By the year 2020 Illinois is expected to have a nursing shortage greater than 21,000 nurses. Faced with this imminent shortage the state is working on creating programs to attract, retain, and train nurses. In 2006 Governor Rod Blagojevich established the Illinois Center for Nursing, located within the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, to assist in identifying and providing resources to recruit and train highly skilled nurses in Illinois.
The center, which is overseen by an advisory board of professional nurses, predominantly works with industry professionals and educational institutions to ensure that Illinois will have the nursing workforce, including RN’s and RN to BSN, necessary to meet the demands of a growing and aging population. In addition, the center is looking at ways to retain nurses in the field and recruit students into nursing. The legislation that established the Illinois Center for Nursing also created scholarships for nurse educators willing to commit to teaching in Illinois, and created the Illinois Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program, which will allow current nurse educators to $5,000 in student loan forgiveness a year for up to four years.