New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the “BSN in 10” mandate on Monday, requiring newly licensed registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing within a decade of their licensure.

Currently licensed nurses, or those already enrolled in a nursing program, are exempt from the requirement. New nursing program students must earn their BSN within 10 years of licensure, although waivers might be granted for extenuating circumstances.

New York is the only U.S. state to make earning a BSN a requirement for licensed registered nurses. The BSN in 10 bill originally was introduced in the New York Assembly in 2009.

A similar bill was introduced in the New Jersey Assembly in 2014 and remains under consideration.

The law emerged from a 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine, the Future of Nursing. That report recommended that by 2020, at least 80 percent of registered nurses should have BSN degrees.

Research supports the notion that baccalaureate education improves patient outcomes. A 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Francisco School of Nursing found that hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, fewer decubitus ulcers, less failure to rescue, less postoperative deep vein thrombosis and fewer occurrences of pulmonary embolism.

The study also found that the length of stay was reduced for patients at hospitals with a greater percentage of RNs who had earned BSN degrees, MSN degrees and/or doctorates.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects nursing jobs to increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. While many entry-level positions still require only a two- or three-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), the BLS reports that higher-paying positions (nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, physician assistant) often require an MSN.

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