School of Nursing named Nursing School of the Year for graduate degree program

The Southern University School of Nursing was recently honored as the “2021 Nursing School of the Year, Graduate Degree Program,” by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation. The honor was bestowed upon the School during the annual Nightingale Awards Gala held on Oct. 22. The gala was held virtually this year due to COVID-19.

“Receiving this award amid a global pandemic makes it extra special,” said Sandra Brown, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health at Southern. “It illuminates the talents, the commitment, and the sacrifices that our faculty and staff make to provide a quality education for our students.”

The award recognizes a school of nursing offering formal education for registered nurses seeking a graduate degree for advanced clinical practice roles as well as nursing administration, nursing education and research.

Established in 1986, the School of Nursing at Southern currently offers four degrees: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialty in family health; the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a major in nursing; and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). 

The BSN program has produced more than 2,355 RNs since its inception. The MSN program, which began in 1992, has produced more than 489 graduates, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, with an average pass rate of 95 percent on the national certification exam (exceeding the national average).

The School of Nursing is the largest producer of Black MSN graduates, accounting for nearly three-fourths of all Black family nurse practitioners residing in the state of Louisiana, thereby fulfilling a significant role in building a diverse nursing workforce that is representative of the population of care. Of the 328 accredited MSN (FNP) programs nationwide, the School of Nursing was selected as one of the two best value programs in the state of Louisiana for 2019-2020. Programs were selected based on their affordability, quality, and value.

The graduate nursing program expanded in 2012 to fulfill its promise to build a stronger and more diverse advanced practiced registered nurse (APRN) workforce in Louisiana and has produced 30 DNP graduates since its inception. This practice-focused doctoral nursing program is designed for nurses seeking careers in advanced clinical nursing practice at the nurse executive leadership rank.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program, a research-oriented doctorate, focuses on global issues and public policy associated with the health of vulnerable women and children. The program prepares nurse scientists whose research trajectories expand the substantive knowledge base that informs nursing education, practice and research. Since its establishment in 2001, the Ph.D. program has produced 45 graduates.  

Graduate faculty consists of nationally recognized educators, researchers and expert clinicians who are transforming health care and influencing policy. Graduate faculty are involved in various professional entities, including the National League for Nursing, Certified Nurse Educators, American Academy of Nursing, American Academy of Nurse Educators, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, National Gerontological Nursing Association, and the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. These faculty maintain specialty certifications, and hold leadership positions in local, state, and national professional nursing organizations. Additionally, faculty hold board positions in nursing and healthcare organizations. This is the fifth time that the School of Nursing has been chosen as Nursing School/Program of the Year. Southern was also selected as Nursing School/Program of the Year in 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2017. Anissa Leachman Stover is the interim chairperson of the graduate nursing program.

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