5 bills that aim to address nursing shortage in Illinois

In its new session, the Illinois General Assembly will look at new bills that could ease the state's nursing shortage.

The American Nurses Association, Illinois chapter and the Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nurses are backing seven total pieces of legislation aimed at improving staffing statewide. 

"The reality of what we're facing right now in nursing is really in an unprecedented time," Susan Swart, EdD, RN, the executive director of ANA-Illinois, said in a March 6 statement. "We really have to seize the opportunity to put everything out there, to really explain what we need."

Five of the bills on deck to move these efforts forward are:

  • Senate Bill 199: This bill would amend the Nurse Practice Act and remove the requirement currently in place to consult a physician before prescribing Schedule II drugs — which some have deemed "unnecessary" — and expands the scope of nurse practitioners to do so without that. The next hearing on SB199 is set for March 8.

  • Senate Bill 1785: This bill would amend the Medical Practice Act of 1987, which has required advanced practice registered nurses collaborating with physicians to both be in the same specialty area. Removing this requirement will bring this act more in line with the state's Nurse Practice Act. The next hearing on SB1785 is set for March 8.

  • Senate Bills 1315 and 1316: These bills both seek to provide increased support for nurse educators and faculty. SB1315 would amend the Nursing Education Scholarship Law and designate a scholarship fund for the Department of Public Health to provide financial aid for nurse educators. SB1316 would allocate $1 million from the Education Assistance Fund to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to provide nurse educators with loan repayment grants. Currently, both bills are pending with the Senate Appropriations Committee.

  • Senate Bill 41: This bill would also amend the Nurse Practice Act and allow nurses to hold multi-state licenses as well as practice in their home and other states. The next hearing on SB41 will be March 8.

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