Springfield—March 29, 2022— On Tuesday, ANA-Illinois Executive Director Susan Swart, EdD, MS, RN, CAE, addressed the nursing shortage with the Illinois Senate Health Committee. She urged the committee to address the shortage—at all levels of nursing—that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“While the nursing shortage is not just an Illinois issue, the pandemic has laid bare the issues facing the profession,” says Swart.
Nursing Shortage by the Numbers
Based on the 2020 RN workforce report prepared by the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center, Illinois will face a shortage of nearly 15,000 RNs by 2025.
Plus, while 52% of the almost 195,000 RNs in Illinois are over the age of 55—with 27% planning to retire in the next 5 years—less than 8,000 nurses graduate each year.
“There is no easy fix to the nursing shortage, and we have an urgent need for workforce planning to meet future healthcare needs,” says Swart.
ANA-Illinois Recommendations to the Senate Health Committee
Some of the recommendations Swart presented include the following:
- Require workforce-related collection data at the time of license renewal to give a more complete picture of the nursing workforce
- Pass the Nurse Licensure Compact to remove barriers to nurses working in nearby geographical areas and protect current Illinois Nurses while performing interstate practice via telehealth
- Increase focus on nursing education by increasing enrollment and funding faculty investment
- Invest in nursing programs and provide loan forgiveness to nurses
- Allow new graduates and student nurses to practice with limited, temporary licenses under the supervision of an RN
- Address the salary of nurses at all levels
Schools, Long-Term Care & Hospitals Identify Needs & Make Recommendations
Swart’s panel included two other experts. Glenda Morris Burnett, PhD, MUPP, RN, Assistant Professor at Rush University, who shared about the dire need for investment in nursing faculty. Gloria E. Barrera, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN, presented on the high need for school nurses.
In panels that followed, experts in long-term care and hospital administration spoke on the efforts they’re making to increase pay and benefits to retain their staff.
“The workforce challenges we’re facing will require investment and that will require buy-in from everyone involved and thinking outside the box,” says Swart. “Failing to invest in the nursing workforce will cost systems and our state greatly and delay progress on our goals for health equity and improved outcomes.”
ANA-Illinois is a membership-based professional association for registered nurses and the state constituent member of the American Nurses Association. ANA-Illinois advocates for all of nursing—providing a voice for all nurses across all specialties and practice settings.
ANA-Illinois protects the practice of nursing by ensuring that nursing’s priorities are incorporated into legal and regulatory decisions. ANA-Illinois understands what’s important—issues such as oversight of scope of practice, appropriate use of unlicensed personnel and the impact of managed care. They safeguard and promote licensure, credentialing, and the right of the profession to define nursing practice.
Executive Director, ANA-Illinois