For over 40 years, the nursing profession has debated the minimum educational attainment necessary for the practice of nursing. The American Nurses Association released its historic position paper in 1965, recommending that the “minimum preparation for beginning professional nursing practice should be baccalaureate degree education in nursing.” Today, however, there are still three paths to RN licensure: a two-year Associate degree, a three-year Diploma program or a four-year Baccalaureate degree.
The North Shore Long Island Jewish health system (North Shore-LIJ) in New York has decided to take a stand. As of September 1, 2010, all new nurses hired must either have a BSN or agree to obtain one within five years. Maureen White, RN, senior VP and Chief Nurse Executive cites multiple research studies correlating improved patient outcomes with advanced nurse education as the reason for the new policy.Â Ms. White told Health Leaders Media that, “This is something we felt was the right thing to do, the right thing for our patients.”
Currently, approximately 60% of North Shore – LIJ’s nurses hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The health system will provide tuition reimbursement for all non-BSN nurses who wish to return to school to advance their education.
What do you think of North Shore-LIJ’s move? Should the BSN be the minimal requirement for entry into nursing?