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Top Graduate Nursing Schools in the US for 2020

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By Frieda Paton, M.Cur, RN

The School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University achieved the distinction of being ranked top for both its Master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for 2020.  This was in the U.S. News’ recently released rankings of graduate programs in nursing.

Top nursing schools

The top three nursing schools on the lists were:

Best nursing schools for Master’s program

  • #1 Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, MD
  • #2 Duke University
    Durham, NC
  • #3 University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA

Doctor of Nursing Practice programs

  • #1 Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, MD
  • #2 Duke University (tie)
    Durham, NC
  • #2 Rush University
    Chicago, IL

Best online nursing programs

  • #1 Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, MD
  • #2 Ohio State University
    Columbus, OH
  • #3 St. Xavier University
    Chicago, IL

Best Nursing-Anesthesia (CRNA) schools

  • #1 Virginia Commonwealth University
    Richmond, VA
  • #2 Baylor College of Medicine
    Houston, TX
  • #3 Duke University
    Durham, NC

Johns Hopkins University also ranked first for the best online graduate nursing programs, second for their program in Nursing Administration and in the top five for five different nursing specialties. Ohio State University, Columbus, ranked second for online programs and St. Xavier University in Chicago ranked third.

How the rankings were determined

All 584 nursing schools accredited for graduate programs were included in the US News survey. Eventually, the required data was available for 253 masters and 183 DNP programs. The rankings are based on weighted and standardized scores on 14 indicators.

Differently weighted indicators covered assessment of the quality of the program based on factors such as a peer rating by deans of nursing schools and graduate studies; the undergraduate GPA of students admitted to the program; and the size of the programs.

Faculty resources were also considered, including the student-to-faculty ratio, the number of faculties qualified at the doctoral level and their participation in nursing practice. In addition, research activity at the school of nursing was incorporated in the scoring.

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Currently, the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University has 76 full-time faculty and 775 nurses are enrolled in their graduate programs. It is one of the oldest schools of nursing in the US. It became part of the Johns Hopkins University in 1984 after a long struggle started in the early 1900s by prominent nurse leader Mary Adelaide Nutting.

The nursing training program at John Hopkins Hospital was introduced in 1889 and Nutting was one of its first group of graduates. Within a few years, she was in charge of the program and eventually pioneered far-reaching reforms in nursing education throughout the US.

All the rankings and nursing school information

U.S. News list of best graduate nursing schools for 2020 provides the rankings of the top three-quarters of the schools and links for further information about each one. You can also search graduate school rankings, based on the peer reviews, for masters and doctoral programs in different nursing specialties.

Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

2 thoughts on “Top Graduate Nursing Schools in the US for 2020”

  1. I write this comment from the heart…I am currently a nursing student. I entered the journey long ago. Along the way I ask myself many questions. I enter nursing with an entry level job as a CNA. As the end of 2023 arrives, I open my laptop here comes Nurseslabs for 24 and beyond. The answer to the calling came. Thank God for Nurseslabs, I am going to keep on. Thanks for being here. Link up. I am going back to the program with Nurseslabs on my side. The help arrived and I thank God for this site. Keep on nursing out there!!! Being a CNA was all in the plan. The profession is life changing. I see the patient care plan. “Hello good afternoon My name is K. Taylor and I will be the nurse taking care of you today. With patience as I learn about my patient (s) I provide care with a gentle smile. I am in pursuit.”

    • Wow, what a journey you’ve had! From starting as a CNA to now diving into nursing school, that’s some serious dedication. Super happy to hear that Nurseslabs has been a part of your adventure.

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      Glad to know we’re riding along with you as you head back into the program. If you ever need a hand or just want to chat about nursing stuff, I’m all ears. Keep rocking it, and remember, you’re doing amazing work!

      Cheers to your nursing pursuit!


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