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Award Aims to Honor Work of Illinois Nurses

Jonah Chester – Illinois News Service

Illinois nurses have worked tirelessly to ensure the best care for the state’s residents since the pandemic began. Now, one nonprofit organization is looking to honor their hard work.

The 2022 Compassion in Nursing Awards will be given to up to three licensed nurses or certified nursing assistants who work in Illinois’ palliative or hospice care space.

Amy Sherman, Midwest advocacy director for Compassion & Choices, which sponsors the award, said the winners will receive a $500 honorarium for their work.

“We really want to recognize the unsung heroes who are there at life’s end for so many people,” Sherman explained.

The deadline for nominations is Sep. 1, and people can either self-submit or submit another person’s name for consideration.

Sherman noted the winners will be announced in November, and Compassion & Choices encouraged individuals from disadvantaged populations and under-resourced communities to apply.

A 2020 report from the National Institutes of Health found “the gravity of COVID-19 pandemic is triggering further mental health challenges among nurses.”

Sherman added nurses are still facing tremendous stress from COVID, staffing shortages and other challenges.

“We want to make sure that their sacrifices are being acknowledged, and that those who work in palliative and hospice care know that we care about them,” Sherman stressed.

According to the Illinois Hospice and Palliative Care Institute, the state will have an estimated shortage of more than 14,000 nurses by 2025.

In an effort to address declining staffing levels and burnout, Illinois this month adopted a new policy which ties increased state funding for nursing homes to staffing levels.

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