Nursing

  • martinez 082217SPRINGFIELD — Advanced practice nurses who have completed the necessary training now have full practice authority in Illinois, thanks to legislation passed by Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) and signed into law today.

    Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are licensed, registered, professional nurses who use diagnostic skills and tests to care for patients. They can include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified clinical nurse specialists.

  • Senator Andy ManarSPRINGFIELD – Bipartisan legislation that would allow 124 Illinois prison nurses to breathe a sigh of relief about their future landed on the governor’s desk today, and two central Illinois senators who sponsored the measure are urging him to rethink his position on privatizing prison jobs.

    “There is no evidence that outsourcing these jobs, as Gov. Rauner proposed, will save money. You can’t just look at one side of the ledger and claim you’re driving a bargain for taxpayers,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a sponsor of Senate Bill 19, which would protect the jobs of 322 state employees who work for the Illinois Department of Corrections as nurses, medical technicians and mental health professionals.

  • manar 031617SPRINGFIELD – A measure designed to fill a projected workforce shortage in rural Illinois while connecting students with good-paying careers in health care advanced out of a Senate committee this week.

    Senate Bill 888, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would allow community colleges to award four-year nursing degrees in an effort to deepen the pool of qualified registered nurses available to be hired by Illinois health care employers.

    According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor’s degree today is considered the national entry-level educational standard for a registered nurse. A 2015 report by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation indicated that about a third of registered nurses age 55 and older planned to retire within five years, prompting concerns about a statewide nursing shortage.

    Manar said the district he represents, which spans rural and underserved areas of downstate Illinois, stands to be especially hard hit by the nursing shortage.

    Currently in Illinois, only universities may award bachelor’s degrees in nursing, but they have not been able to address the nursing shortage in some areas of the state.

    Community colleges are well suited to help four-year universities ensure hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and medical offices throughout the state have a pool of well-qualified nursing applicants from which to hire, Manar said, adding that it’s also a good way to stem the tide of young people leaving Illinois in search of jobs.

    “This approach may be outside of the box for Illinois, but nationally we would not be an outlier. Eleven other states do this type of thing with their community colleges,” Manar said.

    “This discussion is about something much bigger than simply the traditional mission of Illinois’ universities and community colleges,” he said. “This is about offering excellent health care, planning for the future, adapting to changing critical workforce needs, offering affordable options for job training, putting people in good-paying jobs and keeping young people in the communities – and the state –where they grew up. These are all vitally important issues in Illinois, and this legislation touches on all of them.”

    Senate Bill 888 grants 20 Illinois community colleges the ability to award bachelor of science degrees in nursing and sets standards for establishing nursing programs, including accreditation, documenting unmet workforce needs and more.

    It also calls for a four-year review of the effort by the Illinois Community College Board, including a comprehensive statewide evaluation of newly created programs and a written report submitted to the State Board of Higher Education, the governor and both chambers of the General Assembly before July 1, 2022.

    The legislation does not require community colleges to offer the degrees. State money may not be used to establish or maintain the program, according to the legislation.

    The measure advanced out of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee on Tuesday.

  • biss don 81815Seniors struggling to stay in their homes and people with disabilities in need of vital care would still have access to services under a plan passed by the Senate today. Without today’s action, substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided care proposed by the governor would force tens of thousands of older adults and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into costly nursing home facilities.

    “The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with his plan,” said State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston). “He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who often rely on minimal and inexpensive services to ensure their basic health and safety.”