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Rutgers School of Nursing jumps into nation's Top 25 in latest U.S. News ranking

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Rutgers University's College of Nursing and UMDNJ's School of Nursing merged into the Rutgers School of Nursing in 2014.
Rutgers University's College of Nursing and UMDNJ's School of Nursing merged into the Rutgers School of Nursing in 2014. - ()

The Rutgers School of Nursing has risen to No. 25 in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate nursing programs, up from 79 in 2011, a jump that reflects last year's integration into Rutgers of the nursing school of the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

William Holzemer, dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing, called the integration a "transformative" moment for the school that is reflected in its new ranking.

“The ranking is a wonderful statement that we moved through the integration and that it is working,” Holzemer said. “And we are coming out much stronger than in the past.”

Holzemer said the consolidation of the two nursing schools represented the most significant transition in nursing education in the United States.

“People have been watching us and now see us not only as a prestigious school for undergraduate training, but also for advanced clinical practice and nursing science as well. Our profession knows about the integration,” he said.

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The University of Pennsylvania took first place on the U.S. News nursing list, which came out this week, followed by Johns Hopkins University in second place and the University of California, San Francisco, third.

UMDNJ was broken up under a 2013 state law that moved most of its medical education programs, including medical schools in Newark and New Brunswick, into Rutgers.

Two other New Jersey nursing schools are also ranked by U.S. News and World Report: Seton Hall University in South Orange, No. 72, and Monmouth University in West Long Branch, No. 161.

The U.S. News Best Nursing Schools rankings website said 503 nursing schools with master’s or doctoral programs accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing were surveyed. Of those, 273 responded, and 246 were found to be eligible for inclusion in the U.S. News rankings of master's programs.

The College of Nursing at Rutgers and the School of Nursing at UMDNJ in Newark were consolidated and became the Rutgers School of Nursing in 2014 — a year after the official integration of the two universities.

Rutgers said combining the resources of the two nursing schools “has helped strengthen nursing education and patient care.” A new division of nursing science was created, uniting a doctoral program in nursing and a doctoral program in urban systems. And Rutgers said a new community clinical practice initiative is bringing together several services, such as community health centers and a mobile clinic, “to maximize their impact on health in urban communities.”

Rutgers said the integration created one of the largest nursing schools in the country, with about 115 full-time faculty members, 1,829 undergraduate and graduate students, and 10,710 alumni.

The U.S. News nursing school rankings are based on an analysis of programs at 246 nursing schools, which included surveys of deans regarding quality of master’s programs; an assessment of nursing students entering master’s programs; ratios of full-time master’s students to full-time faculty; the academic achievements of full-time faculty members; and the total of National Institutes of Health and other federal research and teaching grants as well as average grants per full-time faculty.

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