Empire State becomes first in the nation to require that nurses obtain a bachelor's degree.
New York State starts the new year with a newly passed nursing law. Governor Andrew Cuomo last month signed into law a bill that requires new nurses to earn a bachelor's degree within 10 years of initial licensure.
The legislation takes effect immediately though the requirement that nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree or higher within 10 years of licensure begins in 30 months.
The new education requirement does not affect nurses already in practice.
There has been a push toward this legislation, commonly known as "BSN in 10," for years, but its passage makes New York the first state to pass this type of law.
BSN-preparation affects patient outcomes
Research, particularly that by Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has shown that having more nurses with bachelor's degrees improves patient outcomes. For example, her research has found that for each 10% increase in nurses with BSN degrees, there was a 5% decline in risk-adjusted patient mortality.
Additionally, when it released the 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) recommended 80% nurses should have at least a BSN by 2020 (though new research has found that while progress is being made, this goal will not likely be reached within the next two years).
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.