Learn excellence in professional care at these leading nursing schools in the US

Nurses form a critical part of the healthcare ecosystem.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) notes that nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with over 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. They add that nurses are the primary providers of hospital patient care and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care. 

Their contributions cannot be underestimated – To have a shortage of nurses can be crippling to society’s well-being.

All these explain why their services are highly in demand today and extend beyond public and private healthcare practices. Nurses are acutely needed in public health agencies, home health care, schools, universities and even commercial organisations too.

This is echoed by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics which notes that employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

This growth will be spurred further by several factors – Preventive care is increasingly emphasised, chronic conditions are growing in volume and ageing populations will be needing more specialised care as they live longer lives.

These current and future healthcare demands make it an opportune time for aspiring nurses who are looking to enhance their career to take the next big leap. 

Here are three US universities preparing future generations of nurses and nurse leaders for a promising future ahead:


The GW School of Nursing stands out for numerous reasons.

Chief among them are its quality courses, a faculty that’s active in practice and access to state-of-the-art facilities.

To study here is to do so in a school with a wealth of experience too. Spring 2020 marks the school’s 10-year anniversary. In the past decade, it has achieved many successes, including recruiting renowned faculty, receiving national recognition for their graduate programmes and launching innovative academic initiatives.

The school’s courses span a variety of levels and types. For instance, the school offers several options for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programme, including the Accelerated BSN, Veterans BSN and Online RN-BSN.

Meanwhile, the school’s Master of Science in Nursing programme is ranked by the US News & World Report as the sixth best online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programme nationwide.

This master’s programme follows a hybrid approach, combining online courses with in-person training in simulation centres and by faculty that are industry leaders. Students can choose from six specialisations, including the MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and the MSN: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Alternatively, professionals seeking a practice-focused doctorate designed to prepare experts in advanced nursing practice will find the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programme ideal. It emphasises key nursing practice competencies and innovation, with several options for different fields of study in clinical practice, policy and leadership.

Those who want to gravitate to an academic or research role can enrol in the PhD in Nursing. Candidates will work closely with the school’s research faculty who conduct clinical, educational and health services research. Additionally, they will also take part in an executive-format programme with carefully developed on-campus, learning-intensive weekends with weekly online experiences.


Duke University’s School of Nursing (DUSON) is among the top nursing schools in the US, with their rankings attesting their prowess. For instance, they’re ranked the second best graduate nursing school and second best DNP programme in the 2020 edition of the US News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.

The School offers a variety of nursing programmes for students of various backgrounds and is committed to providing the best educational environment for the development of nursing leaders. DUSON prides itself on leading and accelerating nursing science via its research, which plays a critical role in advancing healthcare.

In a similar vein, many of their faculty conduct cutting-edge research and test interventions to improve the health of those with chronic illness or test innovative models for clinical care. Many others are actively involved in practice in their specialty area, such as heart disease, diabetes and at-risk neonates.

A number of academic programmes are offered here. For instance, the Accelerated BSc in Nursing Programme is a second degree programme for students who have completed an undergraduate degree and the required prerequisites. It is a full-time and campus-based course that lasts for 16 months. Students will focus on health, wellness and disease prevention, clinical leadership, evidence-based nursing practice and culturally-relevant care.  

Meanwhile, their MSN programme offers eight advanced practice majors and three non-clinical majors. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students also have the option of adding a specialty to their course of study, and can choose from 11 majors which are offered as distance-based or online programmes. 

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in advanced nursing practice or hold a Master’s in advanced nursing practice, the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programme is ideal. It will equip you with the skills and tools to assess published evidence to inform your practice, improve systems of care to influence patient outcomes and make changes to enhance care quality, when needed. 


The University of Michigan’s School of Nursing’s (UMSN) is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Its programmes are structured as pathways to careers in advanced clinical practice, leadership in health care organisations, informatics and research. 

Their academic programmes fuse the critical study of theory with challenging clinical practice. This is supported by their state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Center and partnerships with some of the best clinical mentor-preceptors in the country. 

Further attesting UMSN’s quality is its rankings.

For the second year in a row, UMSN is ranked as the eighth best Master’s programme in the country for 2020, tied with Rush University and Vanderbilt Universities. In addition, four specific UMSN graduate programmes are ranked in the top 20, including the DNP (14th), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (10th), Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner (ninth) and Nursing Administration (ninth). 

The courses offered here include the BSc in Nursing, MSc in Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. UMSN’s programmes have been developed and continually honed by relevant thought leaders in nursing for over 127 years, further adding to the School’s appeal. 

They have a network of world-renowned faculty, along with more than 13,000 alumni around the world, affording students access to the knowledge and mentorship necessary to advance their careers.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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