UT Health San Antonio’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is ranked 57th in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings of Graduate Degrees in Nursing, released March 31.
The School of Nursing’s DNP program tied with Michigan State University and the University of San Francisco among the 163 DNP programs evaluated for the 2022 rankings.
“We are very pleased with this ranking because it indicates the quality of the faculty and students in our program,” said School of Nursing Dean Eileen T. Breslin, PhD, RN, FAAN.
The DNP prepares graduates to manage nurses in the health care setting and to lead at the highest levels of the health care system, employing evidence-based practice and participating on interprofessional teams.
The School of Nursing launched its DNP program in 2012. As national standards progressed, the School of Nursing prepared to phase out its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and began admitting students to its newer Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)-to-DNP program in 2019.
As a result, the 2022 rankings are the first in which UT Health San Antonio’s DNP program includes its family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner tracks.
“In the 2021 rankings, our MSN program included those tracks and was ranked 55th out of 578 MSN programs. Because of this change in our degree program, the rankings from 2021 and 2022 cannot be compared directly,” explained Sara Gill, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean of graduate programs. The changes in the degree programs mirror national recommendations to improve the quality and safety of patient care, she added.
U.S. News said the 2022 rankings were based on surveys sent to 597 nursing schools with master’s and doctoral nursing programs. Two hundred twenty schools provided enough data for the overall rankings, including surveys from 220 schools for their master’s degree rankings and data from 163 schools for the DNP rankings. These schools are accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. For the DNP rankings, U.S. News focused on 14 indicators involving research activity, faculty resources, student excellence and qualitative rankings from experts.
National nursing initiatives
In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiated a partnership with the Institute of Medicine and other national organizations to improve the quality of health care for Americans. It’s 2009 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, offered new guidelines for the education of nurses. Among those guidelines were recommendations that at least 80% of nurses earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing by 2020 and that the number nurses attaining either a PhD or DNP degree be doubled.
“We are continuing to refine our curriculum and degree plans to support these national goals because they truly are the future of nursing,” added Dean Breslin, who served as president of the American Academy of Nursing from 2014 to 2016, when many of these guidelines were being implemented.
To see the rankings, visit https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools/dnp-rankings.