The graduate programs of Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing earned recognition in three categories of U. S. News & World Report’s first Top Online Education Program rankings, released Jan. 10.
The Samford nursing school was ranked 31st in Faculty Credentials and Training, 36th in Student Engagement and Accreditation and 56th in Student Services and Technology among the nation’s graduate nursing programs.
The Faculty Credentials and Training category includes such factors as a school’s percentage of faculty with a Ph.D. or terminal degree, the percentage with greater than two years of experience, the amount of faculty training required in online teaching best practices and other factors. The Student Engagement and Accreditation Ranking considers a program’s national accreditation, whether students are required to work collaboratively, maximum and average class size and others. The Student Services and Technology category looks at the technology available to a school’s students, student services and whether it has a digitized library.
Samford’s online nursing programs include all Master of Science in Nursing degree programs except nurse anesthesia, and also includes the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program. Approximately 350 students from 28 states as far away as Alaska, California, New York and Pennsylvania are enrolled in Samford’s online nursing programs.
“We are extremely pleased that the quality of the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing online graduate degree program has been recognized across a variety of dimensions in the first U.S. News & World Report ranking of online programs,” said Samford nursing Dean Nena F. Sanders. “These rankings reflect the exceptional educational programs that we offer at the graduate level and acknowledge the outstanding faculty who work with these students on a daily basis.”
To be considered for the rankings, online degree programs needed to have at least 80 percent of their course content available online. The Samford program was one of only three Alabama nursing programs ranked; the others were Troy University and the University of South Alabama.
Samford’s online nursing programs have produced a variety of success stories:
* Numerous students from rural and underserved areas have been able to attend the Samford program because it is offered online. Students have completed Samford’s Family Nurse Practitioner program and are providing primary care services to vulnerable and underserved populations of patients. Alumni work on Indian reservations and in federally-funded migrant health centers as well as in remote areas such as Barrow, Alaska.
* Five Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates are serving as deans of nursing schools across the country, and other DNP graduates are chief nursing officers at large health care systems.
* Graduates of Master of Science in Nursing and DNP programs are teaching in a majority of Alabama community colleges.
* One DNP alumnus took a faculty position in psychiatric nursing at a state institution that had a vacancy in the position for five years.
* Another DNP graduate was awarded the nurse of the year award by the March of Dimes for her work in palliative care.