Nursing Shortage

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

Our country is facing a critical shortage of registered nurses, a problem that could potentially threaten the entire health care system.

"A lot of nurses are in their 40s and will be retiring, also a shortage of nursing instructors."

The Department of Health and Human Services says nine percent of people under 30 entered the nursing field in 2000, dropping dramatically from 25 percent in 1980.

“It's hard work, educationally it's hard, emotional taxing. "

The state of Illinois expects the shortage of registered nurses to increase to 8,000 in five years, so the governor is planning to ask the General Assembly to eliminate part of a licensing requirement for foreign educated nurses. Right now foreign nurses must pass the standard nursing board exam and an independent commission's test.

Campbell says eliminating the commission test, which is only offered three times a year, would lower the hurdle and allow more foreign nurses to enter the American healthcare system.

Three years ago, Campbell traveled to the Philippines to recruit nurses. Fourteen are already here and another 12 to 14 are expected to arrive in the near future. The future demand for nurses is expected to increase dramatically as the baby boomers reach their 60s and 70s.


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