Brandon Woller '17 / University of St. Thomas

Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing at St. Thomas Receives Accreditation Approval

The Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas has reached another milestone. In addition to seeing its first graduates cross the stage this May, it recently received the final vote of approval for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

In a May 2024 letter to the school’s Executive Director of the School of Nursing Annette Hines and university President Rob Vischer, the CCNE Chair Philip R. Martinez, Jr., wrote “the Board determined that the program substantially complied with all four accreditation standards.”

This means that the CCNE has granted full accreditation to the master’s degree program and the baccalaureate degree program in nursing at the University of St. Thomas in time for the first pinning ceremony and commencement. The accreditation is retroactive to Oct. 2, 2023, the first day of the site visit, and extends for five years through June 30, 2029, which is standard practice for ongoing review for nursing programs.

“The Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing enters a new phase for our programs with the official notification of CCNE accreditation,” Hines said. “We will expand our already diverse clinical experiences into additional systems and increase our ability to promote health equity. The quality of our programs and its graduates are validated by this designation and gives us national recognition among schools of nursing.”

Nursing MSN students
Roy Palmer, Emily Pieper, and Nuela Cannady working in the School of Nursing lab in the Summit Classroom building. They are among the first class of graduate nursing students.

The school, which offers both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a pre-licensure Master of Science in Nursing to prepare students to become registered nurses focused on whole-person health and health equity, has been growing since it first opened its doors in 2022. It has seen a 30% increase in its student body from the initial cohort of students to those who are committed to attend in fall 2024.

The School of Nursing's planning, design, and launch took place amid a historic period during the pandemic.

“During this critical time, we still opened the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing on time and made steady progress toward CCNE accreditation,” said MayKao Hang, dean of the Morrison Family College of Health, which houses the School of Nursing. “Receiving CCNE accreditation right before graduating our inaugural MSN cohort means that our program has met the quality standards set forth nationally for nursing education, and that our dream of having a school of nursing has become reality once our students graduate May 26. Our start-up work is now finished.”

But the on-the-ground work of educating the next generation of nurses continues, and it’s at a pivotal time. There is a growing need for nurses as baby boomers age along with a rise in retiring nurses.

St. Thomas’ nursing school sets itself apart from others. The school’s mission is to prepare “highly skilled professional nurses who are culturally responsive, practice clinical excellence with ingenuity, and proactively improve whole-person healing to advance health equity and social justice.”

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