Nursing is central to the delivery of quality care and there is a critical global shortage of nurses along with a critical need for linguistically competent bilingual, bicultural nurses to serve our increasingly diverse populations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2012, the United States could be short at least one million nurses. Illinois has a current nursing shortage of 7% (vacancies vs. jobs filled) with projected need of about 8,000 registered nurses and 1,200 licensed practical nurses per year through 2010. Meanwhile, the number of potential caregivers, including nurses, is projected to decrease 4.2%, and the number of those who need care is projected to increase by 31% between 2000 and 2020.
(State of Illinois Governor's Office, 2005).
Diversity in the RN population has increased but remains far less than that of the general population where 32.6 percent of the US population identified themselves as non-White, Hispanic or Latino. Hispanic or Latino RNs remain the most under representative group of nurses when compared with the representation of the US population with less than 3 per cent of the RN population who are Hispanic or Latino nurses although Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14.1 percent of the population Registered Nurses Educated Outside the United States
, HRSA 2007