Southern Illinois schools and employers combating nursing shortage in the region

Ill nursing shortages

ILLINOIS (KFVS) -The Bureau of Labor Statistics says American will need more than 200,000 new nurses every year until 2026. Experts in the Heartland agreed the need for nurses is a growing issue.

To keep up with demand, Southern Illinois Healthcare is gearing up their efforts.

SIH’s Talent Acquisition Manager Kristin King helps recruit nurses to the region. “It is a nationwide problem, and I think what our organization is trying to do to combat is really be proactive with the programs we try to offer,” King said.

Those programs include their 15-year internship program, scholarship program, loan forgiveness program, critical care preceptor program, lunch and learns, career fairs, and more.

“So the demand is out there,” King said. “We just need to be proactive to stay on top of it and stay ahead of it.”

Marilyn Falaster is the Director of Nursing at John A. Logan College in Carterville, IL. “There’s a shortage in the clinical sites,” she said.

She said retiring nurses contributes to the shortage. “So either in the hospitals, the rehab centers, the assisted livings, nursing homes, offices, public health department, home health agencies, all of those areas are struggling to fill those spots because they have a lot of baby boomers, too, that are retiring,” Falaster said.

Southern Illinois university Carbondale will introduce a nursing program later this year. The school plans on preparing nursing students for the future.

The program’s director is Dr. Kelli Whittington. She said, “So finding what skill sets they need, and what they find as important, and building that into our curriculum, so when they graduate they are ready to hit the ground running as a fully prepared registered nurse.”

Nationwide, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The college programs and hospitals are working together to fill the positions.

“We always need to build to those collaborative relationships, we always need to listen to the voice of our employees to find out what we need to do.”

There are more than 1,000 registered nurses that work in a variety of capacities at SIH hospital in southern Illinois, with more than 100 nursing-related positions vacant on their website.

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