The List: Top rated nursing schools on the West Coast


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We’re on a weekly quest to spotlight the best nursing schools around the country  in the Nurse’s Guide to Nursing Schools. First we took a look at the best nursing schools in large cities, then small towns, and now we’re going to make our way around the country, starting on the West Coast.

Whether you crave the southern California sun or the adventurous spirit of the Pacific Northwest, there are schools large and small along the West Coast that can provide exactly what you need. Here are five of the best.

Additionally, if you’ve already been through nursing school, don’t forget to rate your own school or alma mater at The Nurse’s Guide to Nursing Schools and leave comments about your personal experience to help out those who may be thinking about following in your footsteps. Got a question about a school? Leave a comment on the school’s page and the Scrubs community will help find an answer.

1. Gonzaga University
Spokane, Wash.

Like many larger universities, Gonzaga offers a slew of nursing degrees, from a traditional four-year BSN to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). If you’re a working nurse looking to go back to school, all degrees except the BSN have online options. This includes RN to MSN, BSN to MSN and DNP.

Additionally, the university offers a Second Master’s Degree program. This is for RNs who already hold a master’s degree but want to add another specialty, and the program is also offered as an online curriculum.

2. Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, Calif.

One advantage of Loma Linda University School of Nursing is that it is directly across the street from Loma Linda University Medical Center, a tertiary-care teaching hospital with some of the largest clinical programs in the U.S.

The school offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs for students and nurses at all stages of their career. Specialties for nurse practitioner programs include Adult/Gerontology NP, Family NP, Pediatric NP and Psychiatric NP.

3. Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing
Portland, Ore.

OHSU also could have been on our big cities list since it’s situated in Portland, which has a metro population of 2.2 million people. The university sits on a hill overlooking the downtown area. However, the school also has smaller campuses in other cities around the state if that’s more your speed.

Additionally, six degree programs are offered at the school’s virtual campus, allowing students in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California to complete programs within an online community where they can interact with instructors and other students. The six programs offered in this environment are RN to BSN, Master’s Degree in Public Health, Master’s Degree in Nursing Education, Master’s Degree in Health Systems & Organizational Leadership, Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree and Doctor of Philosophy of Nursing (PhD) Degree.

4. San Jose State
San Jose, Calif.

San Jose State University offers a traditional BSN, as well as an option for RNs and LVNs to return to school to earn their bachelor’s degrees. The school also offers a joint doctoral program with California State University and Fresno State University known as the North Consortium (NorCal) of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

The school points out that the DNP is a practice-focused doctoral degree rather than a research-focused option. The program is 21 months long, though nurses can continue working full-time since the majority of the program is completed online. However, one to four days of “intensive” class days will be required every semester.

5. Seattle University
Seattle, Wash.

Another urban campus, Seattle University is located in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The College of Nursing is located in the center of campus in the university’s oldest building.

The nursing program is one of the oldest in the state of Washington, and offers BSN, MSN and DNP degrees. All three programs must be completed on campus, as there are no online options


We’ve just launched the The Nurse’s Guide to Nursing Schools to provide you, our nurses, with a ton of information for your nursing education decisions. Each week we’ll highlight schools with particularly high ratings, so be sure to visit Scrubs every week for The List.

Similar to how your favorite online directories work, each school listed in The Guide has a rating system and a comments section. While many nurses have weighed in so far, we need your help to make The Guide the best it can be. So head on over, tell us what you think of your current or former school and help us fill in the details! We want to hear from you! Ask your burning questions or rave about your amazing nurse team in the comments.


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