Jim Anderson -- Illinois Radio Network

A survey by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says nurses are getting older, and one-third of all Illinois nurses plan to retire in the next five years. Linda Roberts, manager of the Illinois Center for Nursing, hopes Illinois’ 175 education programs can produce enough replacements.

“There’s always a concern as to whether or not we’re gonna be able to have the capacity to get the number of students into the nursing education programs that want to be in the nursing education programs,” she said.

In addition to the retirements, Roberts says there’s an expectation that as baby boomers age, they’ll need more health care, so nurses will be in greater demand.

Illinois has 170,000 registered nurses, 30,000 licensed practical nurses and 10,000 advanced practice nurses. The survey was taken among those who were applying to renew their licenses; about one-third of applicants took the survey.

Roberts says many nurses who planned to retire over the last decade did not, for a variety of recession-related reasons: Either their spouse lost a job or the value of their 401(k) took a hit, typically.

Nurses typically earn salaries of $55,000 to $65,000 a year.

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