A Move to Ensure RNs Have BS Degrees

At the end of last year, New York passed a law requiring future RN graduates of associate degree and diploma nursing programs to get a baccalaureate degree in nursing within 10 years after initial licensure in the state.

The American Nurses Association—NY supported the "BS in 10" measure, in which currently licensed RNs, nursing students enrolled in diploma or associate degree programs, or applicants on a waitlist for a nursing program, are grandfathered and their licenses protected from the additional educational mandate.

A similar MHA-priority bill (HB1186) is now pending in the Massachusetts legislature. “An Act to Promote Patient Care Transparency and Nurse Advancement” would, among other workforce improvements and enhanced transparency measures, establish a commission to design academic pathways and necessary supports to advance the goal of having 95% of all registered nurses in Massachusetts achieve the baccalaureate degrees by 2030. The legislation is aligned with the efforts of the Massachusetts Action Coalition to advance the nursing profession.

The bill seeks to create new competency-based curricula, seamless educational progression, more funding for accelerated programs, educational capacity building, and student diversity.

Research shows that one of the strongest correlation between nurses and patient care outcomes is the education and experience level of the nurse.

“Empowering nurses and helping them achieve their full potential through the measures outlined in HB1186 makes more sense – for RNs and patients – than advocating for outdated and misguided proposals such as mandatory nurse staffing ratios, at all times, in all hospitals via ballot question,” said MHA VP of Clinical Affairs Pat Noga, R.N.