USM Advanced Nursing Programs Ranked Among Nation’s Best

Published 3:45 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has been named one of 2021’s best schools for online programs and courses in advanced nursing and advanced practice nursing by Just eight percent of colleges and universities across the country earned a position in one of’s higher education rankings.

USM’s recognition comes at a time when students across the country are taking more of their courses either fully or partially online. According to data from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in online courses increased by 93 percent between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020. Nearly two-thirds of college students took at least one online course in 2020.

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USM was ranked for online program excellence in the following areas:

Best Online DNP Programs (No. 19 nationally) –

Best PMHNP Programs Online (No. 22 nationally) –

“This type of recognition is confirmation that our students are getting quality education that can be matched with programs across the country,” said Dr. LaWanda Baskin, Director, School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice at USM.

USM currently has 54 students enrolled in the online PMHNP programs, with 61 students enrolled in the online DNP programs.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is designed to prepare nurses at the highest professional level of nursing practice and to advance the application of nursing knowledge to improving healthcare outcomes for diverse populations. Role preparation for graduates may be as transformational nurses leaders or primary care providers in family (FNP), mental health (PMHNP), and surgical (CRNA) care settings. Each of the programs prepare students to care for patients across the lifespan.

Baskin emphasizes that the USM programs are so highly regarded because of knowledgeable faculty and dedicated staff.

“They put in the work needed to prepare our students for the workforce using innovative pedagogies and cutting-edge technologies,” said Baskin. “Although the programs are administered online, faculty and staff are accessible to the needs of the students to ensure their success.”

EduMed researched more than 7,700 accredited schools using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and from the schools themselves. Its data science team then applied a proprietary algorithm to rank all qualifying schools for each healthcare discipline. Schools with the best combinations of online learning opportunity, affordability, and student support earned top honors. To be eligible, a school must hold active regional accreditation and have at least one partially online program in advanced nursing.

To learn more about advanced nursing practice programs at USM, contact the School of Nursing and Health Professions at 601.266.5445 or visit: