Regulation has been deliberated for many years. There is currently only one state which has taken concrete action to make BSNs effectively mandatory for nurses – New York. Their “BSN in 10” bill, passed in January 2017, requires registered nurses holding an associate degree to earn their BSN qualification within 10 years of their initial RN licensure.
Two primary competing factors cloud the issue:
- Hospitals are incentivized to hire more BSN-prepared nurses. Organizations seeking Magnet Recognition must require all nurse managers to hold a BSN.
- Nurses are in very high demand. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) calls it a shortage in nursing. Raising minimum education requirements may decrease the pool of eligible employable RNs.
Because of the high demand for nurses, sweeping legislation making bachelor’s degrees mandatory across the board seems unlikely. However, make sure to keep an eye on what’s happening in your state!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.