Four-year degree requirement for new registered nurses up for debate

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New York lawmakers are debating a bill that would require all new nurses to get a bachelor's degree within 10 years of earning their two-year associate's degree.

New York legislators have received support from nursing associations and health policy groups for a proposed “BSN in 10” initiative, the Associated Press reported. The statewide requirement is intended to address a pending nursing shortage, and boost the skills for a workforce that soon will be caring for a rapidly aging population, policy experts say.

But some are concerned the additional requirement — and accompanying costs for nurses and nursing schools — could discourage would-be nurses from entering the field when they are needed the most. States such as New Jersey and Rhode Island have considered similar proposals in recent years, the AP reports. The bill could come up for debate in both houses of New York's legislature as soon as this month, according to reports.