The dedication of our doctors, nurses and health care professionals is nothing short of heroic. They are saving lives, easing pain, and creating a better future for Arkansas. These individuals continue to come into work every day, despite the risks they face.

During this season of thanksgiving, we want to send a special thank you to individuals on the front lines. More than 80,000 health care practitioners and technical health care workers call Arkansas home. And it continues to be a growing industry. The 2020 Arkansas Labor and Economic Report listed registered nurses, nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, and medical assistants as some of the state’s top in-demand occupations.

The Governor recently created the COVID-19 Winter Task Force and appointed 19 physicians, state officials, and health care executives to advise him as to the needs of the medical community during this time. One of the challenges hospitals face right now is sufficient staffing. In an effort to address that challenge, the state will be expediting the licensure process for more than 1,000 graduating nursing students.

While a state task force continues to find ways to meet the needs of frontline workers, there are ways all of us can help. If you have a friend or neighbor who works in health care, offer to pick up groceries or deliver a meal. Many health care workers are being asked to take on extra hours, so a little help at home could go a long way.

The best way we can support our health care workers now is to do our part. By staying home when possible, practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask in public, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep the virus from overwhelming our health care providers.

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