10 Best Nursing Schools in Florida – 2023 Rankings
Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Baby Boomers comprise a full quarter of Florida’s population, and as they age, this demographic is going to require more and more health care-related services. Don’t forget, either, that a sizable percentage of the Sunshine State’s nursing workforce are Boomers: Forty-four percent of the state’s registered nurses are older than 50 and hope to retire within the next five to ten years, and that’s going to leave a huge demand for more recent graduates of accredited nursing schools in Florida. True, compared to many other states, RN salaries are on the low side in Florida; but living expenses are also lower, there’s no state income tax, and there are very few places in the country that are as warm and beautiful. Below you will find a list of the best nursing schools in Florida.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ACCREDITED NURSING SCHOOLS IN FLORIDA?
(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Florida State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Florida offering BSN programs.)
1. University of Florida, Gainesville
About UF College of Nursing:
Florida’s flagship university is the fifth top-rated program in the nation for undergraduate nursing degrees, according to “U.S. News and World Report.” The College of Nursing also consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of graduate nursing programs. With 700 undergraduate students and 370 graduate students, this nursing program is one of the Sunshine State’s largest. It’s one of six University of Florida colleges dedicated to the health sciences, so students have the opportunity to learn side by side with colleagues enrolled at the Dentistry, Health Professions, Medicine, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine Colleges.
UF’s College of Nursing receives research grants from funding institutions like the National Institute for Nursing Research, the National Science Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Classrooms, simulation laboratories and a 500-seat auditorium are located in a dedicated building that’s part of the 173,000-square-foot Health Professions/Nursing/Pharmacy complex. Clinical rotations take place at UF’s Health Shands Hospital or at one of the other acute care hospitals and community-based health-care facilities in the central Florida region.
Financial Aid: Twenty-six scholarships
are available for undergraduate UF nursing students, and 20 scholarships are available for graduate UF nursing students. Each scholarship has its own set of criteria: Some are merit-based, some are needs-based while others are awarded on the basis of county of residence or interest in a specific nursing subspecialty. Nursing students may also qualify for federal financial aid on the basis of their FAFSA applications.
RECOMMENDED ONLINE NURSING SCHOOLS
2. University of Miami, Coral Gables
About University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies:
Faculty and administrators at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies understand that health care is in a period of rapid transformation. When you graduate from UM, one of the highly ranked nursing schools in Florida, you’ll be fully equipped to deal with every challenge and emerging medical trend that’s thrown your way.
The school’s Simulation Hospital not only teaches students valuable clinical skills but also replicates the process a vulnerable patient may go through when he or she travels from an outpatient clinic or an ERs to a hospital unit. The nursing school’s Simulation Hospital recreates this patient flow so precisely that it has become a resource for developing and testing mass casualty protocols throughout the state of Florida. Once students have honed their bedside skills, they go on to do rotations with more than 170 clinical partners throughout the greater Miami metropolitan area. Nursing students also have the opportunity to participate in healthcare immersion experiences in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Mexico, Spain and Taiwan.
No separate scholarship applications are necessary at the university of Miami; all incoming freshman are automatically screened for merit-based scholarships on the basis of their academic achievements. The School of Nursing and Health Studies offers no nursing-specific scholarships per se, but it does maintain a list of outside scholarship sources
, which it urges students to take advantage of. Students may also be considered for needs-based grants and other financial assistance upon completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.)
3. University of Central Florida, Orlando
About College of Nursing @ UCF:
“U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the College of Nursing at University of Central Florida among the top 25 nurse training programs for veterans in the nation. The college is also home to a unique healthcare simulation graduate program that’s actively recruiting the RNs who will become tomorrow’s healthcare simulation educators and experts. Instruction currently takes place at the University Tower building in Central Florida Research Park just beyond the boundaries of the University’s Orlando campus, but by the end of this decade, the college hopes to be moving into a new building at the Lake Nona Health Sciences Campus where students and teachers will be able to partner more closely with the university’s College of Medicine.
One of the prominent nursing schools in Florida, UCF College of Nursing is particularly known for its research and fieldwork in improving patient outcomes and reducing disparities among the aging and vulnerable populations. Clinical rotations take place at teaching hospitals, acute care hospitals, community clinics and other health care providers throughout the central Florida area.
Students enrolled in the college can apply for eight merit-based nursing scholarships
. Some of these scholarships are reserved for students pursuing specific subspecialties within the field of nursing. The UCF Office of Financial Aid administers other types of assistance as well, which are awarded on the basis upon need and upon the availability of funding. You will have to fill out a FAFSA form in order to be considered for these grants and loans.
4. University of South Florida College of Nursing, Tampa
About USF College of Nursing:
The College of Nursing at University of Southern Florida is one of the nursing schools in Florida that’s a prominent research center. The college is justly proud of the research it pursues in areas like cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and management, chronic illness, caregiver support and biobehavioral mechanisms. In 2017, the college was the recipient of more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other academic institution in the state of Florida. Nursing students are encouraged to pursue their own research interests in a 2,000-square-foot biobehavioral lab that’s equipped with sophisticated technology.
The college began as a three-year diploma program charged with providing nurses for Gordon Keller Memorial Hospital. Today, it’s an integral part of the USF Health system, and interprofessional education and collaboration are high priorities. Students acquire the bedside skills they’ll need through realistic simulation experiences; they refine these skills further through experiential learning rotations at Tampa General Hospital, Shriner’s Hospital, James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital, and other health care facilities throughout the greater Tampa region. Students also have the opportunity to participate in international health care experiences in Panama, St. Croix and Scotland.
University of Southern Florida offers a number of scholarships and fellowships
, but you will have to activate your USF NetID before you can apply. The College of Nursing does not have its own financial aid office but USF Health, Office of Financial Aid will be happy to help you navigate the scholarship application process. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit, financial need and other special criteria. Nursing students may also apply for federal grants and funding by completing a FAFSA form.
5. Florida State University, Tallahassee
About Florida State University College of Nursing:
Florida State University in Tallahassee is committed to educating nurses who will be leaders in clinical practice, in research and in education. The university was established in 1851 as Florida State College; its College of Nursing was founded in 1950. This college is routinely ranked by “U.S. News and World Report” among the top 100 nursing schools in the nation, and it sets high academic standards for incoming students: freshman nursing students must present with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and transferring upper division students are expected to have a GPA of 3.78 or higher.
Classes take place inside Vivian M. Duxbury Hall whose entire top floor is a simulation laboratory where students can learn and practical skills such IV insertion and suctioning. Students are able to refine their skills further through clinical rotations at institutions like Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare; Capital Regional Medical Center; Florida State Hospital; Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville, Georgia; local county health departments and Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. The nursing school is also the home to The Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Center for Research and Evidence Based Practice, which is a center for fieldwork that seeks to optimize treatment outcomes for patients.
This nursing school administers seventeen scholarships
for aspiring nurses. Students who are interested in applying for these funds must submit their applications directly to the College of Nursing. Junior, senior and graduate students may also apply for the prestigious New Alumni Ambassadors Award. Federal financial aid is administered through the University’s Office of Financial Aid. Both scholarships and federal financial assistance require the submission of a FAFSA form.
6. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton
About Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing:
The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University is another one of the nursing schools in Florida that gets high marks from “U.S. News and World Report." Founded in 1979 as a department within the College of Social Sciences, the nurse-training program evolved into a freestanding college in 1990. Emphasis is placed on the caring and nurturing aspects of patient care in a day-by-day context.
Five centers and institutes are housed with the college that serve as wellness resources for Florida Atlantic University and the Westgate community as a whole: the Christine E. Lynn Center for Caring; the Initiative for Intentional Health; the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center; the Nursing Leadership Institute; and the FAU Community Health Center. The state-of-the-art Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing has design features that support feng shui and a commitment to environmental sustainability. In the building’s Professional Practice Lab, aspiring nurses get the chance to build their skill repertoires by working with lifelike manikins. Clinical placement sites include Brevard and Broward County Health Departments, Tenet’s Florida Medical Center, Florida Hospital Tampa/University Community Hospital, GEO Care Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center and Miami Children’s Hospital among others.
FAU’s nursing scholarships
are only available for fall and spring semesters; they are not awarded for summer semesters. Funding for undergraduates is based upon student need as determined by the FAFSA. Financial assistance for graduate students is available in the form of College of Nursing scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships and doctoral stipends. The FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for federal grants and loans.
7. University of Tampa, Tampa
About University of Tampa :
If you’re interested in becoming a health care generalist with the skills to tackle any challenge, University of Tampa’s Department of Nursing may offer the training you’ve been searching for. The department operates out of the six-story, 91,000-square-foot Graduate and Health Sciences building. As part of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, nursing students share learning facilities such as the state-of-the-art digital anatomy lab and hospital room simulation lab with colleagues in the university’s newly created physicians’ assistant program. Nursing students are introduced to the university’s simulation lab at the beginning of their sophomore year.
Once nursing students are confident about their skills, they have opportunities to pursue clinical rotations at more than 120 hospitals, clinical agencies, schools and medical practices within the greater Tampa metropolitan area. In addition to teaching clinical skills and their scientific basis, UT’s nursing education prepares students to be excellent communicators who are committed to the teamwork that plays such an integral role in providing high-quality nursing care.
The University of Tampa offers six scholarships
that are only available to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Students may also be eligible for federal and state assistance including grants, loans and work-study upon completion of the FAFSA form and a Florida Residency Affidavit.
8. University of North Florida, Jacksonville
About School of Nursing @ UNF:
At the School of Nursing at University of North Florida, you’ll learn how to meet the ever-changing health care needs of communities within an ever-evolving framework of health care delivery trends. Every nursing student is partnered with an underserved or vulnerable group within the community of Jacksonville. This teaches aspiring nurses how to identify and successfully overcome the many challenges patients face when those patients are discharged from hospital care.
Along with the university’s Departments of Public Health, Health Administration, and Nutrition and Dietetics, the nursing school—which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018—is part of the Brooks College of Health. Classes take place at venerable J. Brooks Brown Hall; a newer, four-story addition houses additional classrooms, an X-ray and radiation laboratory and Student Health Services. A sophisticated simulation environment teaches the basics of bedside care as well as how to respond in emergency situations like a code blue. Clinical rotations take place at hospitals within the Jacksonville region as well as at health departments in Baker, Clay and Nassau Counties.
Scholarships are administered through Brooks College; sixteen of those scholarships
are specifically reserved for nursing students. Undergraduate and graduate students are required to complete one semester of education before they are eligible to apply. Students may also apply for federal aid by completing a FAFSA form. Scholarships count toward the total financial aid package.
9. Nova Southeastern University, Ft Lauderdale
About Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing :
Are you looking at nursing schools in Florida that provide a solid foundation on which you can build your professional practice? If so, by enrolling at the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing at Nova Southeastern University, no matter what you want the focus of your nursing career to be, you’ll have the advantage of forward-looking teaching strategies and access to innovative educational technology.
This nursing college is one of several highly respected health science colleges at Nova, and as a student here, you can look forward to learning alongside aspiring physicians, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists. The Nursing Education Center in the University Park Plaza is a state-of-the-art facility that houses a simulation environment with three rooms, three beds and high-fidelity patient manikins. Your clinical rotations will take place at major hospitals and health care centers throughout Fort Lauderdale and surrounding communities in Broward County.
Nova Southeastern University offers 10 scholarships specifically for nursing students
. Only students who are taking fulltime classes at the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing are eligible to apply. For consideration, you will have to fill out a scholarship profile as well as applications for each scholarship in which you’re interested. Most scholarships also require the submission of a FAFSA application. Your FAFSA application will also be used to determine whether you’re eligible for federal grants and loans.
10. Jacksonville University, Jacksonville
About Keigwin School of Nursing:
Jacksonville University has been offering nursing programs in Florida since 1981, but the Keigwin School of Nursing was formally established in 2017. If you’re interested in becoming a nursing leader committed to promoting positive health outcomes among culturally diverse populations, then this is a school you should find out more about. Here, you will learn the power of critical thinking and creative inquiry as well as the clinical skills that will help fight illness and promote wellness among the patient populations you serve.
In 2018, construction began on a new state-of-the-art building that will house the Keigwin School of Nursing as well as Jacksonville University’s School of Applied Health Sciences and School of Orthodontics. When complete, the new three-story, 36,000-square-foot building will contain classrooms, offices, kinesiology and orthopedic laboratories and other medical facilities. Students practice
Although the Keigwin School is in the process of putting together an endowment for the Stephanie Bloom Nursing Scholarship, which will only be available to nursing students, all financial assistance is administered through the Jacksonville University Office of Student Financial Assistance
. A FAFSA submission is a prerequisite for all forms of needs-based federal financial aid.
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
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Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.
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