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BSN in 10: What This New York Law Means For Registered Nurses

After several past attempts, New York State finally passed new legislation that will require nurses to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) within 10 years of obtaining their RN license. Although New York is the only state to have adopted this law, it is expected to act as a precedent for others hoping to pass similar legislation in the future.

“Factors such as chronic disease, the aging population, and the adoption of technology across the industry have led the national push to raise educational standards for nurses,” says Amanda Cruse, a Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare division. “The demand for skilled nurses with their BSN is something we have been observing with our clients for many years. This new law will only strengthen this demand, which will create a powerful advantage for RNs who already have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.”

If you are a nurse and are wondering how the “BSN in 10” law will affect you, continue reading:

Current New York Nurses + Nursing Students: At this moment, nurses who already hold a New York license will not be required to get their bachelor’s in nursing. Current students enrolled in a nursing program will also be grandfathered in.

Future New York Nurses (including Travelers): All RNs entering the field will be required to complete their bachelor’s degree within 10 years of becoming certified. Those who do not will have their license suspended. Additionally, this law applies to travel nurses seeking to work in New York. For example, if you want to be a traveler, you must have your BSN in order to become licensed in the state.

Regardless of whether you are exempt from this law, you might want to consider getting your bachelor’s in nursing sooner rather than later. “If you are in a point in your nursing career where it makes sense for you to obtain your BSN, I suggest starting as soon as possible,” says Amanda. “This degree will soon become the industry standard, so while it may seem like a lot of work in the short-term, the long-term career benefits will make it worthwhile.”

Here are three benefits of getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing:

  1. It opens more doors. Having a BSN degree simply gives you more employment options, especially if you want to work for one of New York State’s top hospitals. According to Amanda, “this degree has been a prerequisite to landing an interview at one of these facilities for many years.”
  2. There are more opportunities to specialize. Getting your BSN can put you on the right track to developing the advanced clinical skills needed to become specialized in a certain area. Since this degree will give you access to more jobs, you’ll have more opportunities to try different specialties. Then once you decide what you want to pursue, a Master’s degree will be another option available to you.
  3. It offers greater career advancement. If you want to pursue any type of leadership position, a BSN is typically a requirement for advancement. “In an increasingly complex landscape, this designation is a testament to your commitment to the highest levels of safety, quality, and patient satisfaction,” explains Amanda.