Seattle University’s College of Nursing was recently ranked the best in Washington and is in the top five percent—number 16—in the United States. The ranking is determined by the reported salaries of graduates, quality of the college, accreditation, and other factors. Students and faculty alike are pleased with the news, and in addition to the above criteria they had their own beliefs as to what makes the College of Nursing great to them.
The College of Nursing has been a part of Seattle U for more than 80 years and has attracted students from a wide variety of places for multiple reasons. Most students cite the school’s proximity to many hospitals, the small class sizes, and the focus on community engagement as popular motives for choosing Seattle U.
Kristine Dao is a third-year student who is in her first year in the nursing program, having transferred into the nursing cohort of 2020. Dao said that one of the reasons that Seattle U is nationally ranked is because of the attention and care they receive from the professors and how, in turn, that makes students better nurses.
“There’s a lot of outreach from professors to ensure that students are getting proper education and that they feel fulfilled by the time they leave Seattle U,” Dao said.
In addition to attentive professors, Dao also cited the Clinical Performance Lab (CPL) as another factor that contributes to the college’s ranking.. The CPL is a teaching site located in James Tower at Swedish Cherry Hill Medical Center. It is a 20,000 square foot facility that includes simulation suites, laboratory learning areas, as well as teaching spaces.
In the CPL, nursing students are able to practice their knowledge from class lectures on high-fidelity mannequins. The mannequins are able to replicate human states and sounds, making the simulation as real as possible for the students.
“I think we excel in ensuring that students are getting the proper training and that they feel comfortable in simulation,” Dao said. “It’s such a nerve-wracking thing, but after we leave simulation, people are always so relieved because not only did we just go through simulation, but also because we learned so much.”
Maddie Schaefer is a third-year student in the College of Nursing who entered the program through direct-entry, another reason why she believes that Seattle U’s College of Nursing is a popular school for applicants.
“I know a lot of nursing schools where you have to reapply every year or there’s a certain amount of spots in the school, where you can start off as pre-nursing in your first two years but then in your third and fourth year, you have to make it into one of those slots. It’s a constant competition,” Schaefer said. “SU is unique in a way where once you are admitted into the College of Nursing, you can stay in as long as you keep up with you work.”
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Danuta Wojnar said a prominent reason for the high ranking among all the others that students have bought up is the high National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) scores students have received.
The NCLEX is a national exam that all nursing students sit for after graduation so they may receive their nursing license that will allow them to officially practice. Schaefer pointed out that a benefit of being a student at Seattle U’s College of Nursing is that many exams have already been in the format of the NCLEX as a way of early preparation for students.
“We had very nice scores this year in Washington state for our undergraduate students—over 95 percent.” Wojnar said.
In addition to the NCLEX results, Wojnar said that the Seattle U nursing program has holistic application and acceptance methods. Wojnar believes that the college adheres to the school’s mission of seeing the “whole person” in relation to accepting its students into the nursing program. She said that doing so is a unique way of choosing students and contributes to what makes the College of Nursing nationally ranked.
“We get about five to six hundred applications and can admit 80 to 85 students, so it’s competitive to get in,” Wojnar said. “But I believe it is a good program because we use holistic admission, and we look at the whole person rather than only looking at their academic performance.
Between the academic performances of the students and the resources the College of Nursing has, students reported their overall satisfaction in their choice of school at the end of the day.
“The school is super supportive, and I couldn’t recommend people to apply anywhere else,” Dao said.
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