10 Best Nursing Schools in Louisiana – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

A rapidly aging population that includes nurses themselves and the number of people who, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, are now eligible for medical care are both factors contributing to the nursing shortage in Louisiana. The Bayou State’s medical health care system still hasn’t recovered completely from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 after which many hospitals were forced to rebuild, and many RNs left the state permanently. A 2012 study published in the journal Public Health Resources projected that Louisiana would need more than 10,000 additional nurses by the year 2030. Hospitals in metropolitan centers like Baton Rouge and New Orleans have begun offering signing incentives to graduates of accredited nursing schools in Louisiana, particularly in specialty areas like critical care and cardiac care.



(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Louisiana offering BSN programs.)

1. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

About LSU School of Nursing: If you believe health is as much about equity, coverage, access, quality and patients' rights as it is about treating patients’ symptoms, the LSU School of Nursing has much to offer you. Chief among the school’s core values is the idea that nurses are stewards who protect the patients and resources entrusted to their care. The School of Nursing isn’t housed on Louisiana State University’s campus in Baton Rouge but at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and nursing students have many opportunities to interact with their colleagues in the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

The Simulation Center in the Nursing Skills and Technology is a 15-bed virtual hospital environment with functional suction and oxygen wall units, heart monitors, crash carts, and other emergency equipment. Students are able to perfect their clinical techniques by practicing them on high-fidelity manikins. Clinical rotations take place at a range of hospitals and other health care settings throughout the greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, including the LSU Healthcare Network, the Methodist Health System Foundation, East Jefferson General Hospital and Physicians, University Medical Center-Hospital and Physicians, the Louisiana Office of Public Health and Planned Parenthood.

Financial Aid: LSU receives funding through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to help qualified students with tuition and living expenses. Additionally, the school offers a number of institutional scholarships for which nursing students may be eligible. Filling out and submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may help you qualify for federal and state financial aid as well.

2. Northwestern State University, Natchitoches

About Northwestern State University College of Nursing: Northwestern State University was the first nursing school in LA to offer a baccalaureate degree. Though the main NSU campus is in Natchitoches, the nursing school campus is in Shreveport. Health economists predict that Louisiana will be facing a nursing shortage by the year 2020, and NSU, much like other nursing schools in Louisiana aims to help alleviate that crunch.

The nursing college is housed in the Nursing and School of Allied Health Education Center. Classrooms, a computer lab, and a high-tech nursing skills lab are located in the center’s Library Building. Students acquire experience that can be translated into real-life practice by enacting a variety of clinical scenarios using programmable manikins. Once they are confident about their hands-on skills and critical thinking abilities, students pursue clinical rotations at hospitals, clinics and health care agencies throughout the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area and other parts of northwest Louisiana.

Financial Aid: While Northwestern State University doesn’t offer any nursing-specific scholarships, nursing students may be eligible for other institutional awards. Separate applications are required depending upon whether you’re an entering freshman, a currently enrolled student, or a transfer student. NSU participates in Title IV, so filling out a FAFSA form may qualify you to receive state and federal funding.

3. University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette

About College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions: The College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette is one of the largest nursing programs in Louisiana and the country. The U.S. News & World Report has good things to say about its academic and clinical excellence, too. The allied health professions associated with this college are dietetics, pre-dental hygiene, health information management, and health services administration. Nurses who graduate from this college are consummate professionals who recognize the importance of working as a member of a health care team and who give back to their communities in many ways.

Wharton Hall is the building where the College of Nursing’s classrooms and clinical labs are located. The simulation center is equipped with task trainers, computerized manikins and virtual reality learning centers so that nursing students can master basic bedside and assessment skills before they embark upon their clinical rotations at hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and other health care facilities throughout Lafayette and other communities in southern Louisiana. The university also offers unique living/learning communities for incoming nursing students that enables these students to form support networks with other aspiring nurses.

Financial Aid: The college makes several scholarships available to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. You’ll have to download the pertinent application and return it by March 31. Nursing students may also be eligible for federal and state grants and loans depending upon the information they submit in their FAFSA forms.

4. Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond

About Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing: If you are exploring nursing schools in Louisiana, then you can consider Southeastern Louisiana University which began in 1925 as a two-year community college to meet the job training needs of Florida Parish residents. Its nursing school focuses upon educating professionals who will give back to the local community. Though most nursing classes are taught on the main Hammond campus, the last three semesters of the undergraduate major are taught at the university’s Baton Rouge Center. SLU’s nursing master’s degree is a collaboration between SLU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The school is part of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, which also offers degrees in social work, communication sciences and disorders, and kinesiology.

Sophisticated simulation labs, located on both the Hammond campus and the Baton Rouge Center, give nursing students opportunities to build and validate key bedside skills and to assess complex clinical situations. The nursing school makes every effort to schedule clinical rotations at medical complexes and other health care facilities in central Louisiana within a 60-mile radius of the campus.

Financial Aid: The School of Nursing offers 27 departmental scholarships. Students may also qualify for Title IV funds disbursed through the university as determined by the information they submit on their FAFSA forms.

5. McNeese State University, Lake Charles

About College of Nursing and Health Professions: If you want to be a nurse because you want to make a positive impact on the community you live in, the College of Nursing and Health Professions may be just the ticket. Primary care, prevention, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles are the focus of the education you’ll receive here. McNeese is one of the smaller nursing schools in Louisiana, but it has a big heart, and you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your nursing colleagues and instructors very well. When you graduate, you’ll have strong generalist nursing skills that will make you an asset to any health care environment you decide to work in. McNeese offers both a two-year associate degree in nursing and a four-year nursing baccalaureate as well as nursing master’s degrees with various concentrations.

Simulation labs enable students to engage with virtual hospital environments where they can participate in scenarios inspired by real-life clinical events. Students gain even more hands-on training through clinical rotations at medical facilities and community health agencies in Lake Charles and adjacent communities throughout southwest Louisiana.

Financial Aid: Applications for the Ann Smith Todd Scholarship and the Sherry Blount Memorial Nursing Scholarship are handled by the College of Nursing. Nursing students are also eligible to apply for the H.C. Drew Scholarship as well as for other institutional scholarships administered by the university. Nursing students may qualify for federal and state financial aid as well if the information they submit on their FAFSA forms indicates sufficient need.

6. Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, Baton Rouge

About FranU School of Nursing: The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University was a nursing school before it was a university. In 1923, its precursor—Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing—was founded to help alleviate a critical shortage of nurses at Our Lady of the Lake Sanatorium in Baton Rouge. It wasn’t until 2016 that the university adopted its present name. Though nowadays the school offers an arts and science curriculum, the focus of the education offered here is still heavily weighted toward health care. FranU is a Catholic university, and while students of all religious backgrounds are welcome, a Catholic social justice perspective informs the nursing education you’ll receive here. FranU is also a research university: The AARP Foundation recently awarded a nursing school faculty member grant to study intergenerational connections.

The Simulated Environment Teaching Hospital (nicknamed SETH) is a 4,000-square-foot space that consists of seven simulation suites where nursing students learn side by side with fellow students studying to be physician assistants, physical therapists, and respiratory therapists. These simulation suites include a med/surg unit, an ICU, and a birthing room. Once students have become proficient at nursing fundamentals, they go on to participate in clinical practicums at health care facilities throughout Baton Rouge and surrounding areas such as Our Lady of the Lake Perkins Surgical Center, Woman’s Hospital, New Iberia Medical Center and Acadia General Hospital.

Financial Aid: FranU awards tuition exemptions to students meeting specified academic qualifications, but it does not offer any nursing scholarships per se. The school also maintains a database of external scholarship opportunities. The information you submit on your FAFSA form may qualify you for federal and state financial aid.

7. Nicholls State University, Thibodaux

About Department of Nursing: The Department of Nursing at Nicholls State University takes the very sensible view that great nurses are not born but made. If you have the perseverance, commitment, and motivation to work hard while you’re pursuing one of NSU’s nursing degrees in LA, you will become a great nurse. Nursing faculty members have many years of clinical work experience and work hard to provide students with creative learning opportunities that incorporate PowerPoint presentations, games, skits, critical thinking exercises, case studies, demonstrations, and guest speakers. Classroom learning is often integrated with online learning modules.

Classrooms, clinical nursing labs, and a dedicated nursing computer lab are located in Betsy Cheramie Ayo Hall. There are eight clinical nursing labs in total, and they contain 48 patient beds that are fitted with wall mounts so that students can recreate the hospital experience with a high degree of verisimilitude. The Department of Nursing maintains partnerships with leading hospitals, home care agencies, public health units, specialty facilities and outpatient facilities in the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux metropolitan statistical area where nursing students pursue clinical rotations.

Financial Aid: Nicholls State University administers more than 15 scholarship opportunities that are specifically designed for nursing students. Federal and state financial aid may also be available as determined by the information students submit on their FAFSA forms.

8. University of LA Monroe, Monroe

About Kitty DeGree School of Nursing: At the Kitty DeGree School of Nursing affiliated with the University of LA Monroe, you’ll receive an education that’s strongly grounded in the liberal arts so that you’ll be prepared to practice both the art and the science of nursing. The nursing education you receive here will prepare you to work in any area of the country, but as a regional institution of professional learning, DeGree Nursing School is focused upon doing its part to help alleviate Louisiana’s chronic nursing shortage. Nursing students are required to perform four hours of community service each semester. An undergraduate student who completes his or her first semester successfully is eligible to receive certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

The nursing school occupies the Kitty DeGree Hall. In addition to classrooms, this building houses three clinical skills labs and two simulation labs so that nursing students can acquire basic skills like starting IVs and performing blood draws, and gain competence in a wide variety of clinical situations. Once they’ve mastered bedside techniques, students go on to participate in clinical rotations in health care settings throughout Monroe and northern Louisiana, which will prepare them to work professionally in a variety of health care environments.

Financial Aid: The University of LA Monroe designates 23 scholarships, specifically for nursing students. Nursing students are also encouraged to apply for any other institutional awards for which they may be eligible. Submitting a FAFSA form may help you receive needs-based federal and state loans and grants.

9. Southern University and A & M College, Baton Rouge

About Southern University School of Nursing: Southern University was founded in 1879 as a college dedicated to serving the educational needs of people of color. Today, it admits students of all races. It is the only nursing school in the state of Louisiana to offer a nursing Ph.D., and it graduates more African Americans from its master’s degree programs than any other nursing school in the U.S. In 2017, the School of Nursing was honored by the Louisiana Nursing Foundation as the nursing school of the year.

The Human Simulation Lab is a virtual environment where students master the psychomotor and decision-making skills they will need when they enter the nursing workforce. The lab is equipped with computerized manikins that respond to stimuli in physiologically accurate ways and are capable of mimicking disease states. Once students are comfortable at the bedside, they go on to take part in clinical rotations at medical centers, ambulatory care clinics, and community health agencies throughout the Baton Rouge area. Nursing students also participate in outreach projects that are aimed at getting local high school students interested in pursuing nursing careers.

Financial Aid: Southern University makes some scholarship opportunities available, but it hasn’t earmarked any of its awards specifically for nursing students. The university maintains an extensive database of external scholarships, and nursing students are encouraged to apply for them. State and federal grants from Title IV sources may also be available depending upon the information submitted in student FAFSA forms.

10. Grambling State University, Grambling

About Grambling State University School of Nursing: Though Grambling State University is a historically black college, it admits students from all racial backgrounds. The Louisiana State Nurses Association and Louisiana Nursing Foundation dubbed Grambling State “Nursing School of the Year” three years in a row. In addition to providing students with a topnotch education, faculty members here are involved in cutting-edge research into health issues that affect women, children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations. Grant writing is one of the faculty’s strengths, and the School of Nursing has been the recipient of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Many of the nurses who graduate from this nursing school go on to work in primary care capacities with the medically underserved. Traditional classroom education is supplemented by experiential learning opportunities that take place in state-of-the-art labs. Students participate in simulations that replicate real-life situations so that students can master essential nursing skills and learn how to do patient assessments. Nursing students hone their skills further by participating in clinical rotations scheduled at medical facilities and community agencies throughout the greater Ruston area.

Financial Aid: This nursing school in Louisiana administers a number of institutional scholarships though no awards exist that are specifically earmarked for nursing majors. Nursing students will be considered for the awards based on academic performance and are encouraged to apply for any others whose criteria they meet. Filling out and submitting a FAFSA form may also help students receive needs-based financial aid from federal and state sources.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
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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