By Josephine Reid
Nursing is among the fastest-growing fields, and it has a robust job market, which makes it very attractive to people in search of a new or first career. In the U.S., there is an abundance of exceptional nursing programs available, both online and traditional. Some programs offer affordability and others a prestigious education experience.
Columbia UniversityThe university stands apart from many schools due in part to its fantastic pre-Revolutionary War architecture. Built before the war and moved several times, Columbia University has locations all over New York City, some of which are hundreds of years old. Originally residing in Trinity Church, then Park Place, Columbia University moved to its current location in Morningside Heights in 1897. On the campus is the Cathedral of St. John, Grant’s Tomb, Union Theological School, and more – all works of exceedingly beautiful architecture that just adds to the serene beauty of the campus.
Columbia University boasts cutting-edge technology that helps with their groundbreaking research into all different fields. Currently, Columbia is conducting research into memory, cancer treatments, and even economic theory. It is one of the leading research universities in the world, well-known for its previous findings and discoveries.
The university also has a staff of world-class professors and doctors leading the school into its future. Lee Bollinger is the current president of the university, in addition to being a nationally renowned supporter of the First Amendment. He is the 19th president of the college. Other faculty members include published authors, famous researchers, and more. There are many reasons why a student should choose Columbia over other universities, the least of which is its location. Situated in the heart of New York City, there are endless opportunities for adventure everywhere and not just academic adventures. New York is the city that never sleeps, and there is always something happening just around the corner. That alone draws many people to the city, and as a result, to the university.
Another reason is the “Core Curriculum” of Columbia University. These are a set of courses required for all undergraduates at the university and considered necessary enough knowledge that everyone is required to take them. Unlike other core curricula at other universities, though, Columbia’s core is unique. All students taking it take the same classes and go over the same material simultaneously, and this experience brings the entirety of the undergraduate class closer together. It is an experiment in liberal higher education, this curriculum focuses largely on oral debate and questions the big things in life – what does it mean to be human, where did humans come from, etc. This style of learning began early in the 20th century and has seen much success in that time.
Columbia University also has the opportunity for exciting internships in all fields, so students will be able to gain work experience while they are still learning. The internships teach them a deeper level of their field, letting the students get hands-on with the material and to see their knowledge in action before they take their first steps into proper employment. This particularly applies to the nursing programs at Columbia University, which helps to combat the problem of having no experience when exiting college. This makes students who graduate in the nursing program even more appealing to potential employers.
Columbia University has a lot to offer any prospective student and is truly a wonderful school. With the opportunities presented to the students, in addition to its architecture, the world-class staff and facilities, and the sheer number of programs of study.
University of PennsylvaniaIf you’ve always dreamed of attending an Ivy League University, but you also want a nursing degree, the University of Pennsylvania may be your best option. Although the school’s many top accolades and rankings tend to focus on the graduate nursing department (likely something to do with the $480 million it receives annually from the NIH), UPenn is one of the few Ivy League institutions with an undergraduate nursing program. With strengths at both levels, UPenn is without a doubt one of the best nursing schools in the country.
University of VirginiaUniversity of Virginia Main Campus strength is rural healthcare. To date, UVA is the first and only nursing school funded by the NIH to create a center devoted to rural mental health research. This institute, dubbed the Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center, is also home to a specialized Rural Health Center that is also NIH-funded. Graduates of this top nursing school easily find work – both within the state and in the nearby Appalachia region – and fill much-needed positions providing healthcare to underserved populations.
California State University-Long BeachThe current state of advanced health practitioners is increasingly adopting a “wellness-based” attitude over an “illness-based” one. At California State University-Long Beach’s nursing school, baccalaureate and graduate nursing students learn to implement this perspective of wellness, evaluating the quality of life and experience of their patients on equal footing with immediate health concerns. CSU-Long Beach’s graduate curriculum is also unique in that is tailored towards the needs of working students. A hybrid format combines bi-weekly on-campus classes (mostly Tuesdays and Thursdays) with distance courses, giving students confidence that their studies won’t interfere with their careers.
Johns Hopkins UniversityLocated in Maryland, Johns Hopkins’ School of Nursing is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by the likes of U.S. News, Princeton Review, Forbes, and more. It also tops the list of funding recipients of the National Institute of Health (among nursing schools, that is). This reputation naturally allows Johns Hopkins to attract the best and the brightest in terms of both faculty and students, making it a highly competitive environment with very high stakes. All told, Johns Hopkins is also home to some of the most innovative research ventures in the field and features some of the most extensive nursing outreach programs in the world. In fact, its network of clinics spans more than 40 clinics throughout Baltimore.
Stony Brook UniversityWith a nearly 90% graduate pass rate on the NCLEX-RN, Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York is clearly in the business of creating competent nursing professionals. For working nurses who have already earned their professional licensure, Stony Brook also provides a comprehensive range of advanced specializations in administration and practice. From nursing education and leadership to pediatric care, neonatal nursing, and even midwifery, master’s students at Stony Brook can find a way to narrow and hone their nursing focus to advance both their skills and careers.
Georgetown UniversityGeorgetown’s School of Nursing in Washington, DC now features some of the most exciting resources available to nursing students anywhere in the world. At the undergraduate level, BSN students make regular use of the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center’s robotic mannequin, which actually replicates physiological symptoms and responses in a controlled environment. For more experienced and research-oriented graduate students, Georgetown’s Discovery Center encourages interdisciplinary collaboration with a Health Science Lab and Molecular and Cell Biology research facilities.
Northeastern UniversityBoston has one of the highest concentrations of hospitals and medical centers in any metropolitan area, which means there is a very high demand for a variety of nursing specialists. If you are looking to find your niche in the Boston healthcare area, look no further than Northeastern University: with over 10 graduate specializations in nursing, including adult acute and/or primary care, neonatal and/or pediatric nursing, nurse anesthesia, and even a dual MS/MBA program, there’s no limit to what an ambitious student can each achieve at this nationally acclaimed university.
The University of Texas at AustinThe University of Texas at Austin is consistently ranked among the best public research universities in the country. It is home to the 13th best nursing school in the nation, as reported by U.S. News. In addition to providing a comprehensive nursing program across undergraduate and graduate divisions, UT Austin is particularly well-regarded for its stellar outreach initiatives. This includes the Wellness Center and Disaster Relief program, which the school launched in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.
Nova Southeastern UniversityThere are over 1,300 registered nursing students online and in various locations around the state of Florida. For example, their high-tech simulation lab, which provides hands-on clinical experience in a classroom setting. Or consider their wide range of Master of Science in Nursing specializations, including Health System Leadership and Nursing Informatics. And don’t forget their flexible scheduling, which offers coursework through online and multi-location classroom formats. All in all, Nova Southeastern University accomplishes an impressive goal: the ability to cater to a variety of student needs while still providing a quality of education on par with many of the best nursing schools in the country.
University of West GeorgiaAt the University of West Georgia’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing – one of the best nursing schools in the country by a good measure – students at all levels enjoy the resources they need to succeed in their personal and professional goals. In addition to enjoying an impressive 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate for BSN graduates, UWG also provides both BSN and MSN candidates alike with virtual distance learning programs to accommodate their commute and work schedules. And though most universities would stop there, UWG truly meets its commitment to students at all levels, courtesy of the Advanced Academy of Georgia. This great initiative is one of the only residential educational programs in the country that caters to high-performing high school juniors and seniors.
I'm Josephine Reid and I work at Dressamed.com headquarters in Los Angeles. I have a B.S. in Retail Merchandising and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I like to keep a beautiful balance of a creativity and business mindset.