New York Becomes First State to Require Nurses to Obtain Bachelor’s Degrees

On 23/Jan/2018 / In Medical News

The Empire State recently became the first state 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.
 
The drive for “BSN in 10” legislation has been largely fueled by research. Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has published research showing that employing more nurses with bachelor’s degrees improves patient outcomes. Her research has also found that for each 10% increase in nurses with BSN degrees, there was a 5% decline in risk-adjusted patient mortality.
 
The Institute of Medicine has also been a large driver for this type of nursing legislation following their 2010 report, The Future of Nursing, which recommends that 80% of nurses have at least a BSN by 2020. New York nursing programs have been in support as well, including Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. According to HealthLeadersMedia.com, Sullivan-Marx released the following statement:
 
“NYU has been a strong supporter of ‘BSN in 10’ legislation, given its implication for improving patient care. Research shows that patients benefit from baccalaureate-prepared nurses—in fact, several large studies show that it saves lives. Earning bachelor’s degrees also creates opportunities for career mobility and leadership among nurses.”
 
The bill also establishes a commission to evaluate and report on barriers to entry into the nursing profession and make recommendations on increasing availability and accessibility of nursing programs. As the first state to set “BSN in 10” legislation, New York will set an example going forward on how this type of legislation can improve patient outcomes. 
 
By: Christina Morgan
Dalty Nurse News

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