NC and MD Grad Program Rankings vs. Real World Reputation

  1. I'm considering graduate programs in North Carolina and Maryland areas to continue my nursing education as a post-master's FNP and possibly go on for a PhD to explore teaching and research. I'm interested in the reputations of programs that rank high on U.S. News & World Report including UNC Chapel Hill (and Greensboro), UMD Baltimore, JHU, Duke, and Vanderbilt. While I'm leaning toward UNC Chapel Hill, I've read posts about the program's reputation being such that some hospitals are not interested in working with its NP students. Are there other schools with grad programs to consider in these areas that didn't make the U.S. News cut but have a great reputation and are respected as producing quality advanced practice nurses?
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    About OnwardEver, MSN, RN

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 30; Likes: 4


  3. by   bearasara94
    I went to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. It's ranked high. I believe it was a wonderful program. All staff were incredibly caring and want you to succeed.
  4. by   OnwardEver
    Thanks for letting me know about your experience at UMich bearasara94. I'm trying to look at schools where the winter is milder than up here near Canada. While I've seen where UNC Chapel Hill and UMD Baltimore rank, I wonder if the programs and their reputations match up and what people's experiences have been recently. To give my post some context, I should add that posts I've read at The Student Doctor Network by "ChillyRN" have made me think twice about UNC-CH: Seeking serious advice re: MSN/FNP vs. DNP | Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ] | Student Doctor Network. That a local hospital gave UNC-CH an unsatisfactory rating and would not host their students and that a graduate of the program "felt very underprepared", at least according to that series of posts in 2008--see linked thread, is a big concern to me.

    Perhaps I should also post on but I'd rather frame my inquiry around and receive responses from nursing/nurses.... I'm very interested in hearing more from anyone who knows about or has attended/is attending a school (or schools) in the NC or MD/DC area. Does what I've read about UNC-CH's FNP program still hold true? What do I really need to know about Duke, UMD Baltimore, and JHU before considering them for my post-master's FNP?
  5. by   juan de la cruz
    Just a question: how is it that a local hospital gave UNC-CH an unsatisfactory rating? Is that based on the quality of their baccalaureate nursing students rotating there? As far as I know, FNP students have very limited in-patient clinical rotations so they would rarely be seen in a hospital if at all. If I was to evaluate FNP programs, I'd be more concerned with the availability of community-based practices and the quality of the providers who will be supervising my clinical preceptorships - not what local hospitals think. But that's just me.

    BTW...if you're open to the West Coast, I think UCSF has a great reputation and an established network of primary care practices with great exposure to HIV care, indigent care, immigrant health, and so forth. San Francisco, however, is one of those "love it or hate it" cities.
  6. by   OnwardEver
    Your perspective is appreciated, juan de la cruz. You're right, when evaluating the quality of FNP programs one definitely has to proportionately weigh the quality of partnering community-based practices and associated providers. However, it's also been my experience that a majority of practices are part of a larger hospital system in order to garner greater Medicare reimbursement--the strength in numbers negotiation approach, greater ability to bill and receive the highest reimbursement possible for each visit and procedure. Is it the same on the west coast?

    I find it curious that there hasn't been a stronger response from the nurses on the site re: east coast programs... I know the "nursing shortage" has slowed and we are all holding on to our nursing jobs and competing more fiercely for spots in nursing programs but if anything I'd think more people would be talking about this and ensuring a sound investment when enrolling in a program, whether located in the midwest, east, or west. I'd love to go to the west coast and have seen that UCSF ranks at the top according to U.S. News but I'm limited due to family commitments from going to SF. The opportunities to be exposed to and provide care for vulnerable populations sounds great.
  7. by   OnwardEver
    Bump: does anyone have any advice on east coast FNP programs? I'm sure this is the way I want to go but still on the fence regarding UNC-CH. Would appreciate advice and welcome any feedback if I'm going about my request the wrong way. Thanks.
  8. by   rgbrn
    Hi ubaneRN. I live in NC and am attending the RN to BSN program at Western Carolina University. They have a MSN/FNP program that I am considering applying to...however my first choice for grad. school is Duke. I had an interview about 2 weeks ago at Duke for admission to the Spring 2013 MSN/FNP class and am waiting to hear back re. the admission decision.
    I am not familiar with the UNC -CH nursing school first-hand, but have heard good things about the school and always assumed it would be a very strong nursing program...especially in maternal/child and public health.
    I have worked with grads from Vandy (a CNM, a women's health NP and a psych. NP) and they all had excellent experiences and spoke highly of the their programs.
    Have you heard of East Tennessee State (ETSU) in Johnson City,TN? They have a very solid, established program to train NPs. They have a great faculty practice network with several sites. You can check out their program at
    Good luck!!
  9. by   OnwardEver
    Thanks, rgbrn. I'm not clear about the isolated negatives I've read about UNC-CH. It sounds like Duke, Vandy, and ETSU all have strong programs in the area but I'd like to be further east closer to Duke and UNC-CH and, on gorgeous days off, the shore/beach OBX, etc. though it's nice to know ETSU has a strong faculty practice network. That's a big advantage.

    Do you know of anyone that has gone to UNC-CH for either undergrad or grad nursing and what their experiences were?
  10. by   OnwardEver
    bump: Any other thoughts or advice from anyone regarding this topic? Will also search the forums for more.