The new legislation introduced in the state has the support of both parties and would be retroactive for existing nurses who would have ten years to obtain the degree.
Most registered nurses carry a two-year associate’s degree when they enter their career and the additional two-years to gain a bachelor’s degree can be costly. The effects of the bill could be detrimental to the health industry, as well, since it is already struggling to fill vital roles occupied by nursing specialists. Additionally, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands will retire in the coming decade, leaving the industry even more unsaturated with qualified RNs.
Some feel that the new requirement will bolster the industry in the future, however. With more advanced degrees, nursing schools can produce more capable professionals. Nurses with this type of degree are easily transitioned into specialty fields – both in the health industry and in education. This is good news for nursing schools where the majority of instructors are set to retire soon.
There are also statistical reasons for an advanced nursing school degree among RNs. According to the Washington Post, the bill cites a statistic from 2003 which stated that up to 5% fewer surgical deaths occur with just a 10% increase in staff that have obtained an advanced degree in nursing school.
While there is much debate about the effects of the bill, one thing is certain: nursing schools will need to step up to the plate and alter their curriculum to accommodate the law. At present, there are very few nursing schools that offer the kind of classes that would be required to teach an already-registered nurse the additional skills obtained through the advanced degree.