The Mid-South region and NI partner organizations and institutions are challenged with providing comprehensive health education and services to a widely diverse, poverty-ridden community and with addressing the health disparities found among these residents. In addition, national indicators measuring health status finds the health risk factors and health behaviors for Tennessee residents to be high compared to the national average. While this is true for all Tennessee residents, the state is often referred to as three unique divisions of west, middle, and east. The health status and health disparities are of particular concern for West Tennessee and specifically of Shelby County and the surrounding Mississippi Delta area:
In addition to the challenges of health disparities and poor health outcomes, the presence of a national nursing shortage has a significant impact for the healthcare of the country. In particular, the significance of the nursing shortage for Tennessee currently and projected to 2020 ranks consistently among the highest for all states. According to reports from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, data review demonstrates that in 2005 Tennessee only met 77% of the demand for RNs and had the second worse supply/demand disproportion among all states. Projected data continues to be dismal. Projected supply meets only 53% of the 2020 demand. Tennessee continues to be among the worst states, ranking fifth, sixth, and seventh worst for 2010, 2015, and 2020 respectively. This shortage is equivalent to a need for 35,300 registered nurses http://www.centerfornursing.org/nursemanpower/index.html. Thus, Tennessee is and will continue to be one of the most severely affected states by the continuing national nursing shortage.
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