National nurses week calls attention to shortage

By Laura Katauskas | Bugle Staff

As the industry sees a surge in nurses reaching retirement age, there have been nearly 800 job postings for registered nurses in Will County alone in the past year.

The nation recently celebrated National Nurses Week May 6 through 12 and area colleges spoke of the increased need for nurses in the area, celebrating a critical profession that undoubtedly impacts every community.

“The average age of the current nurse is 57 and we are seeing many reach the age bracket for retirement, leaving jobs in great numbers,” said Rasmussen College Nursing Dean Holly Janssen. “That number is expected to grow by 19 percent by 2022.”

In addition, as the baby boomer generation grows older, the demands this generation will place on the healthcare system will also increase.

By the year 2020, it is estimated that in Illinois there will be a shortage of more than 21,000 nurses. To address this concern, the state has also created the Illinois Center for Nursing, looking to identify and provide the resources necessary to recruit and train more highly-skilled nurses in Illinois.

Rasmussen College Romeoville/Joliet campus is seeing growing numbers in its nursing program as is Lewis University.

“I would encourage people to pursue nursing because the work is fulfilling and the salary is competitive,” said Janssen.

She said those that excel are those that do well in math and science and have a balance of soft skills as well.

Lewis University recently expanded its program to include its Doctor of Nursing Practice program, DNP. The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers bachelor’s and master’s programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

To meet the growing significant trend, in 2014, Lewis University began a 24,000 square-foot expansion of the College of Nursing and Health Professions facilities to include new state-of-the-art simulation labs, high fidelity simulated mannequins, a viewing room to provide an opportunity for faculty to observe student performance, four classrooms, additional faculty offices, conference rooms, several student gathering spaces and a café.

All graduates from the first cohort of Nursing students at Rasmussen College’s Romeoville campus found employment and are working as nurses.

“Our students are continually getting placed,” said Janssen. “And our enrollment is gradually increasing.”

Rasmussen offers a nursing information session on Wednesday mornings. For more details, call the campus to register at 815-306-2602. For more information about Lewis University, visit

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

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