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Chris Musillo on Nurse and Allied Health Immigration

NY considering BSN requirement for RNs

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by Chris Musillo

At the May 2010 meeting of the New York State Education Department, the Registered Nurse Professional Practice Committee was presented with a proposal to increase the minimum educational requirement to a Bachelors degree.

Under the recommended plan, all currently-licensed RNs would be "grandparented," and would not have to obtain the Bachelors degree. Instead, all diploma and associate degreed RNs, who obtain licenses after 2012 would need to obtain a Bachelors degree within 10 years of the initiation of their license.

Nurses who failed to obtain the Bachelors degree would have their licenses put on "hold". This "hold" is similar to the action taken when a licensee fails to meet continuing education requirements in those professions that mandate continuing education as a criterion for continued registration.

Other states such as New Jersey also are considering raising their educational requirement. Advocates for the New York plan cite recent studies that show that increasing the number of baccalaureate nurses in an acute care hospital decreases the number of patient deaths. Similar legislation was introduced into the New York legislature in 2005, but was tabled because of supply concerns.

It seems inevitable that states will raise their minimum educational requirements to the level of Bachelors degree. Many countries' minimum educational requirement is a Bachelors degree. In the US, the only state to have had a Bachelors degree minimum was North Dakota, which lowered their requirement and joined the other 49 states in the middle part of this decade.

If any state did raise their requirement to a bachelors degree, employers in that state could more liberally use the H-1B visa as a partial solution to their expected long-term nursing supply shortages. The
H-1B can be used to employ some Registered Nurses.

To read the full Healthcare and Immigration Law Blog, visit or

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