The List: Top rated small nursing schools


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We’ve spent the past weeks exploring some of the top nursing schools in the country as rated in our Nurse’s Guide to Nursing Schools. So far we’ve looked at different regions of the U.S., as well as schools in small towns and schools in big cities.

But we know that sometimes students are most concerned with the size of the school itself, so this week we’ll focus on small schools around the nation. We set a limit at 5,000 total students (including undergraduate and graduate) for these schools that can offer an intimate and close-knit campus life.

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. Maryville University of St. Louis
Town and Country, Mo.

Maryville University is located in the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country, Mo., a town of around 10,000 residents. The school has a total of enrollment of around 3,900 students. While both the town and the school provide intimate settings, the school is only a 25-minute drive to the well-known Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The university’s nursing program offers a variety of degree programs, from bachelor’s to DNP. Though the DNP is the only course offered online at the school, other alternative programs are available as well, such as a nights and weekend curriculum for working nurses seeking a BSN.

2. Rush University College of Nursing

If you want a small school in a large city, you may want to take a look at Rush University in Chicago. The school has a total enrollment of just over 2,000 students, and is right in the middle of one of the largest cities in America.

Degree options range from Direct Entry Master’s for Non-Nurses and Clinical Nurse Leader for RNs to DNP and PhD. The PhD program has two options, one for those with a master’s degree and another for those with a bachelor’s.

3. University of St. Francis
Joliet, Ill.

Moving out to the suburbs of Chicago we have the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill. The total enrollment of the school is just under 3,500, while the city is the fourth largest in Illinois with a population of almost 150,000.

For undergraduate students, the university offers a traditional, four-year BSN degree, as well as two accelerated RN to BSN options: One online and the other that is competed in conjunction with Joliet Junior College. Grad programs include a DNP degree and a MSN, both of which are offered online.

4. Anderson University
Anderson, Ind.

Anderson University is located about half an hour from Indianapolis in Anderson, Ind., a town of around 60,000. The total enrollment at the school, which is affiliated with the Church of God, is almost 2,300.

The school also offers an RN to BSN program, as well as a traditional, four-year BSN. The nursing program also offers a few master’s options including a unique MSN/MBA dual degree program that focuses on business knowledge of the healthcare industry.

5. Lourdes College
Sylvania, Ohio

Lourdes College sits on a 113-acre campus in the small town of Sylvania, Ohio. Just over 2,600 students attend the college, and the town has a total population of less than 20,000 residents.

The College of Nursing features a variety of BSN program options, including Nurse Aide to BSN, LPN to BSN and RN to BSN. Additionally, the master’s program at the school offers specialities including Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator and Nurse Leader.


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