WSU's graduate nursing program ranks in top 25

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

(Photo caption: Thomas Wright, BSN ’13, is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student at the WSU College of Nursing. He says of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, “I work full time, so I like the flexibility of the hybrid program. The instructors here are amazing.” Photo by Cori Kogan. )

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the Washington State University College of Nursing is among the top 25 in the nation, according to the newest ranking from U.S. News & World Report.

A DNP degree is a clinical doctorate, as opposed to the research-focused PhD, and is designed to prepare students for a career as a nurse practitioner. The WSU College of Nursing launched its DNP program in 2012 and it’s offered on campuses statewide.

The program ranked 25th in the 2021 Best Graduate School Rankings by U.S. News & World Report, which has been producing such rankings for more than 30 years. It ranked 32nd in the 2020 list.

“This ranking is a validation of our work over the past decade,” said DNP Program Director Anne Mason, who is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. “It comes on top of our recent 10-year re-accreditation for the DNP program, the longest period possible. Taken together, they show that the WSU College of Nursing is responding to the needs of our communities in producing health care professionals.”

Program scores are derived from a weighted average of 14 indicators, including faculty credentials, acceptance rate, and the opinions of nursing program leadership at other institutions.

“Nurse practitioners are one of the most in-demand nursing specialties across the country,” said Mel Haberman, interim dean of the College of Nursing. “Much of their work is focused on primary care, especially in rural areas and with underserved populations. The DNP degree goes hand in hand with the mission of a land-grant university like WSU. I’m proud to see the WSU College of Nursing’s DNP program recognized nationally.”


Fast Facts about Nurse Practitioners:

  •  NPs are trusted healthcare providers: There are more than 270,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the United States, and together they have about 1 billion patient visits per year.
  • NPs are in control of their patients’ care: they have full practice authority in nearly half of the 50 states, including Washington, Idaho and Oregon. NPs in those states can diagnose illness, order and interpret tests and prescribe medications.
  • The Spokane region is an especially good place to be a nurse practitioner: The metropolitan area is the third-highest-paying in the nation for NPs, with average annual pay of $148,440, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job outlook for NPs is strong, with a projected 26% growth rate from 2018-28. (That’s compared with a 5% growth rate for all occupations).
  • NP students have an impact even before they graduate: Students in the WSU College of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program complete a final project to improve healthcare quality or translate evidence into practice in real-world situations.