Publish Date: January 30, 2012
New York legislators are considering Assembly Bill 01977B which would require new registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing within 10 years of becoming licensed. The bill indicates the need for this requirement is based on the increasing complexity of the American healthcare system, rapidly expanding technology, and a growing body of evidence that suggests a correlation between additional education and better patient outcomes.
All currently licensed nurses in New York and students in programs preparing for registered professional nursing would be exempt from the new requirement. In addition, the Department of Education could issue a conditional registration to a licensee who fails to complete the bachelor’s degree but who agrees to meet the additional requirement within one year. A01977B has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education.
New Jersey is considering a similar bill, Assembly Bill 553, which would also require professional nurses to attain a Bachelor’s degree in nursing within 10 years of their initial licensure. Should either of these bills pass, they will be the first states in the country to require a bachelor’s degree for registered nurses.
According to AORN’s 2011 Salary Survey, 38.4% of respondents currently have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. AORN’s board-approved position statement Entry into Practice sets forth AORN’s belief that the minimal preparation for future entry into the practice of nursing should be the baccalaureate degree, which is consistent with the recommendations in the recently released IOM report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change; Advancing Health, to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020.