The standard for ranking nursing schools is U.S. News and World Report, which asks deans, administrators, and faculty members to evaluate other schools based on the quality of academic programs and how well students are prepared for a career in nursing. Professionals who hire new graduates also are surveyed to help create the list of the best nursing schools.
There are two more common levels of nurses: ADN (Associate Degree Nurses 2 years of study), and BSN (Bachelor of Science Nurses 4 years of study. Accelerated programs are available for both degrees, especially if you have college credits or a degree in another field. Those with bachelor’s degrees can expect to make more money the national average for a BSN is $52,000 and advance to supervisory or management positions more quickly than those with an ADN.
In its most recent rankings for the top nursing schools, U.S. News and World Report put the University of Washington in Seattle at the top of the list, followed by the University of California-San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Nursing.
Close behind were the Oregon Health and Science University, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the University of Pittsburgh, and Yale University. A total of 395 college nursing programs were examined in the ranking process.
The University of Washington School of Nursing has ranked Number 1 since 1984, when the first national survey on the best nursing schools was conducted (U.S. News and World Report began its rankings in 1993). What sets it apart from the other schools is a good guide to use when choosing what nursing school you wish to attend.
The University of Washington has partnerships with local hospitals that provide on-the-job training, which is perhaps the most important part of learning to become a nurse. Pick a school that is close to at least one good hospital and has an active training program. Other important factors to consider are research opportunities, nursing board passing rates, and class.