10 Best Nursing Schools in Indiana – 2023 Rankings
Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
In recent years, the number of primary care physicians supplying preventative care services throughout Indiana has dwindled. This has intensified the demand for nurse practitioners and other RNs whose training and licensure permits them to provide services that were once the domain of MDs alone. While areas like Marion County presently have nursing surpluses, many of the Hoosier State’s rural areas are struggling to fill nursing positions. As baby boomers age and older members of the nursing workforce retire, graduates of accredited nursing schools in Indiana should find plenty of job opportunities, particularly if their interests lie in the provision of quality primary care.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ACCREDITED NURSING SCHOOLS IN INDIANA?
(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Indiana State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Indiana offering BSN programs.)
1. Purdue University, West Lafayette
About School of Nursing @ Purdue University:
If your interest in nursing is rooted in a desire to advocate on behalf of the health needs of underserved populations, Purdue University’s School of Nursing should be high on your list. This nursing school in IN will prepare you to think critically about the role of health care policy and legislation in addition to teaching you clinical and research skills. The school sponsors a unique cooperative work experience called the Professional Experience in Nursing program in collaboration with local employers.
While classrooms, conference rooms and faculty offices are housed in the Johnson Hall of Nursing, the school’s state-of-the-art simulation laboratories are located in Lyles-Porter Hall. The Center for Nursing and Simulation contains hospital equipment as well as high-fidelity manikins programmed to react with realistic heart, lung and bowel sounds as well as pulses and programmable vital signs. The school maintains partnerships with hospitals, clinics, public health departments, long-term care facilities and behavioral health/psychiatric agencies throughout the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area, and it is at these facilities that nursing students will pursue their clinical rotations. Nursing students also have the opportunity to work at the Nursing Center for Family Health, which is a nurse-managed clinic that provides wellness screenings and other primary care services to members of the Purdue community.
The School of Nursing sponsors several scholarships
for enrolled students; these are awarded on the basis of academic excellence or need. To be considered for this source of funding, you’ll need to fill out a School of Nursing Scholarship Application as well as a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
RECOMMENDED ONLINE NURSING SCHOOLS
2. Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis
About School of Nursing @ Indiana University:
Indiana University’s School of Nursing in Indianapolis was founded in 1914 to provide staff for Long Hospital; at its start, the nursing program was part of the university’s medical school. “U.S. News & World Report” ranks this school as among the best in the Hoosier State. Though the nursing school’s main campus is in Indianapolis, it also maintains satellite campuses in Bloomington and Fort Wayne. The school has been honored by the National League for Nursing, which designated it as a Center of Nursing Excellence in two categories: Advancing the Science of Nursing Education (2016-2021) and Promoting the Pedagogical Expertise of Faculty.
The School of Nursing has its own dedicated four-story building on the university’s Indianapolis campus, which contains classrooms, computer labs, research facilities and a 10,000-square-foot Resource Center for Innovation in Clinical Nursing Education. The Resource Center can be set up to resemble a variety of hospital units, and students have the opportunity to perfect assessment and bedside skills by practicing on computerized manikins. Once students become comfortable with nursing procedures, they’re assigned clinical rotations at IU Health University Hospital and other Indiana University Health facilities, the St. Vincent Hospitals system, hospitals and clinics associated with the Community Health network and other local health care providers. The school also hosts international scholars visiting from abroad and sponsors global educational opportunities in China, Taiwan, Japan, Liberia and Swaziland.
Indiana University in Indianapolis disburses more than $700,000 annually in scholarship funds
to aid undergraduate and graduate nursing students with their education. Prospective candidates will need to submit an Indiana University Scholarship Application. Students may also qualify for federal and state financial aid depending upon the information they submit in their FAFSA forms.
3. University of Southern Indiana, Evansville
About College of Nursing and Health Professions @ USI:
Nursing is one of many health-related educational programs offered by USI’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. As a student here, you’ll learn the importance of collaboration among health team members because you’ll be learning side by side with colleagues who are studying dental hygiene, respiratory therapy, nutrition, health informatics and other important health care disciplines. USI’s suite of nursing degrees in IN emphasize the development of hands-on skills. USI’s nursing program uses the Dedicated Education Unit model so that during your clinical rotations, you’ll be partnering very closely with experienced working nurses at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Deaconess Hospital. You’ll also have the opportunity to work at USI’s three Community Health Centers, which provide primary care nursing services to the residents of three Evansville neighborhoods.
Instruction takes place at the Health Professions Center. In addition to classrooms, this facility boasts a Clinical Simulation Center, which is fully equipped with hospital-style patient rooms and simulator manikins that are capable of a wide range of realistic responses. The college is also the site of several multidisciplinary research initiatives, including the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness, and the Center for Health Professions Lifelong Learning.
The college offers 18 endowed scholarships
to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Students may also be eligible for state and federal financial aid if the information contained in their FAFSA form indicates sufficient need.
4. Indiana State University, Terre Haute
About School of Nursing @ Indiana State University:
The School of Nursing at Indiana State University is mindful of the transformation that the nursing profession has undergone in the past quarter of a century. This set of nursing programs in Indiana will educate you to be an advocate and a coordinator of interprofessional health care as well as a bedside clinician. The university began in 1865 as a school for teachers; today, “The Princeton Review” and other respected educational ranking organizations consistently rate it as one of the finest Midwestern universities.
The school is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences, which also offers degrees in kinesiology, social work, and applied medicine and rehabilitation. A Learning Research Center is located on the second floor of the nursing building on the Terre Haute campus where students learn clinical skills and critical thinking by participating in simulated medical situations that use high-tech manikins to fill in for human patients. In addition to clinical rotations at medical facilities throughout western Indiana, students also have the chance to hone their skills at university-managed clinics such as the Sycamore Nursing Center, which offers primary health services to families throughout the Wabash Valley.
Indiana State University offers 42 dedicated scholarships
for its nursing students. Qualified nursing students are also encouraged to apply to other ISU scholarship opportunities for which they may be eligible. You’ll need to submit a FAFSA form to be considered for state and federal financial aid.
5. Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion
About School of Nursing @ IWU:
Indiana Wesleyan University is the largest Christian evangelical university in the Hoosier State, so it’s not surprising its nursing education programs emphasize nursing as a calling as well as a profession. Students at this university represent more than 80 different Christian denominations. “U.S. News & World Report” recognizes IWU as one of the best Midwestern universities, and the Young America’s Foundation has named it among the top ten conservative institutions of higher learning.
The School of Nursing is headquartered in the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing, which is a 111,250-square-foot building that contains classrooms plus a sophisticated learning environment called the Pre-licensure Fortune Simulation Lab. This simulation lab is equipped with the types of hospital equipment students will be using when they enter professional practice and offers high-tech manikins upon which students can practice physical assessments and bedside skills. Proctored clinical rotations take place at medical facilities aligned with Christian values throughout Marion and adjacent communities.
While the School of Nursing offers no nursing-specific scholarships, qualified nursing students may apply for any of IWU’s academic scholarships
. The university also participates in Title IV, so students may be eligible for state and federal funding upon submission of a FAFSA form.
6. Valparaiso University, Valparaiso
About College of Nursing and Health Professions:
Valparaiso University prides itself upon educating nurses who can hit the ground running when they enter their new workplaces upon graduation. At the Valpo College of Nursing and Health Professions, student-centered learning is key, and classroom lectures are considered to be most valuable when they can be directly applied to real world experiences. As Valpo sees it, health care is constantly evolving, and it’s up to nurses to be adaptive, collaborative and visionary.
This college focuses on a holistic approach to health care education in which promoting wellness is an important priority. Students learn good clinical skills by practicing on computerized manikins in the high-tech Virtual Nursing Learning Center, which is a simulated hospital environment equipped with realistic patient stations. Students complete their clinical rotations at a variety of medical facilities in northern Indiana and Chicago, ranging from small, rural clinics to large teaching hospitals. The college also sponsors service-learning trips for nursing students to countries such as Nicaragua, Costa Rica, China, Thailand, India, Tanzania and Ireland.
Valparaiso awards scholarships
to help offset the costs of tuition. While the College of Nursing and Health Professions offers no endowed scholarship awards specifically for nursing students, nursing students are invited to apply for any of the university’s academic and merit awards for which they may qualify. State and federal funding may also be available; these amounts will be determined by information contained in a student’s FAFSA form.
7. Ball State University, Muncie
About School of Nursing @ Ball State University:
The School of Nursing at Ball State University is all about preparing you to embrace the many practice options you’ll have once you become an RN. Ball State University was founded as a college for teachers in 1918, and its practical, common sense approach to education informs its nursing curriculum as well. Whether you’re interested in working in a hospital, becoming an FNP or moving the frontiers of evidence-based nursing forward through dynamic research, your education here will prepare you for your future very well.
The Simulation and Information Technology Center is divided into areas that mirror a hospital unit, a long-term care clinic, an obstetrical wing and a home health care setting. Here, students can address the types of scenarios they are likely to encounter once they enter the nursing profession. Students will have the opportunity to rarify their bedside skills still further through clinical rotations at hospitals, ambulatory care clinics and community health agencies throughout northeastern Indiana. This nursing school also sponsors a unique Nursing Living-Learning community that strengthens educational networks and support systems among students enrolled in nursing majors.
Ball State University’s School of Nursing supports its students with 18 scholarships
specifically earmarked for aspiring nurses. The university also maintains an extensive database of external nursing scholarships. Federal and state financial aid may be available as well depending upon the information you submit with your FAFSA form.
8. University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne
About School of Health Sciences @ University of Saint Francis:
Do you want to be the kind of nurse who makes a real difference in the lives of every patient whom you touch? If you attend the nursing program associated with the School of Health Sciences at the University of Saint Francis, you’ll be prepared to do just that. This Catholic university admits students of all faiths, but the educational philosophy of all its departments, including nursing, remains firmly rooted in the Franciscan values of compassion, truth and service. Your clinical nursing education will build upon a strong foundation in the liberal arts.
You’ll build your fundamental skills and assessment abilities by working in a high-tech simulation lab where you’ll practice on computerized manikins that have been programmed to display realistic physiological responses. You’ll gain even more confidence through clinical rotations at some of northeastern Indiana’s finest medical facilities and community agencies, including Parkview Regional Medical Center, Dupont Hospital, Heartland Home Health and Hospice, East Allen Community Schools and the Allen County Board of Health.
Nursing students are eligible for any of University of Saint Francis’s institutional scholarships
if they meet the award criteria. They may also qualify for state and federal financial assistance as determined by the information they submit on their FAFSA forms.
9. University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis
About School of Nursing @ UIndy:
The School of Nursing at the University of Indianapolis has earned a reputation as one of the best nursing colleges in Indiana. It’s the only nursing school in the state that offers the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty. The university is affiliated with the Methodist Church although it welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. At 8:1, the student-faculty ratio is extremely low, which means you can be sure of personalized instruction and mentorship from your nursing instructors. The university also participates in an academic partnership with Community Health Network called the Nursing Academy.
This nursing school has a unique partnership with Eli Lilly and Company called the Lilly/University of Indianapolis Nurse Education Program. Select students essentially get to do clinical rotations at Lilly, which opens doors for those nursing students who may want to go on to careers with pharmaceutical companies. Other clinical rotations take place at facilities like Franciscan St. Francis Health, Indiana University Health, Marion County Health Department Roudebush VA Medical Center and Westview Hospital. Students prepare for clinical rotations by practicing lifesaving skills in a simulated hospital environment at UIndy's Simulation Center.
Fulltime students at the School of Nursing may apply for the Lealice Briggs Nursing Scholarship. Other grants and scholarships
may be available through the university, and students can qualify for state and federal grants and loans if the information they submit on their FAFSA forms indicates sufficient need.
10. Indiana University - Kokomo, Kokomo
About School of Nursing @ Indiana University Kokomo:
At IU Kokomo’s School of Nursing, you’ll learn the importance of being part of a team. Class sizes are small so that you’ll be able to connect more easily with faculty members as well as with nursing peers who are going through the same learning process that you are. Student nurse leaders play an important role in planning and evaluating the curriculum and the student handbook. Health care facilities throughout Indiana value graduates of this nursing school highly because they know IU Kokomo nurses are well-prepared to step up to the plate.
The nursing school sponsors service trips to international locations like Guatemala and S. Korea where students have the opportunity to visit medical facilities and participate in educational and cultural activities. The 3,400-square-foot Clinical Simulation Center on the first floor of the East Building offers clinical learning opportunities in a virtual hospital environment where students don’t have to fear the consequences of making mistakes. During their clinical rotations, nursing students work side-by-side with registered nurses, functioning as members of the health care team at hospitals, clinics and health care agencies throughout central Indiana.
While IU Kokomo doesn’t offer any scholarships specifically for aspiring nurses, the university maintains an extensive database of external nursing scholarships
. Student nurses may also be eligible for federal and state grants and loans if the FAFSA forms they submit indicate sufficient need.
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Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Nursing Schools in Nearby States
Nursing Schools in other States
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.