There is a rumor at my college that it soon will be a requirement to have a four-year degree to become an RN. Is there any truth to this?
There has been a recommendation for some time that nurses advance their education to the baccalaureate degree and higher degree levels.
As an example, in 2013, the Joint Statement on Academic Progression for Nursing Students and Graduates promoted academic progression in nursing. The statement was endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community Colleges Trustees and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing. In addition, in May of 2010, the Tri-Council for Nursing, composed of the AACN, the American Nurses Association and the NLN, published its consensus statement, Educational Advancement of Registered Nurses, calling for all RNs to advance their education.
To date, no state has passed a requirement making a baccalaureate degree mandatory for licensure as an RN. Whether this will happen in the future remains to be seen. However, whether a requirement for licensure or not, there is no doubt that nurses who have baccalaureate and higher degrees are better prepared to meet the demands of patient care in all settings. One study done in 2008 by nurse researcher Linda Aiken found that every 10% increase in the proportion of BSN nurses on the hospital staff was associated with a 4% decrease in the risk of death [of patients], according to AACN.
It sounds as though you are enrolled in a baccalaureate nursing program. Good for you. But as you know, learning is lifelong, so you will want to consider an advanced degree in the near future. Doing so will allow you many opportunities to practice nursing in unique and exciting ways and provide your patients with excellent care.