Dr. Laura Bernaix, dean of the SIUE School of Nursing.EDWARDSVILLE - U.S. News and World Report has ranked the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing (SIUE SON) among the top 60 in its 2019 Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs list released January 14. The SIUE SON improved 31 spots from a year ago to 53rd among 179 schools nationwide and is the top rated public institution in Illinois.

Along with master’s degrees in healthcare nursing administration (HCNA) and nurse educator (NE), the SON’s online graduate degree programs also include a post-master’s doctor of nursing practice (DNP).

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According to Laura Bernaix, PhD, RN dean of the School of Nursing, the U.S. News rankings reflect the School’s continued commitment to providing excellent academic experiences.

“The School of Nursing’s online learning opportunities provide students with a high quality education through the use of small class sizes, strong faculty mentoring and support, and robust program content,” Bernaix said. “It is an honor to be nationally recognized. We expect the School’s online graduate programs to continue to excel in program delivery and student satisfaction.”

“SON faculty and administrators work extremely hard to ensure our online programs continue to offer excellence in education, while maximizing student flexibility,” said Andrew Griffin, PhD, CRNA, assistant dean of graduate programs. “We are seeing positive results in student enrollment and outcomes. It’s rewarding to see that others are noticing as well.”

U.S. News utilized five categories in the rankings:

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Student engagement (30 percent): In a quality program, aspiring advanced practice nurses can readily collaborate with fellow students in their classes and clinical settings. In turn, instructors are not only accessible and responsive, but they also are tasked with helping to create an experience rewarding enough for students to stay enrolled and complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.

Faculty credentials and training (20 percent): Strong online nursing programs employ instructors with academic credentials that mirror those of instructors for campus-based programs, and they have the resources to train these instructors to teach distance learners.

Expert Opinion (20 percent): A survey of high-ranking academic officials in nursing helps account for intangible factors affecting program quality that statistics do not capture. Also, employers may hold in high regard degrees from programs that academics respect.

Student Excellence (15 percent): Student bodies entering with proven aptitudes, ambitions and accomplishments can handle the demands of rigorous coursework. Furthermore, online degrees that schools award judiciously will have greater legitimacy in the job market.

Services and technologies (15 percent): Programs that incorporate diverse online learning technologies allow greater flexibility for students to take classes from a distance. Outside of classes, strong support structures provide learning assistance, career guidance and financial aid resources commensurate with quality campus-based programs.

The full rankings are available at usnews.com.

The SIUE School of Nursing’s fully accredited programs are committed to creating excellence in nursing leadership through innovative teaching, evidence-based practice, quality research, patient advocacy and community service. Enrolling nearly 1,400 students in its baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders in pursuit of shaping the nursing profession and impacting the health care environment. SIUE’s undergraduate nursing programs on the Edwardsville campus and the regional campus in Carbondale help to solve the region’s shortage of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and enhance the quality of nursing practice within all patient service venues. The School’s graduate programs prepare nurses for advanced roles in clinical practice, administration and education.

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