University of Virginia School of Nursing
'The program's shaped me into a whole different person,' explains CNL student Michelle Bonsu. 'I feel like I've found what I was meant to do.'

US-News-2018-graphic In its annual “Best Guide to Graduate Schools, 2018,” US News & World Report has again declared a host of UVA School of Nursing programs among the nation’s most exceptional:

  • #2 - Clinical Nurse Leader master’s program
  • #7 – Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s program
  • #15 – Doctor of Nursing Practice program
  • #19 – master’s programs, overall (#8 among public institutions)

The School’s Clinical Nurse Leader master’s program has held its #2-in-the-nation spot for three years running, while its psych-mental health NP program has held steady at #7 since the 2017 guide. The 2018 guide notched UVA Nursing’s DNP program up three spots, to #15.

Overall, the School’s master’s programs rank 19th among the 532 U.S. schools with accredited nursing graduate programs. Among public institutions, UVA Nursing’s program ranked 8th.

The kudos are no surprise to students like Michelle Bonsu (CNL `17), who enrolled in the Clinical Nurse Leader program in 2015 after earning an undergraduate degree in anthropology and garnering a Conway Scholarship.

With the CNL program, “you leave with a master’s degree and you get that incredible mentors – important to me because without any background in nursing, I knew I needed help,” explains Bonsu, from Alexandria, Va., who bakes and decorates high end cakes on the side as proprietor of Missy’s Cakes. “It’s a lot to handle, and gets you out of your comfort zone, pushes and challenges you. But I feel like I’ve found what I’m meant to do.”

She’s also made legions of friends in the School known for its connectivity, tight-knittedness, and close mentoring from world-class professors.

“When I came to the School, people were saying, ‘Hi!’ opening doors for me, knowing my name, and I was sort of shocked that everybody was this nice, and waited for it to wear off,” laughs Bonsu. “But it never ended. It’s really a place with a different, a special kind of culture. I’m grateful for that.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Dorrie Fontaine, dean of the School since 2008.

“We’re certainly proud of our nationally positioned programs,” says Fontaine, “but know, too, that our programs are synonymous with quality because of the people who populate them: people whose passion, creativity and professionalism set the stage for incredible learning, scholarship and care.”