Registered nurses in New York may soon be forced to obtain Bachelor degrees under a new bill that is being considered by state officials.
The New York bill is reportedly designed to advance nurses' industrial skills, according to The Associated Press.
Referred to as the "BSN in 10,” the initiative would require that all registered nurses earn a Bachelor's degree within 10 years.
While critics struggle to identify how exactly the proposed bill would tackle the growing Healthcare sector shortage issue, those in favor insist that Bachelor’s degrees are already preferred in the nursing industry.
"Even without the legislation in place, hospitals and other medical facilities are making hiring decisions that favor those with BSN degrees over those without them," said Dr. Peggy Tallier, program director and associate professor in nursing school health at Mercy College.
Many bill supporters, including the New York State Nurses Association, argue that Bachelor degrees simply improve the overall quality of care provided by registered nurses.
The NYSA recently referred to a 2003 University of Pennsylvania study in a memo supporting the bill.
The 2003 study established a correlation between nurses with Bachelor degrees and reduced surgical deaths.
Walt Zywiak of the Computer Sciences Corporation offered possible explanations as to why there is a staffing shortage in the Healthcare industry.
In a report entitled “U.S. Healthcare Workforce Shortages: Caregivers,” Zywiak identifies an increasing population, aging baby boomers and a rise in chronic diseases as factors affecting the healthcare staffing shortage.
The author also pointed out that a growing number of healthcare workers are dissatisfied with their jobs for reasons including income and irregular work hours.
Critics say that by forcing nurses to obtain Bachelor degrees, the bill will only worsen the growing shortage problem, but those in favor urge that this should not be the case.
"This bill shouldn't discourage anyone at this point because it doesn't involve anyone even applying for licensure right now ... and 10 years is a long time to get a degree that will give you better pay," one of the bill's sponsors, Republican Sen. James Alesi of Monroe County said.
Sources say that existing nurses would not be forced to get Bachelor degrees, and that “BSN in 10” will be a requirement for new nurses and only if the bill if passed.