State President Chris Whaley tells the League of Women Voters recently about the planned Knox Regional Health Science Education and Simulation Center, which will fight against the shortage of health care workers in Tennessee.

Some became travel nurses and left the state for a series of higher paying jobs. Other health care workers learned they could earn higher pay at certain fast-food restaurants.

Roane State Community College, which serves 10 East Tennessee counties with its main and branch campuses, is known statewide for its health science programs for training registered nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapy assistants, paramedics and other emergency medical services workers.

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