villa051723CM0512SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Karina Villa that addresses the shortage of nurses in health care facilities across Illinois was signed into law Friday. 

“The ongoing nurse shortage in our state demands our immediate attention,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Our nurses are the backbone of our health care system, and we owe it to them and our communities to address this issue with urgency. By empowering the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center to look for ways to address the shortage, our hope is this new law will help us retain and recruit nurses throughout our state.”

The growing scarcity of nurses in Illinois, especially in Southern Illinois, hurts patients and existing nurses who have to work without a full staff in some cases. Nurses are a critical part of health care and make up the largest portion of health care professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed from 2020 to 2030.

Villa’s law directs the Nursing Workforce Center to develop strategies to make sure proper actions are being taken to address the statewide nurse shortage. The Nursing Workforce Center will be required to develop a plan to increase the number of nurses in the workforce by distributing a nursing workforce supply survey with all license renewals beginning in 2024. By 2027, the Nursing Workforce Center will develop a nurse demand and employer survey that will be collected biennially.

“Nurses are not just vital health care professionals,” Villa said. “They are caring individuals who dedicate their lives to serving others. We must create an environment that supports and values their contributions to our communities.”

House Bill 1615 was signed into law Friday and goes into effect immediately.