As part of its 2022 Best Colleges ranking published on September 13, US News and World Report a – for the first time in ranking history – included a special section on the best Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) programs. The University of Pennsylvania won first place for the best BSN program in the country.
To be eligible for ranking, nursing programs had to have received baccalaureate-level accreditation either by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or by the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education. In addition, they must belong to regionally accredited universities that awarded at least 35 BSN degrees in 2018-2019.
The rankings themselves were determined by one factor: the average score based on the opinions of top academics and heads of nursing schools or departments. According to US News, “These managers rated the overall quality of BSN undergraduate programs they were aware of on a scale of 1 to 5.”
The surveys were conducted in the spring and summer of 2021, deans and faculty members were asked to rate the academic quality of BSN programs from peer institutions on the following scale: outstanding (5), strong (4 ), good (3), adequate (2) or marginal (1).
US News has been criticized for using a survey of similar reputation as one of the 17 metrics it uses to rank colleges and universities. Basing a ranking methodology on this one measure alone – as has been done with nursing programs – will certainly raise further objections. On the one hand, it will be considered too subjective. And it will also be questioned for excluding objective measures such as the results of licensing exams, internships and professional achievements.
US News has classified undergraduate nursing programs at 694 schools. The full list can be found here. The top five BSN programs were:
1. University of Pennsylvania
2. Duke University and University of Washington (tied)
4. Emory University, University of Michigan and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Of the 18 universities with a top 10 nursing program (there were several ties in the ranking), 13 were housed in public institutions. This contrasts sharply with US News‘Ranking of the best national universities, where only one public university – UCLA – managed to rank in the top 20. Part of the difference is that public universities are more likely to be the homes of major academic health centers as well. compared to private establishments.
The decision to include for the first time a single ranking of nursing programs reflected both the prevalence of nursing programs across the country as well as concerns about nursing shortages that have been exacerbated by the pandemic of coronavirus.
“Nursing is a very popular and important area of health care and it is one of the largest undergraduate programs,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at US News is quoted as having said MedPage today in an email. “Nurses play many key roles in the healthcare system and have been indispensable during the coronavirus pandemic. “
US News also indicted that the new BSN list comes at a time when enrollments in nursing programs have increased. The list joins several other discipline-specific rankings at the undergraduate level, such as computer science, engineering, and business. Additional News from the United States’ Rankings for graduate nursing programs and nursing specialties can be viewed here.