Making a 4-year degree a requirement for Registered Nurses has been discussed before, and there have been many organizations that are proponents of this change. The “BSN in 10” initiative has been supported and fueled by The Institute of Medicine, and Linda H. Aiken, PhD., FAAN, FRCN from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Dr. Aiken has published research showing facilities that employ more nurses with Bachelor’s degrees improve patient outcome, and for each 10% increase in nurses with BSN degrees, there was a 5% decline in risk-adjusted patient mortality.
Now this initiative has become law in New York which recently became the first in the nation to require nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the beginning of January, the bill requires that new nurses obtain a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of initial licensure. This type of legislation, commonly known as “BSN in 10,” has been pushed across the nation, but New York is the first state to actually pass a law. The legislation takes effect immediately, but the requirement that nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree or higher within 10 years of licensure will begin in 30 months. It does not affect nurses already in practice.
If New York has passed this law, will other states be far behind in following suit? Maybe it is a good time to take a few classes.