Advancing Graduate Nursing Education Through Innovative Programs

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As the demand for more nurses with advanced degrees increases, so does enrollment in graduate nursing programs. Because of this, graduate nursing schools are revamping their programs, curricula, and facilities to attract students interested in furthering their education. Here are some that are doing so through innovative programs and practices.


The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the few schools of nursing in the U.S. to host a dedicated nursing research lab focused on explorations by faculty from diverse disciplines, such as nursing, pharmacy, cardiology, environmental sciences, physiology, and more. At any given time, students in nursing, pre-med, and engineering are likely to be working together with researchers on projects that run the gamut from physiology and nutrition to metabolism and neuroscience.


University of Maryland School of Nursing
A renowned leader in graduate nursing education, the University of Maryland School of Nursing offers quality graduate programs (CNL, MS, DNP, and PhD) that provide students with the opportunity to study a wide range of nursing specialties. The school partners with a variety of healthcare agencies in the state of Maryland to offer quality clinical experiences for students, and courses are taught by leading experts in practice, research, and education. To meet the needs of its diverse student body, the School of Nursing offers courses in face-to-face, blended formats, making use of the most advanced technology in learning and simulation.


Florida State University College of Nursing
Today’s healthcare professionals have to be able to provide culturally competent care to patients from around the world. To facilitate this endeavor, the Florida State University (FSU) College of Nursing’s graduate program provides students with opportunities to practice global healthcare in a culturally competent manner by incorporating real-world experiences into its curriculum. Through its “Exploring Grief, Loss, and Trauma in British Culture” course, students have the opportunity to learn about multicultural responses to grief, loss, and trauma. Also, in collaboration with the FSU College of Medicine, students in the nurse practitioner program can travel to Nicaragua and provide medical services to citizens who do not have access to healthcare. While there, students diagnose and treat local citizens for a variety of health-related issues.


Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
At the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, graduate programs turn out not just great leaders, but good teammates as well. In the school’s doctoral programs — as well as its master of science in nursing entry into nursing practice and advanced nursing practice tracks — students are drilled on interprofessional cooperation, patient safety, quality of care, and evidence-based practice by nursing faculty, whose evidence continues to establish the norms in those areas. Graduates are prepared to treat anyone, anywhere in the world. Adult gerontology curricula, for instance, focus on innovative, non-pharmacological treatment of dementia and addressing lifelong substance abuse issues. HIV curricula address not only the act of caring, but also its psychological barriers. In addition, students confront their own preconceptions about people they will eventually serve.


University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing graduate students can hone clinical skills through innovative, interactive case studies — online modules that follow a practitioner through a clinical scenario that allows for input and immediate feedback. In addition, clinical intensives provide students experience with high-fidelity simulators, providing a safe environment for practice. The college’s extremely talented graduate faculty boasts many awards in innovation and excellence in teaching and research. UC College of Nursing is also part of a major Academic Health Center, allowing for an interprofessional education and strong partnership with some of the nation’s highest-ranked healthcare institutions. UC College of Nursing is a 2015 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recipient.


University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
For 75-plus years, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing has led the evolution of nursing education and research in response to the needs of society and patients. Pitt Nursing offers rigorous academic programs grounded in leading-edge research, preparing students for evidence-based practice. The school created specialty-focused doctor of nursing practice programs to ensure students have appropriate clinical skills and comprehensive knowledge of the evidence base in specific practice areas. Students benefit from the school’s strong links to world-class clinical systems, as well as the many research institutes at the university, which is a member of the Association of American Universities. Designated a “Nursing Research-Intensive Environment” by the National Institutes of Health, Pitt Nursing also offers a PhD program that matches students with outstanding faculty scholars.