New registered nurses in the state of New York are now required by law to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) within 10 years of earning a nursing license. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Dec. 20, 2017, the “BSN in 10” bill, which had been on the political radar in New York for 14 years.
Currently licensed RNs and those already enrolled in nursing programs are exempt from the new law, which received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the AARP and many New York nursing schools. The BSN mandate follows a 2010 recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences non-profit Institute of Medicine that nursing education requirements be upgraded.
The Future of Nursing report issued in 2010 recommended that at least 80% of RNs earn a BSN by 2020. Nurses currently are required to complete a two-year nursing degree to become licensed.
If a licensed nurse fails to earn a BSN within 10 years, the license could be placed on hold unless an extension is granted for extenuating circumstances.
Versions of the “BSN in 10” law had been under consideration since 2009 in New York. A similar bill has been under consideration in the New Jersey State Assembly since 2014.
The language of the New York law explains why the move was needed:
“[With] the complexity of the American healthcare system and rapidly expanding technology, the educational preparation of the registered professional nurse must be expanded. The nurse of the future must be prepared to partner with multiple disciplines as a collaborator and manager of the complex patient care journey. … Several recent research studies clearly demonstrate the added value of additional education in relation to improved patient outcomes.”
A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing found that “hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay.”
That report concluded that the Future of Nursing recommendation for expanded nursing education requirements was valid.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of RNs is expected to increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026. The reasons for the growth include the expanding healthcare needs of an aging population and the need to replace retiring healthcare workers.
While many entry-level positions might require only an ADN (associate’s degree in nursing), most hospitals nationwide have begun to require a BSN, at minimum. With the advent of a BSN mandate for newly licensed nurses, the competition for nursing positions is expected to be greater in the coming years.
If you are interested in pursuing an online RN to BSN degree, consider the accredited program offered by Jacksonville University. JU’s Keigwin School of Nursing is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
In addition, JU offers an online path to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which will further prepare a practicing nurse for leadership roles in research, nursing education, hospital administration and clinical practice.