CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — On Friday, May 14, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will honor more than 350 Chattanooga-area nurses as part of the company’s observance of National Nurses Week, a celebration of the profession’s contribution to the health of communities across the country.

The event, titled “Nurses Are Our Heroes,” is scheduled to begin at noon at the Chattanoogan Conference Center, where BlueCross President and CEO Vicky Gregg and Steve Byrum, PhD., of the Byrum Consulting Group, will address the attendees.

“Predicted national and statewide nursing shortages threaten to undermine the quality of health care service we receive,” Gregg said. “That’s why efforts to recognize and recruit quality nurses are important to the entire health care system. At BlueCross our dedicated nurses offer an invaluable resource to our millions of members. Their health counseling, care coordination and case management skills not only bring quality care to our members but also provide them peace of mind.”

Threats of a severe statewide nursing shortage bring added significance to this year’s observance of National Nurses Week.

According to the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, the state will experience a shortage of nearly 9,500 registered nurses by the year 2020.

In addition, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration estimates that by 2020 Tennessee will face a severe nursing shortage of 49 percent, compared to a 29 percent national shortfall.

The BlueCross nursing observance will honor the work of the company’s 294 registered nurses as well as highlight the benefits of a nursing career with BlueCross.

Area nurses interested in attending the appreciation luncheon and learning more about employment opportunities at BlueCross should RSVP to (423) 535-3075. Space is limited for this free event, so reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.