Illinois will soon face shortage of registered nurses

Illinois may soon face a shortage of registered nurses, across all specialties, as an aging workforce readies to retire. That’s the finding of a survey conducted by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation/Illinois Center for Nursing.

The 2014 Illinois Registered Nurse Workforce Survey also finds that despite the increasing diversity of the state, the cultural and gender diversity of the future RN workforce is in decline.

Of the respondents polled, one-third of all RNs — ages 55 to 65 — intend to retire within the next five years, leaving voids in specialties such as psychiatric, school, home health and community health nursing. Also, these specialties currently have significantly fewer RNs (ages 25 to 35) in the PhD education pipeline to replace the retiring RNs.

The data collected also indicates a decrease in cultural diversity of the RN workforce in the younger cohorts, which coincides with the decreased number of graduates of associate degree programs — ages 25 and younger. Gender diversity is also on the decline, as only 7 percent of those 25 and younger self-reported as being male.

Just under 53,000 of individual RNs completed the voluntary survey, representing 31 percent of the total RN population in Illinois.