Cuomo wants to give nurses priority access to SUNY, CUNY programs to continue their education

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In this Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, photo provided by Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, registered nurse Starla Garcia prepares a coronavirus vaccine in Chinle, Ariz., for someone who enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccine trials on the Navajo Nation and initially received a placebo. (Nina Mayer Ritchie/Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing legislation that would provide New York nurses priority access to SUNY and CUNY programs. Under the proposal, licensed nurses and nursing candidates will receive priority admission to all SUNY and CUNY programs across the state beginning in the fall of 2021 to fulfill baccalaureate credentials and continue practicing.

“Health care workers showed up every day to help keep us safe. They worked tirelessly to save thousands of lives, all while putting their own lives at risk. When I asked them to step up, they did so blindly. They knew the risks and they still came to work every day to protect the rest of us. Many put their lives on hold to help.” Governor Cuomo said. “They had our back, now we must have theirs. 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.”

BSN in 10 was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2017 to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years of becoming a nurse to maintain licensure by the State. SUNY and CUNY will work with campuses to implement priority access for eligible candidates allowing the priority access to SUNY and CUNY nursing programs which will allow the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates who are required by law to complete their baccalaureate credentials access to quality and affordable education within the state.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “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. This is especially true of our nurses who are the heartbeat of healthcare. 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.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said, “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the selfless health care workers who throughout this terrifying pandemic have saved the lives of countless of our family members, friends and neighbors while courageously risking their own. The nurses on the frontlines have been nothing short of heroic in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus. Governor Cuomo’s proposal will enable these brave professionals to complete their studies at first-class institutions and continue their life-saving work.”   

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