BSN May Be New Requirement for Hospital Nurses

March 4, 2011 at 8:02 pm

We’ve always heard that the more education you have the better, but there is a new trend that is starting on the East Coast and may very well be a sign of the times. In New York and New Jersey, there are bills that are waiting to be passed by the legislature which would require RN’s to return to school to get their BSN degree.

On, Tracey Boyd reported on this subject and explains, “As more hospitals seek the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s coveted Magnet recognition, a recent but quiet trend has been slowly making its way into the nursing world: hospitals are requiring their nurses to either return to school for their bachelor’s degrees or have a BSN before applying.

“Hospitals are not waiting for the outcome of the highly publicized ‘BSN in 10’ bills — S4051/A2079B in New York and S620 (nee S2529)/A3768 in New Jersey — that are still awaiting closure in both legislatures, it seems, and are taking it upon themselves to get the ball rolling.”

The reason for this new requirement has to do with the increased complexity of medical care that is required. Studies have shown that nurses who have a higher education improve patient safety and leads to “more cost effective care” and lower mortality rates. “Research has demonstrated that in hospitals with higher proportions of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level or higher, surgical patients experienced lower mortality and failure-to-rescue rates,” says Kathy Webster, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, vice president of patient services at Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. “Death rates were nearly twice as high at hospitals where less than 10% of nurses had bachelor’s degrees as they were at hospitals where over 70% did.”

So if nurses are required to go back to school, who foots the bill? Well, in the three hospitals that are implementing this pending law, the hospitals will reimburse the nurses up to $5,000 in tuition fees per year. Scheduling adjustments are also being made and with nurses who are working 12 hour shifts, accommodating their time off for studies is quite accessible.

It is yet to be seen if a “BSN in 10” bill will make its way to California, but with strong statistics and a program in place across the nation, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future of RN to BSN programs.

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