The UTC nursing program is known across campus for its extremely driven and hardworking students. It is no surprise, then, that this program has now received a high ranking among other nursing programs in the state.

In their evaluation of Tennessee nursing programs, the Nursing Schools Almanac ranked UTC’s nursing program 4 out of 29 prelicensure BSN programs. This ranking outpaced many other public and private colleges in the state, including Austin Peay State University and Lipscomb University.

For Dr. Chris Smith, director of the nursing program, this high ranking is a sign that the hard work of the students and faculty of the program has been noticed.

“This recognition shows that the larger community sees that our faculty is working very hard to educate the students,” Smith said. “In turn, the students are well prepared to take the national exam for registered nurses.”

Smith also credited the program’s emphasis on experiential learning as one of the main reasons for its success. By graduation, each student has completed over 400 hours of clinical experience, making them more prepared for real-world challenges in the healthcare field. 

One of the reasons that UTC’s program was ranked so highly compared to other programs in the state was its high graduation rate and 96.3% pass rate for the exam to become a registered nurse. According to Smith, the program’s rigorous selection process is what allows it to have these high marks. 

“Those students who are admitted have to have a minimum GPA to be considered,” Smith said. “Those who are admitted have already proven they can do the work and are therefore successful leading to a high graduation rate.”

Smith also said that the individualized attention that each student in the nursing program receives helps to set UTC apart from other college programs.

“We have smaller cohorts — only 40 students in a cohort with several faculty members assigned to that group," Smith said. "We know those students very well and we mentor them and monitor their progress. This smaller system allows students to receive feedback and support more quickly and frequently than they would have at a larger university. 

For those outside of the nursing program, Smith had specific advice for what she wanted other students to know about the program.

“I would like them to know that nursing is a difficult major and these students are dedicated to getting the best education they can so they can be excellent registered nurses with a four-year degree,” Smith said. She also pointed out that having the liberal arts background of a four-year degree makes those nursing students stand out more compared to a nursing student with an associate’s degree. 

This week, take the time to congratulate nursing majors on campus for everything that they have achieved. This new ranking is just one sign of all of the hard work that they do to become the professionals of tomorrow.

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