State Representative Robin Smith on Thursday congratulated the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Health Care Association for their ongoing efforts addressing Tennessee’s nursing shortage — especially in our rural counties.
Over the last few months, Chairman Smith has been working with officials from both the TBR and THCA to utilize dollars provided through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Act to support community colleges as they create new pathways for our next generation of nurses and medical professionals.
Recently, Dyersburg State Community College received $1 million in GIVE funding to create a certified nursing assistant (CNA) to bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program in partnership with area high schools and universities so nursing students can advance more quickly in their careers and help better serve Tennessee’s aging population.
Dyersburg State will offer a registered nurse (RN) program and students will be encouraged by their advisors and counselors to pursue their BSN, which will be awarded by the University of Tennessee at Martin and the University of Memphis. Chairman Smith is hopeful additional schools — including Chattanooga State — will also utilize these funds to create similar programs for aspiring nursing professionals.
“Congratulations to the TBR and THCA for their partnership that has led to funding being used to address a critical shortage that directly impacts Tennessee patients,” said Chairman Smith. “As a former nurse and Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I was honored to be a part of ongoing discussions in support of our nursing students and their education and training, and I will never stop fighting for them.”
“I am extremely thankful to Chairman Smith, Governor Lee and the TBR for their innovation and efforts to help address staffing shortages within our nursing industry,” said Reina Reddish, THCA director of government affairs. “Because of significant retirement numbers among our current Registered Nursing (RN) population, and a growing number of elderly citizens, we must continue to find new ways we can help students advance through education and training opportunities so they can fill gaps at facilities across this state. These funds will help us begin to accomplish this goal.”
“We’re grateful to Chairman Smith, Gov. Lee and the General Assembly for the support they’ve provided as our colleges seek to address the nursing shortage,” said TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “As a nurse, Chairman Smith knows how very important this work is for helping to deliver health care to Tennesseans who need it and we appreciate her taking the lead on this.”
"Established with passage of House Bill 949 earlier this year, the GIVE prioritizes learning opportunities in our rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide through a $25 million investment," officials said.