Illinois lawmakers trying to find solution to nurse shortages

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — It’s a shortage that could impact the qualify of your healthcare. Now, lawmakers are working to fix the lack of nurses in Illinois.

When there is a nurse shortage, it forces nurses to take care of multiple patients at once. This puts patients at risk simply because the nurse has more work to do and more things to remember.

Theresa Mah is the Illinois senator leading the charge to mandate nurse staffing rations.

“We need a proper ratio to make sure that everyone is cared for and treated and has access to the attention of nurses that are on staff,” Mah said.

Local nurses are saying it’s long past due.

“My patients shouldn’t have to suffer because the hospital is short staffed,” Illinois nurse Crystal Robinson said.

Cindy Reese is the director of nursing for the University of Illinois at Chicago and implemented a nursing program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“I’m being told that they could hire almost 100 RN’s today if qualified applicants would apply,” Reese said. “That’s one of the reasons why the University of Illinois at Chicago Nursing Programs is here in Springfield to help alleviate the nursing shortage particularly in our central Illinois region.”

Just last year, 12 nurses graduated from the program for the first time. This May, those graduating will double last year and 65 percent of graduating students said they’ll stay in Springfield.

This isn’t the first time legislation has been introduced to try and solve this shortage. According to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, an organization that strongly opposes state mandated staffing ratios, said this legislation has been debated on for the past 15 years.

“They’re costly government mandates and they really drive up the cost of health care,” David Gross, of the IHA, said.

Nurses are struggling to tend to their patients with 100 percent focus.

“It impacts my ability to do and take care of my patients and to provide the care they need,” Illinois nurse Helen Bernard said.

So far, California is the only state to have state-mandated staffing ratios.

As of now, Illinois is still at a standstill to finding the best solution to this problem.

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via WRSP

March 12, 2019 at 06:12AM

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