Nurses have the important job of providing care, offering advice and emotional support to patients and their families. As part of a team of healthcare specialists, nurses also work to educate the public about various health conditions. Many nurses specialize in working with specific patient groups such as cardiovascular, critical care, neonatal, or pediatrics. From hospitals to home healthcare services, nurses provide necessary care.
In order to practice healthcare, nurses must complete an approved program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Many choose to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to enhance their knowledge and career. This higher degree leads to better patient outcomes, advancement opportunities, and leadership roles.
Nursing courses include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and patient care. Outside of lectures, nursing students participate in a clinical rotation to learn to work with patients in a hands-on setting. Top nursing programs include other opportunities to apply classroom knowledge through student organizations and research. These learning experiences are essential to gain important skills such as communication, compassion, and critical thinking.
Due to a quickly aging population, the demand for healthcare services continues to rise. Nursing positions are expected to rise faster than average, with a 7% increase over the next decade.
New Jersey, one of the most populated states, is no exception. The state is home to over 100,000 nurses and many programs to meet the healthcare demand. Here are the ten best nursing schools in New Jersey, based on the US News Top Nursing Schools ranking. If a tie exists according to US News, the College Gazette editorial team will determine the tiebreaker. If a school is not listed on the US News ranking, College Gazette will determine its placement.
10. Thomas Edison State University W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing
At Thomas Edison State University, the self-paced programs are designed to shape clinically competent and technologically adept nursing leaders. Thanks to the flexibility of the BSN program, students can complete all nursing courses in as little as 15 months.
The hallmark of the School of Nursing is personalized nurse-to-nurse advising. As experienced nurses, advisors are practiced in the demands of working and the critical role of the position. In addition, these mentors guide students through their courses and facilitate online discussions. Along with advisors, professors further nursing education by teaching in a variety of learning environments. Students interact with mentors, faculty, and peers to create a community of learners.
TESU also provides many scholarships for all nursing students. Many require essays demonstrating their personal aspirations and academic merit. These awards, such as the W. Cary Edwards Foundation Nursing Scholarship, support nursing students throughout their education.
9. Kean University School of Nursing (Union, NJ)
The Kean University School of Nursing focuses on educating nurses who have already passed their licensure exams, through RN-to-BSN and MSN programs. The advanced courses and education framework promotes success in the classroom and the workplace.
In 2019, an impressive 100% of Kean graduates were employed six months after graduation. Through license reciprocity, Kean University RNs can practice in all 50 states.
The Integrative Student Growth Model, developed by 3 Keen faculty members, is a new nursing education framework that is being introduced nationwide. The model focuses on each student, building on individual strengths.
In addition, a nurse’s role as part of an interdisciplinary clinical team is highlighted in the classroom. This transformative educational model beat out many top universities to win the 2018 Excellence in Scholarship award. As a result, the ISGM was introduced at a national level and will continue to be refined through further research.
8. Rowan University School of Health Professions (Rowan, NJ)
Rowan University aims to lead the industry in innovative nursing education and evidence-based practice. In order to best serve their diverse community, the School of Health Professions educates the next leaders in healthcare through campus, hybrid, and online degree programs. These nursing programs are designed to accommodate the busy schedule of working nurses and can be completed on a part-time basis.
Along with general education courses, nursing students at Rowan University can customize a plan of study to meet their individual interests. There are various advanced courses such as pathophysiology, health care policy and finance, community health nursing, and research applications in nursing practice.
As a result of the top-notch education and clinical experiences, the average NCLEX passing rate at Rowan is above 83% for both the ADN and BSN program.
7. Stockton University (Galloway, NJ)
Stockton University’s Simulation Center uses healthcare simulation as an instructional tool to recreate a clinical environment. Spanning over 3,500 square feet, the facility houses computerized human mannequins, live patient actors, intensive care units, and surgical suites. The Anatoimage classroom consists of a 3D interactive table that allows for anatomy examination and patient diagnosis.
Under the mentorship of experienced faculty members, access to the latest technologies promotes a lifelike clinical experience for nursing students.
The Interprofessional Education Team at Stockton brings students from different professions to prepare them for their future careers. Nursing, health science, PT, and occupational therapy students learn about and with each other to support collaboration. This allows students to build their networks and develop communication skills that are essential for quality care.
6. Saint Elizabeth University (Morristown, NJ)
Saint Elizabeth University, located in Morristown, was recognized by Colleges of Distinction for their Nursing program in 2021 and 2022. This ranking highlights the best colleges to learn, grow, and succeed at. In addition, Colleges of Distinction recognized their commitment to supporting each student. The nursing ranking was based on qualitative and quantitative information from college administrators across the United States.
Along with highly rated programs, Saint Elizabeth University fosters leadership development in students, with a focus on service and social responsibility. Students have the opportunity to bring their coursework to life by volunteering in the community. By traveling to rural and urban areas to participate in service-learning, nursing students experience patient advocacy and healthcare in the real world. These programs include work with youth, elder, and hospice care. In order to complement their work, students learn about complex healthcare issues in their communities.
5. Ramapo College of New Jersey (Mahwah, NJ)
The Adler Center for Nursing Excellence, a 36,000 square feet education facility, houses over 450 students who use the facilities on a daily basis. The center contains three simulation rooms, computer labs, classrooms, and laboratories. Using these resources, faculty recreate real-life medical scenarios for nursing students and provide individual feedback.
Laboratory courses, such as Nursing Skills and Anatomy and Physiology, help students practice the basics of nursing in a hands-on setting. In addition, they study the physical assessment of patients and other skilled nursing procedures.
Thanks to Ramapo’s prestigious clinical partnerships, students can work at clinics unique in nursing education.
Clinical affiliates include St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, and the Bergen County Department of Public Health. At the Valley Hospital, a magnet hospital and a Center of Excellence in Nursing, students experience healthcare in one of the best departments nationwide.
4. Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck, NJ)
At Fairleigh Dickinson University, nursing students learn from 18 full-time faculty. With the majority earning doctorates in nursing or education, the qualified staff provides a top-tier education. They are also highly experienced in theory, research, administration, and many other nursing specialties. Faculty research covers a variety of topics, from educational outcomes to transcultural issues.
Outside of the classroom, students practice their nursing skills at various medical centers, rehabilitation institutes, hospitals, clinics, and schools. Graduate students can choose a clinical position that meets their interests best, whether with a nurse practitioner or private practice.
As a result of the experienced faculty, Fairleigh Dickinson’s nursing programs are highly respected nationwide. The Family Nurse Practitioner Program is ranked as #6 in the United States based on median post-graduate salary, while the online degree program is #1 for 10-year return on investment.
3. Monmouth University Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies (West Long Branch, NJ)
Monmouth University’s nursing program enrollment is limited to 60 students each year. This allows each student to receive personalized attention that Monmouth is known for. Along with faculty interaction, the university provides one-on-one mentorship to support personal and professional growth. This close collaboration with faculty, mentors, and peers give students confidence in their abilities.
At Monmouth, simulation is the art and science of replicating clinical environments. These models help students apply classroom knowledge and practice essential nursing skills. By teaching students how to make decisions and think critically, their collaborative skills are refined before interacting with actual patients. In addition, simulation as a teaching tool keeps students engaged and can be adjusted to fit all learning styles.
In addition to simulation, students develop their abilities through laboratory and clinical aspects of the curriculum. Clinical begins in junior year and enables students to work with actual patients in area medical centers.
2. Seton Hall University College of Nursing (South Orange, NJ)
Established in 1937, Seton Hall offered the first Baccalaureate nursing program in the state. Today, Seton Hall is home to one of the highest-ranked nursing programs nationwide. The university is a leader in healthcare education and continues to educate innovators and leaders in the industry.
The school’s long history of excellence can be seen in the College of Nursing graduates. Spread across New Jersey, the US, and worldwide, the network of Seton Hall alumni is an impressive resource for nursing students. These industry connections give them a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Staffed by dedicated Health Sciences librarians, the Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus at Seton Hall is dedicated to supporting nursing students. The facility promotes evidence-based practice to help nurses provide patient care. Whether nursing students want to do research or further class study, the library houses over 2 million eBooks, thousands of journals, and over 400 databases.
1. Rutgers School of Nursing (Newark, New Brunswick, & Blackwood, NJ)
Rutgers ranks among the nation’s top 20 nursing schools, according to US News. Placing #15 for the DNP program and #19 for the MSN program, these rankings show the excellence of Rutgers’ faculty and students. The university is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.
As an extensive and comprehensive nursing school, Rutgers is home to many research projects that help transform lives worldwide. The program is dedicated to solving the most significant challenges in nursing science and healthcare. Students can collaborate with recognized faculty members. Receiving $55.4 million in external funding, the School of Nursing has the resources to develop breakthroughs in care.
The Research Centers at Rutgers bring community members together to implement nursing practice at home and abroad. For example, the Center for Community Health Partnerships develops sustainable community-linked infrastructures to improve community health.