Cuomo announces proposal to provide nurses with priority admission to SUNY and CUNY programs

Emanuela Gallo, News Editor

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to give New York nurses priority access to SUNY and CUNY programs on Jan. 10 during his 2021 State of the State address.

This legislation would allow the 40,000 licensed nurses and nursing candidates to fulfill their required baccalaureate credentials at either of the state’s public university systems. If passed, it would begin in fall 2021.

“Health care workers showed up every day to help keep us safe,” Cuomo said. “They worked tirelessly to save thousands of lives, all while putting their own lives at risk … We’re giving these COVID heroes priority to the greatest university system in the world, to complete their degrees and continue to do what they have done best throughout this pandemic: keep us all safe.”

Nurses must maintain licensure by NYS in order to continue practicing.

To do so, all those graduating from an associate degree or diploma nursing programs must complete a Baccalaureate of Science degree in nursing within 10 years of initial licensure.

The law, referred to as “BSN in 10,” was passed by Cuomo in 2017 to increase the level of education for nurses, elevating the profession and quality of patient care.

Both SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras and CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez praised Cuomo’s decision.

“Within the darkest moments caused by this pandemic, our healthcare professionals have been an inspiration to us all for their heroic and selfless efforts as they provide life-saving care,” Malatras said. “Governor Cuomo’s proposal to provide priority access for New York’s licensed nurses is exactly what we need to strengthen and protect our healthcare system. SUNY stands ready to meet the Governor’s challenge.”

Matos Rodriguez agreed.

“The nurses on the frontlines have been nothing short of heroic in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus,” he said. “Governor Cuomo’s proposal will enable these brave professionals to complete their studies at first-class institutions and continue their life-saving work.”

Baruch College students echoed these sentiments in a Google survey shared on social media by The Ticker. Three students have responded as of press time.

“This would have a positive impact on the community since patients will be in the care of better educated nurses,” sophomore Anmol Kaur said. “Also nurses will get the chance to continue their education, which they may not have been able to do before in such vigorous programs.”

Another student shared similar thoughts.

“This is positive because nurses will have more knowledge and be better prepared to serve their communities,” Andreea Pirvulesca, a finance major, said.

One student observed some of the negative impacts this legislation could have.

Victoria Ung, a public affairs major, brought up how a strained budget could make funding both this initiative and other services difficult.

“While nurses have shown their heroic efforts during this pandemic and rightly deserve more programs for their work especially in times of need, some may argue that we wouldn’t have the proper funding to support these programs,” she said. “With a tight budget and the cut in funding in different areas, legislators would have to negotiate on how this would be in place.”

Pirvulesca also observed how priority access to nurses will affect other applicants to SUNY and CUNY programs.

“There might be less admission spots available for high school graduates, meaning there would be more competition among high school applicants,” she said.