In the newly released 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has remained ranked among the best schools in the nation for its overall Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, out of 603 accredited nursing schools surveyed.
The MSN Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option, the only such program in Maryland, is ranked No. 2 in the nation for the second year in a row. The program has been ranked among the top five in the nation for more than five years. Launched in 2005, UMSON’s innovative CNL program has prepared more than 1,000 students with degrees in other fields to enter the nursing workforce.
The School’s Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) DNP specialty rose in the nationwide rankings to No. 4 among all schools of nursing and No. 1 among public schools of nursing. The specialty is offered in Baltimore and at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md., in an effort to expand FNP education to better meet the needs of nurses and to prepare them to practice in underserved areas in the western, more rural portion of the state. The program boasts a 100 percent pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board exam for its 2019 graduates.
Among public schools of nursing, UMSON also ranked No. 1 in the nation in the DNP Administrative/Management category (No. 7 among all public and private schools) and the DNP Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (No. 8 among all schools). In the MSN Nursing Administration category, UMSON ranked No. 4 among public schools of nursing and No. 11 among all schools.
With the 2021 rankings, U.S. News is no longer ranking a number of specialty areas and has chosen to rank many nurse practitioner programs only at the master’s level. Such previously top-ranked UMSON programs include the Nursing Informatics master’s specialty, which was ranked No. 1 for the entire period the organization ranked such programs; the Nurse Anesthesia DNP specialty; the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner DNP specialty; and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner–Family DNP specialty.
UMSON launched its DNP program in 2006, as one of only 20 such programs in the nation at that time. Subsequently, in response to national recommendations from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and others to provide nurse practitioner education at the doctoral level, UMSON transitioned its advanced practice nursing programs from the master’s to the doctoral level.
“It is gratifying to continue to be recognized nationally for our master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The School of Nursing continues to play a vital role in state and national efforts to increase the number of nurses with advanced degrees, which we believe is essential to ensuring that nurses are well prepared to meet the needs of our communities as our health care system becomes increasingly complex, provides care across a broad array of sites, and responds to the growing diversity of our population and the increasing number of older individuals in need of care.”
Rankings are based on a variety of indicators, including student selectivity and program size, faculty resources, and research activity, and on survey data from deans of schools of nursing that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.