The 10 Best Nursing Schools in Florida

Nurses are essential members of the healthcare profession. After all, they do everything from coordinate patient care to take a lead role in educating patients and the general public about preventative health measures. 

However, the nursing field is constantly changing in response to society’s current health needs. Plus, modern technology is impacting the entire healthcare system, and tomorrow’s nurses need to be in the know about the latest technological updates. Therefore, before becoming an RN, or Registered Nurse, potential candidates must pass the NCLEX, or the National Council Licensing Examination. This exam makes sure that candidates have the skills and knowledge to be nurses, and they can’t take it without at least a BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

Because of this requirement and the growing demand for nurses due to the aging population in the United States, many students are pursuing academic degrees in nursing. Most—but not all—of the schools in this top 10 list of the best nursing schools in Florida have bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, giving students plenty of options according to their personal career goals. 

The following rankings are based on schools’ appearance in the U.S. News and World Reports list of the best graduate nursing schools in the country. In the case of a tie, the editorial team at College Gazette judges the tiebreaker. 

10. Jacksonville University Keigwin School of Nursing (Jacksonville, FL)

Jacksonville University
Excel23, JU, CC BY-SA 4.0

The nursing programs at Jacksonville University blend a liberal arts education with clinical experiences to educate tomorrow’s nursing professionals. Several bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and post-graduate programs meet the needs of the school’s diverse student body. The school makes the list of the top 200 nursing schools in the nation, according to U.S. News.

The faculty at the Keigwin School is very focused on individualized student success. And as such, the nursing programs at Jacksonville University are designed to give students the flexibility and individual attention they need to succeed. For example, class sizes are kept small to ensure good faculty-to-student ratios. What’s more, undergraduates can choose from a traditional track or accelerated 12- or 16-month tracks for career-change students who already have a degree. Plus, a flexible and online RN-to-BSN program is available as well; the program can take as little as 9 months and is offered at a very low tuition rate.

9. Nova Southeastern University Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing (Fort Lauderdale, FL)

Nova Southeastern University has developed programs designed for both students new to nursing and existing nurses wishing to further their professional careers. Some classes are offered online, while others are held on-campus in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, or Miami. And in fact, students can earn some degrees online, which is an excellent option for working nurses. U.S. News and World Reports ranked the master’s program as #49 among nursing programs across the nation. 

Students seeking master’s degrees, in particular, have several different paths of study to choose from, owing to NSU’s commitment to preparing students for the ongoing challenges of modern health care. For example, master’s students can concentrate in niches as varied as nursing education and leadership or nursing informatics. Or, they can study to specialize as a family nurse or adult-gerontology or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

8. Florida Southern College (Lakeland, FL)

Florida Southern College
Alaska Miller, Roux Library at FSC, CC BY-SA 4.0

Florida Southern College blends traditional classroom learning with hands-on clinical opportunities to prepare students for demanding nursing careers. For instance, undergraduate students study much more than nursing sciences. Instead, they receive a broad education in biology, behavioral sciences, nursing management, and community health. What’s more, travel abroad experiences give students a deeper cultural understanding of global health needs, disease, and illness. U.S. News ranks FSC among the top 160 nursing schools. 

Simulation labs are becoming standard in the top nursing schools, and those at Florida Southern are particularly high-tech. After all, the nursing school incorporates some of the world’s most technologically advanced simulation equipment available. Not only do the lab’s mannequins hear and respond to students’ questions, but they can even reproduce patients’ typical physiological responses. In this way, FSC’s students perfect their bedside care in a hands-on learning environment. In fact, FSC’s undergraduate nursing students are so well-prepared that 100% of graduates are either offered a job after school or are accepted into a graduate program.

7. Florida Gulf Coast University School of Nursing (Fort Myers, FL)

Florida Gulf Coast University
Twhair, FGCU Academic Core, CC BY-SA 3.0

U.S. News ranks Florida Gulf Coast University among the top 160 nursing schools in the United States. In addition, the school is also ranked as Florida’s #1 RN program by

The FGCU Marieb College School of Nursing places a strong emphasis on community outreach and hands-on learning. The curriculum stresses that students need nursing skills in addition to “soft” skills like good communication, critical thinking skills, understanding diverse cultural viewpoints, and the ability to solve complex problems. Therefore, the school has built several community partnerships in support of its demanding clinical internship expectations. In addition, all undergraduate students must devote 4 or 5 semesters to clinical learning. And actually, students at FGCU receive more hands-on learning in clinical settings than at many other universities. 

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