JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — ETSU’s College of Nursing had its nursing convocation and pinning ceremony on Friday.

Nearly 350 nursing graduates will be entering the workforce during a nationwide staffing shortage.

Ashley Osterman, who is graduating with her master’s degree, works as a registered nurse.

“I’m seeing a lot of nurses leave health care,” said Osterman. “Just exhaustion, overworked I think we’re just understaffed.”

Although Osterman has witnessed the issue at hand she does believe it is improving.

“We’re definitely seeing things settle in a little bit more,” said Osterman. “Staffing ratios are definitely starting to improve as far as that’s concerned. I do think that it is slowly getting back to where we would like to see it.”

“When you feel overworked, understaffed, not feeling like you are providing the best for your patients, people will leave,” said Osterman. “I think that bringing more nurses into this community is going to make a huge difference.”

The staffing shortage is a nation-wide issue but rural areas like East Tennessee makes the issue more prominent.

Lisa Haddad, associate dean of graduate programs, says getting students into the workforce is one solution to the issue.

“I think it’s going to really help our nursing shortage that we have in the area,” said Haddad. “It’s a huge importance for them to graduate and find those jobs.”