Top Illinois Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
According to the Illinois State Board of Nursing there is likely to be a 16.3% increase in demand for nurses between now and 2020. There is also an expected growth in demand for licensed vocational and practical nurses of about 9.1%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has added that the demand for registered nurses specifically is set at 26% for the country, thereby making the nursing shortage in Illinois acute, but less severe than in other states.
The reason why there are so many available nursing jobs in Illinois (some 5,200 positions were open in 2012, more than in any other sector), is because of the increase in demand. Demand is high because many of the baby boomers are now ready to retire. The shortage due to this is most critical in the Chicagoland area, as the majority of nurses here are over the age of 55.
Furthermore, hospitals are under significant pressure to discharge their patients quickly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has cited this as one of the main reasons for increased demand for long term care facilities and at home care. Hence, more and more nurses in Illinois are now employed outside of hospitals.
In Chicago, in particular, there is an expansion of available services, particularly for educational needs. The demand for nurse educators is incredibly high, particularly when considering that over 2,000 qualified students have had to be refused enrollment by nursing schools.
It also seems that the shortage of nurses is having an adverse effect on the mental health of current nurses, and on their ability to deliver proper patient care. There has been an increasing number of healthcare professionals who have left the industry because they can no longer achieve job satisfaction.
The nurses who are in highest demand are those who have specialized license and education. This means they must have gone through years of training. Those who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree are in highest demand, particularly for those who want to work in hospitals. The Institute of Medicine wants to ensure at least 80% of nursing staff as a bachelor’s degree or above.
The average annual salary for nurses in Illinois is $62,650, which is 5% lower than the national average. This is also something that needs to be addressed in the state. However, salaries do vary greatly depending on specialization, education and location.