Louise Herrington School of Nursing Ranked Among Best Graduate Schools

Nursing students in the Louise Herrington School of Nursing perform a routine examination on a patient. The program was recently ranked among the top schools in the U.S. News & World Report. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

By Amanda Hargett-Granato | Reporter

The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing has several programs ranked among the U.S. News & World Report 2018 Best Graduate Schools. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program ranked at No. 47, the Masters of Science in Nursing was ranked No. 56, and the Nurse Midwifery program was ranked No. 10.

Louise Herrington School of Nursing Dean Shelley F. Conroy emphasized that the school’s motto — Learn, Lead and Serve — conveys the approach it took to shape the nationally ranked program.

“Our mission, we believe, is to prepare professionally educated nurses within a Christian context and community,” Conroy said. “We realize we have a unique approach to doing that because we believe in the integration of faith and academics, and we won’t sacrifice one for the other.”

The U.S. News & World Report considered 292 nursing master’s programs and 186 Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in determining this year’s rankings. Each program was assessed using a variety of factors, including student selectivity, program size, faculty resources, research activity and peer assessment, according to its official methodology. The peer assessment score, Conroy said, was performed by the deans of other nursing schools.

“This tells me that professionally in the discipline and within nursing education that other schools recognize the product we produce and the quality of our program,” Conroy said.

The nursing school is growing, having recently begun renovations on the former Baptist General Convention of Texas building in Dallas to help expand space. The building was purchased with the help of a donation from the school’s namesake, Louise Herrington Ornelas, according to a university press release. The school is still fundraising for the renovations and raised more than $1 million last month at the school’s Going for the Gold Gala.

The school has two faculty members who were recently named global Fulbright scholars. On March 24, Dr. Lori Spies, assistant professor in the nursing school, was selected for a 2017-18 Fulbright Global Scholar Award. In 2016 Dr. Shelby Garner, assistant professor in the nursing school, was awarded a 2016-2018 Fulbright-Nehru Research Flex Grant toward her studies of nursing in India. Having taught at the school for six years, Garner said the Louise Herrington School of Nursing stands out even among other Christian schools.

“Something that I think is unique is that the school really does live out the Christian community,” Garner said. “The entire curriculum has threads of Christianity.”

Garner said the quality of nurses the school produces reflects the national ranking the school received.

“I think it says a lot that we have such a good reputation, and that really comes from our students,” Garner said. “They graduate and go out into the workplace, and they’re prepared to actually practice.”

The president of the Baylor Student Nurses Association, Fulshear senior Kaitlyn Po is in her second year of the undergraduate nursing program and will graduate in May. Po said the professors at Baylor have furthered her desire to be a nurse and said she has considered applying to the graduate program.

“I think it is a phenomenal program,” Po said. “They have outstanding faculty who really try to promote the professional attitude, and I think that has really contributed to the recognition they’ve received.”

Po, who is in the Air Force ROTC, said it was the strength of both the ROTC and nursing programs that convinced her to choose Baylor.

“I’ve loved my time here at the nursing school,” Po said. “It’s been an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity. I’m really excited that I’m going to be a Baylor nurse.”