Roane State students give healthcare heroes a much-deserved break

A current student in Roane State’s massage therapy program, Donna Raby, provides a chair massage to a healthcare worker during the “100 Nurses” event at Methodist Medical Center.

UPPER CUMBERLAND – As frontline medical professionals continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Roane State Community College organized a special event to give some of our local healthcare heroes a break from their busy and often stressful work.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Roane State’s nursing program clinical students visited Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge to take part in the “100 Nurses” event. They filled in, supporting the professional nurses and other healthcare providers so they could rest and get brief chair massages.

Asia Troupe, Roane State massage therapy student, helps during the “100 Nurses” event at Methodist Medical Center.

At least 16 volunteers – including current students, alumni of the community college’s massage therapy program and licensed massage therapists – were stationed in individual rooms on a vacant wing of the hospital to offer the massages.

Organizers chose the name “100 Nurses” for the event because that’s how many people they hoped to serve. They met that goal and then some, providing an estimated 150 massages over the course of just four hours.

“The burden of the pandemic has been overwhelmingly placed at the feet of our front line health care providers,” said Vicki Winston, interim director of Roane State’s massage therapy program. “We wanted the ‘100 Nurses’ event to impact as many nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff as possible by providing a safe, quiet moment of peace with a caring practitioner.”

“I am so grateful to everyone for leaning into this gift of heart envisioned by Vickie Pierce, Roane State associate professor of nursing,” Winston said.

“She asked for our help on behalf of our beloved nursing community,” Winston added. “I, in turn, asked the professional massage community for help. It’s what we do.”

The Roane State Massage Therapy Program is the only massage program in the state of Tennessee accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation and is one of the few community colleges in the area to offer a one-year comprehensive certificate in massage therapy.

Volunteer Lori Hendricks provides a chair massage during the “100 Nurses” event on October 6 at Methodist Medical Center.

Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has locations in Roane, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Knox, Loudon, Morgan and Scott counties as well as a branch campus in Oak Ridge. For more information, visit or call (865) 882-4554. Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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