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BSN in 10 Resources

S1272/A685 is sponsored by Senator Vitale, Senator Singer and Assemblywoman Munoz. The bill requires a newly licensed registered professional nurse to attain a baccalaureate degree in nursing within ten years of initial licensure and is referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee. The bill will not impact any existing licensed nurse, allows for a one time extension if requirements are not met within ten years and is currently being amended to delay implementation for two full school years as a way to not impact a current nursing student. Additionally, Senator Vitale is in the process of forging regional relationships with county college and four-year colleges to administer a BSN nursing program. View the BSN in 10 Presentation >>

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should nurses attain a BSN?
This bill will save lives and produce improved patient outcomes. It is setting forth policy to build support for nurses to become more educated.

Will the BSN requirement have an impact on the nursing shortage?
The BSN requirement will create more opportunities for nursing students and decrease the nursing shortage. The nursing shortage is partially impacted by a nursing faculty shortage. BSN prepared nurses are the wellspring for future faculty roles. Research shows new nurses prepared in BSN programs are significantly more likely to complete the graduate level education to fill needed nursing faculty and specialist positions.

Will the BSN requirement limit access to the nursing profession?
This bill will not close doors for those interested in pursuing the nursing profession. Students can still pursue their BSN through a diploma or associate degree program and fulfill their BSN requirement within ten years of RN licensure. The BSN requirement will not have an impact on current nurses or nursing students.

What is the current healthcare market dictating?
Many hospitals and nurse executives are only hiring BSN prepared nurses. This bill will ensure nurses are able to meet the demands of the work place. Over half of the RNs in the US have baccalaureate preparation.  

Will the BSN requirement impact New Jersey’s county college system?
The County College Association is working with the bill sponsor to ensure county colleges are fully invested in the BSN requirement. Nursing students will still be able to pursue their nursing careers at a community college.

Will the BSN requirement improve patient outcomes?
Research shows a 10% increase in the proportion of nurses holding a bachelor’s degree was associated with a 5% decrease in both the likelihood of patients dying within 30 days of admission and odds of failure to rescue (Aiken, et al, 2003).

Health Services Research found that nurses prepared with a BSN also had lower mortality and lower failure-to-rescue rates (Friese et al, 2008).

A 10% increase in baccalaureate prepared nurses was associated with 9 fewer deaths for every 1000 discharged patients (Tourangeau, 2007). Nursing requires a high degree of responsibility and judgment in high risk, underdetermined situations. Thus the baccalaureate degree in nursing should be the minimal educational level for entry into practice (Benner et al, 2010). Peers of nurses have increased their educational requirements

    • Physical therapists and occupational therapists
    • Pharmacists
    • Social workers

Where are we in New Jersey?
There are currently 18 BSN schools and 16 RN to BSN programs in New Jersey. Distance learning and other non-traditional options have proliferated, such as online courses. Additionally, hospitals provide significant tuition reimbursement and support on-site RN to BSN classes.

Other states are experimenting with community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees; this model is becoming contagious and may serve to reduce community colleges’ financial concerns.

What other organizations are supporting the BSN requirement?

  • American Nurses Association/New Jersey State Nurses Association
  • American Organization of Nurse Executives/Organization of Nurse Executives New Jersey
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • New Jersey Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • Many Specialty Nursing Organizations such as the AORN
  • New Jersey Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives

The Institute of Medicine Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health (2011) cited a key message was “Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression”.  Recommendation #4 was to “Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020”.

The Magnet Recognition Program of the American Nurses Credentialing Center developed a new source of evidence for Magnet applicants effective June 1, 2013 which states, “Provide an action plan and set a target, which demonstrates evidence of progress toward having 80% of direct care nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree in nursing or higher by 2020”.


Aiken, L., Clarke, S.P., Cheung, T. B., Sloane, D. M., & Silber, J. H. (2003). Educational levels of hospital nurses and surgical patient mortality.  JAMA, 290(12), 1617-1623.

Friese, C. R., Lake, E. T., Aiken, L. H., Silver, J. H. & Sochalski, J.  (2008). Hospital nurse practice environments and outcomes for surgical oncology patients.  Health Services Research, 43 (4), 1145-1163.

Tourangeau, A. E. et al.  (2007). Impact of hospital nursing care on 30-day mortality for acute medical patients.  Journal of Advanced Nursing, 57 (1), 32-44.

Benner, P., Sutphen, M., Leonard, V., & Day, L. (2010).  Educating nurses:  A call for radical transformation.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.