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University of Dubuque's Department of Nursing Named One of the Best in Iowa

By Stacey Ortman

DUBUQUE, Iowa - For the sixth consecutive year, University of Dubuque's Department of Nursing was named one of the best registered nursing programs in Iowa by UD placed second on the nursing advocacy organization's 2023 Best RN Programs in Iowa list.

"We are delighted and proud of our accomplishment - the faculty and students deserve this award as both groups work very hard. The faculty works hard to ensure that students receive up-to-date information, experiences, and resources to succeed. The students work hard in the program and spend a great deal of time studying, which has paid off in their ability to find wonderful jobs here in the community and beyond," said Neil MacNaughton, RN, PhD, head of the Department of Nursing and professor of nursing. ranked the Top 10 nursing schools in Iowa by analyzing current and historical pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) out of the 33 registered nursing programs in the state. The exam is required for licensure.

From 2016 to 2019 UD had a 100 percent NCLEX-RN pass rate, and this occurred again in 2021.

"When developing the program, my predecessors wisely chose to follow material from the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, which has served us well. One of the unique factors that UD is proud of is faculty teaching, both in the classroom and clinical areas. Faculty see what students are experiencing in the clinical setting and bring that into the classroom. I even get into the clinical area and recently covered for a faculty member on a medical floor," MacNaughton said.

Within its perspective of academic inquiry, professional preparation, and Christian tradition and service, the mission of the Department of Nursing is to educate professional nurses to provide ethical, evidence-based, collaborative care to meet the dynamic needs of diverse individuals and communities. Forty-four students are in the pre-nursing program and another 44 are in the bachelor of science in nursing program.

Senior nursing majors Adahja Weathers, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and Alyssa Moss, of Davenport, Iowa, said they appreciate a smaller class size that has allowed them to create connections with their professors and classmates.

"Our class size is smaller, so it's easier for us to feel like a family. We have an amazing set of professors and they're available if we don't understand something to help us a little more and take that extra one-on-one time with us," Weathers said.

Moss added, "We're also close with our classmates. We're all really good friends and it's easy for us to reach out to each other for help."

The University of Dubuque Student Nursing Association (UDSNA) is another outlet of support. The student organization hosts a variety of events to connect students with the campus community and greater Dubuque community. Events include hosting campus-wide blood drives, creating comfort blankets for cancer patients, and attending annual state and national nursing conventions.

As president of UDSNA, Moss shared how the student organization is promoted even before students join the nursing program. Nursing students, pre-nursing students, and students thinking about pursuing nursing are welcomed to join the monthly meetings.

"UDSNA is always there throughout their whole journey," Moss said.

To learn more about the Department of Nursing, please visit