Local Illinois School Districts Need Certified Nurses - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Illinois School Districts Need Certified Nurses

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A new challenge facing nurses and the Illinois school districts they work for. The Illinois State Board of Education will now require schools to hire certified school nurses if they haven't already. But certified school nurses are hard to come by and many Illinois schools employ registered nurses.

The change comes after the State Board of Education decided certified school nurses will be required to make any recommendations related to students special education needs.

There are some Illinois School Districts in our area that are already in compliance, but for the local districts that are not, the Black Hawk Area Special Education Center plans to try and help. It's made up of 14 Illinois school districts in our area and it plans to hire at least one certified school nurse who will assist all districts in the cooperative from a central office.

The only problem is finding a certified school nurse for hire, because there are so few of them out there.

"If in fact they need to hire one or two certified school nurses, they want to make sure they get that done right away so they aren't competing at the last minute," said Rockridge Superintendent, Dr. Chester Lien.

"I think it's going to create a demand statewide for those people who choose to add that certification to their nursing degree."

There are 168,000 registered nurses in Illinois, but roughly 9,000 certified school nurses. As of last school year, only about 3,100 certified school nurses were working in public schools.

The Black Hawk Area Special Education Cooperative plans to make a decision about hiring by the end of February.