Review Showcases RUSH Doctoral Nursing Science Program’s Multiple Strengths

Powerhouse PhD in Nursing Science program equips graduates to conduct clinical research that enhances health care for individuals and communities
A group of students in conversation with an open textbook on the table in front of them

Despite being one of the smaller academic tracks within RUSH College of Nursing, the PhD in Nursing Science stands as a powerhouse program, equipping graduates to conduct clinical research that enhances health care for individuals and communities. In April, the program successfully underwent a rigorous review process, shedding light on some of its notable strengths.

Unique location and community engagement

RUSH's PhD program boasts a unique location at the epicenter of health care in Chicago, within the Illinois Medical District and directly connected to RUSH University Medical Center. Reviewers underscored the significance of this location, stating, "There may not be many nursing programs in the U.S. that have this unique structure, and this aspect makes the RUSH PhD program very distinctive from others. "

Moving into the future, students will benefit from valuable community connections forged by the Department of Academic Practice Nursing (DAPN), with its more than 20 community sites offering nurse-led care.

Strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion hold a central place in all of RUSH's educational programs. Many PhD faculty members possess expertise in health equity and are nationally recognized leaders in this field. Coupled with the implementation of a holistic admissions process, RUSH actively fosters diversity within the program, cultivating an inclusive and welcoming learning environment for both students and faculty.

Engaged and enthusiastic students and faculty

Both students and faculty in the program are passionate about education. Students feel a strong sense of community within the University and thrive as they work with the PhD faculty. Though students are scattered across the United States, they come together for monthly calls that help them feel connected. In August, PhD students gathered in person for the first time since the COVID pandemic began.

In 2022, Barbara Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, ACRN, who had led the program for over a decade, passed the leadership baton to Todd Ruppar, PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, FAHA, FAAN. Contrary to national trends, RUSH has experienced a surge in applications and admissions to the program.

"Dr. Ruppar is excited to take the reins of this mature program and I envision some innovative outcomes for this vital program," remarks Christine Kennedy, PhD, RN, FAAN, the dean of RUSH College of Nursing. "Thanks to Dr. Swanson's unwavering commitment and leadership over nearly 14 years, RUSH has become a premier destination for developing nursing scientists."


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