May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

College of Nursing

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Welcome to the College of Nursing

We are living in unprecedented times. But nursing is the most trusted profession in America, and there has never been a better time to become a nurse or to advance your profession as a nurse. Health care is being challenged, but RUSH nurses are innovating and creating the future. RUSH faculty and alumni are pushing boundaries in practice, education, research, health policy and advocacy — and leading in all domains. Peruse our website to learn about RUSH’s 135-year history and unique contributions to the nursing profession.

What you will find at RUSH University College of Nursing is a healthy work environment, dedicated professional staff, leading-edge faculty, top-ranked graduate programs and community-engaged academic practice partnerships. The unification of education, research and practice is our guiding approach, with its historical antecedents rooted in the legendary work of the college’s first dean,  Luther Christman — an innovator and maverick in higher education. Our faculty have active clinical practices and programs of research, and students are invited to learn alongside them in the classroom, lab, clinic or on the research team.

We are a school without walls, where learning is valued and transmitted in many different modalities and venues, including residential classes, hybrid and distance-learning options. You will find us in the halls of RUSH University Medical Center, at the bedside and in the boardroom, on the streets of Chicago and in communities around the state, as well as in the Statehouse! We value diversity, inclusion and the tenets of social justice in achieving equity in health care. What you will experience at RUSH is a sense of belonging. Your mindset will be challenged, but you will also be supported so you can further develop your competency. We have many highly ranked programs, but your impact is how we measure our success!


Christine M. Kennedy, PhD, RN, FAAN
John L. and Helen Kellogg Dean, College of Nursing
Associate Chief Nursing Officer, RUSH University Medical Center

College of Nursing Description

RUSH University College of Nursing is a private, not-for-profit graduate college of nursing. It is currently comprised of three degree programs - Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) — as well as a postgraduate certificate program. The College of Nursing faculty thoroughly prepare students to advance the quality of patient care and nursing practice in a multitude of health care environments and to be leaders focused on improving health outcomes, whether at the bedside, in a research setting or directing an organization.

The education and preparation of students to meet the health needs of a culturally diverse society is facilitated at RUSH by the integration of academic, research and clinical practice components. RUSH students have the advantage of attending a private university that is a vital part of a nationally recognized academic medical center. This unique integration stimulates excellence in education, practice, scholarly activities and professional leadership by the faculty and the graduates of the College of Nursing.

The master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Rush University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.  

College of Nursing Mission

The mission of RUSH University College of Nursing is to integrate nursing practice, scholarship and education throughout the communities we serve and to boldly lead health care transformation to ensure health equity across the continuum of care.

College of Nursing Vision

Our vision is to lead nursing practice scholarship while driving health equity.


The College of Nursing philosophy expresses the beliefs of the faculty regarding the metaparadigm of nursing and nursing education.


The faculty believes that a person is a unique being who possesses innate dignity and worth with the right to self-determination. Persons live as individuals and as members of families, communities, and national and global societies.


The environment includes the multiple systems in which persons interact. This environment includes personal, physical, family, community, societal, economic, cultural and political systems. Persons influence, and are influenced by, their environments.


Health is a dynamic state of well-being that interacts with personal factors and the environment. It is perceived in the context of a multisystem environment.


Nursing is both a discipline and a profession. The focus of the discipline is the generation of knowledge related to persons and their environments for the purpose of maximizing the well-being of individuals, families, communities and society through health promotion, restoration and maintenance. The focus of the profession is the care of individuals, groups and communities through application of discipline-specific and discipline-related knowledge. Nurses contribute both individually and collaboratively with other professionals to promote positive health outcomes. Nurses apply a professional code of ethics and professional guidelines to clinical practice, and demonstrate compassion, advocacy and cultural sensitivity.

Nursing Education

The education of nurses is a process by which the knowledge, skills, values and culture of nursing are transmitted to the learner. The faculty believes that professional nursing education is accomplished in a university setting and in an environment where nursing education, practice and research are integrated. Nursing education is built upon knowledge from the sciences, arts and humanities so students understand and value the human experience and its relationship to health. Nursing faculty members foster student growth by providing learning experiences in a variety of health care settings so students can understand the complexity of health care and learn the nursing role. The education of nurses is an interactive process whereby students are actively engaged learners who take responsibility for their education and practice.

The curricula of the College of Nursing are designed to produce nurses who are the following:

  • Competent, caring practitioners; lifelong learners that value scholarship; and collaborative members of interprofessional teams and leaders in the profession
  • Clinical scholars who contribute to the scientific basis of nursing practice, improve clinical outcomes through evidence-based practice, and positively influence the profession and the health care system

College of Nursing Diversity Statement

The best future for nursing depends on our ability to prepare a broadly diverse student body to become nurse clinicians, researchers and leaders who will improve health care outcomes for all populations.

The preparation of a diverse nursing workforce is paramount to the delivery of effective, culturally congruent and accessible health care in an increasingly diverse nation. A broadly diverse student body promotes an enriched environment and deeper learning for all students and a more capable health care workforce. Diversity is defined broadly and includes but is not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion and veteran status.

RUSH University College of Nursing uses a holistic admissions process where a student’s experiences, attributes and academic performance all have merit in making an admissions decision. Each candidate brings a unique set of personal attributes, characteristics, culture and experiences, but all students can contribute to the creation of a diverse and inclusive learning environment. These important elements are considered in combination with how the individual will contribute value as a health professions student and future nurse. 

The RUSH community strives to be an intentionally inclusive setting where students will thrive in learning, cocurricular and community experiences. An inclusive environment empowers all participants to reach their highest potential, learn from one another and develop a thoughtfulness that values diverse perspectives.


The College of Nursing offers graduate nursing education that allows the student to exit with one of the following degrees:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD)

Postgraduate certificate programs also exist in a few advanced practice specialties.

A set of core courses, or its equivalent, is required for every student. Advanced clinical specialty courses are required as determined by an area of advanced practice concentration. Cognate courses representing coursework from the biological, behavioral and organizational sciences may also be required by each degree.

Admission Entry Points

Several entry points are available depending on the educational goals and academic background of the applicant:

  1. Students with a baccalaureate degree in another field may apply for the Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader for Non-Nurses program: Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM).
  2. RNs with a baccalaureate degree with an upper division major in nursing may apply directly for the MSN Nursing Leadership: Clinical Nurse Leader, advanced practice DNP or PhD degree options.
  3. RNs with a master’s degree in nursing may apply for DNP or PhD degree options.
  4. RNs who already have an advanced practice graduate degree in nursing (MSN or DNP) who wish to specialize in a different clinical area may apply for a non-degree postgraduate certificate in selected specialty areas.
  5. Non-nurses who hold a graduate degree in a health-related field will be considered for admission to the PhD program.

Master’s Entry in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader for Non-Nurses: Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM)

The GEM program is a full-time, on-campus, 24-month program. Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field prior to matriculation. All prerequisite coursework must be completed prior to the application deadline. Students graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and the ability to sit for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader.

Direct Entry

The Direct Entry pathway creates a seamless route for Generalist Entry Masters (GEM) students to transition into a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Interested applicants may consider the Adult Health and Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (NP), Advanced Public Health, Family NP, Primary Care Pediatric NP, or the Psychiatric-Mental Health NP program. To participate in the Direct Entry program, applicants will submit their standard GEM materials and an additional short-form application to the DNP track of their choice. The short-form application is part of the Program Materials section of the NursingCAS application. 


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership: Clinical Nurse Leader for RNs

The MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program for RNs is a part-time, online, two-year program. The program is available to bachelor’s-prepared RNs who wish to obtain a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). Graduates have the ability to sit for certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

There are currently 14 DNP tracks offered in BSN-DNP and MSN-DNP options. Some tracks are offered completely online -some in hybrid format with a portion of coursework offered only on campus (see the College of Nursing webpage for details). The Nurse Anesthesia track is only offered on campus. Depending upon the area of specialization, most BSN-DNP options range between 64 and 89 credit hours. MSN-DNP options require a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. 

All clinical specialty areas provide the requisite didactic and clinical coursework in order to sit for certification. Course requirements vary in each program track.

Some areas of focus have RN practice requirements that must be met prior to enrollment in the program. These program-specific requirements are delineated below under Program Specific Requirements.

Students are considered for admission to the DNP program in one of the following areas of focus:

Doctor of Nursing Practice in a Clinical Specialty

BSN or MSN-prepared students select a specific clinical specialty track upon application to the DNP program. Students may choose an area of specialization in one of the following roles and populations:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (AGACNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (AGPCNP)
  • Family (FNP)
  • Neonatal (NNP)
  • Pediatric Primary Care (PC PNP)
  • Pediatric Acute Care (ACPNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health (PMHNP)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (AGACCNS)
  • Neonatal (NCNS)
  • Pediatric (PCNS)
  • Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN)
  • Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA)

Doctor of Nursing Practice in Leadership

MSN-prepared students select a specific leadership track based on their desire to improve health outcomes in systems or populations.

  • Transformative Leadership: Systems
  • Transformative Leadership: Population Health

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) program is a minimum of 64 credit hours and can be taken as a three-year, full-time or four-year, part-time curriculum. 

The PhD in Nursing Science is available to both bachelor’s and master’s-prepared nurses wishing to attain a PhD degree. Non-nurses who hold a graduate degree in a health-related field may also apply. We do not require specific work experience for admission to the program.

This program is online, but it also includes periodic visits to the RUSH campus. The initial visit is in the first fall term, with subsequent visits for intensive learning sessions occurring every summer for the next three years.

College Admission Requirements

All applicants applying to RUSH University College of Nursing do so through a centralized application system, NursingCAS. Application materials (essay, references, transcripts, etc.) must be submitted directly to NursingCAS prior to the application deadline. Applicants will be invited to submit a supplemental application directly to the College of Nursing upon receipt of their NursingCAS application.

Admission/Application Guidelines

All applicants will be evaluated on the following:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • All calculated GPAs of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).*
  • A completed application submitted to NursingCAS.
  • A brief RUSH supplemental application.
  • Official transcripts from all accredited institutions of higher education attended, regardless of whether a degree was earned.
  • A current resume or CV.
  • Substantive personal essay statement.
  • RN licensure in the United States (for post-licensure MSN and DNP programs).
  • Three professional letters of recommendation from faculty and/or work managers.
    • MSN and DNP post-licensure applicant: One letter must come from current supervisor/manager (the person who is responsible for your performance evaluation). Two letters should come from individuals in leadership positions who can speak to your clinical abilities (i.e., an APRN, CNS, nurse educator, medical director).
    • PhD in Nursing Science applicants: One letter must come from a PhD-prepared individual (does not have to be an RN) and all letters must speak to your scholarly and research abilities and potential.
  • Please refer to the College of Nursing webpage admission guidelines for your specific program for more detailed recommender information.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required. 
    • GRE scores are not required for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Postgraduate non-degree programs.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores, if required.
    • TOEFL is required for applicants who are non-native speakers of English. This requirement may be waived if the applicant has completed a minimum of three years of higher education and received their baccalaureate degree in the United States.
  • All foreign institutions attended require course-by-course ECE, WES or CGFNS transcript evaluation.

After an initial review of completed files, a subset of applicants is invited to interview with faculty.

*Cumulative GPA calculated for all applicants, prerequisite science GPA for GEM applicants only and prelicensure nursing GPA for all graduate programs except GEM.

Program-Specific Requirements

Generalist Entry Master’s (GEM) applicants must have all prerequisite courses completed by the application deadline.

Advanced Practice applicants must have the following experience by the application deadline:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care: Minimum of six months of recent adult critical care or adult acute care nursing experience by the application deadline
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care: Preference is given to applicants with recent RN experience or will begin working as a RN at the start of the program
  • Family: Preference is given to applicants with RN experience in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.  There is no requirement for length of experience, but it will be considered in the holistic admission.
  • Neonatal: Minimum of six months of recent NICU experience (level 3 or higher) by the application deadline.
  • Nurse Anesthesia: A minimum of one year of recent full-time experience as a registered nurse in an intensive care unit (ICU) by the application deadline. We strongly prefer two years of recent full-time ICU experience.
  • Pediatric Acute Care: A minimum of six months of recent acute care pediatric nursing experience by the application deadline.
  • Pediatric Primary Care: Preference is given to applicants with RN experience in a pediatric setting or will begin working as a pediatric RN at the start of the program.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health: Preference is given to applicants working in a clinical psychiatric setting or will begin working in one at the start of the program.

All application materials are taken into consideration when evaluating an applicant.

Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree with a recognized upper-division major upon enrollment. The majority of credit toward the degree should be earned through university-level coursework. Students taking courses under RUSH student-at-large status will neither be admitted nor allowed to matriculate as an enrolled student if their RUSH GPA is below 3.0. A grade of B or better must be earned in any course taken at another institution or as a RUSH student-at-large for it to be considered for transfer.

Deadlines for Application

Current application deadlines for nursing programs may be obtained on the College of Nursing Program and Admission webpage. All application materials must be received by the indicated deadline. Applicants are encouraged to apply early in to avoid missing deadlines due to a lack of required documentation.

Technical Standards

RUSH University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will serve diverse communities locally and nationally.

Our core values — I CARE (innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence) — translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. RUSH actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and create a respectful, accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. RUSH is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

If you had sufficient education would you be able to perform the following technical standards:

Acquire information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in nursing courses, such as lecture, group and physical demonstrations
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches and data retrieval)
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description and transparencies
  • Identify information presented in images from paper, slides, videos and transparencies
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity and cognition, and verbal and non-verbal communication

Use and interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers, such as those involved in assessing respiratory and cardiac function, blood pressure, blood sugar, neurological status, etc.
  • Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools (i.e., sphygmomanometer, otoscope, ophthalmoscope) during a comprehensive examination of a client or patient


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide holistic nursing care and perform or assist with procedures, treatments and medication administration
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide care in emergencies and life support procedures and perform universal precautions against contamination


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors and all members of the health care team during practicum and other learning experiences
  • Accurately elicit information, including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a client or patient’s condition

Intellectual ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize data related to patient diagnosis and treatment of patients
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the advanced generalist-nursing role
  • Synthesize information, problem-solve and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory or assessment strategy
  • Ask for help when needed and make proper judgments of when a nursing task can or cannot be carried out alone


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings


  • Demonstrate concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest and motivations are necessary personal qualities
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the ANA Standards of Care and Nursing Code of Ethics 

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to create and implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged.

To learn more about accommodations at RUSH University please contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services:

Marie Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Director, Office of Student Accessibility Services
RUSH University
600 S. Paulina St., Suite 901
Chicago, IL 60612     
(312) 942-5237

International Students

Students from other countries are welcome to apply. Limited financial aid is available. TOEFL is required for applicants who are non-native speakers of English. This requirement may be waived if the applicant has completed a minimum of three years of higher education and received their baccalaureate degree in the United States.

Student Progression in the College of Nursing

Student progress in the College of Nursing is reviewed and evaluated in several ways. The progressions policies established by the faculty are interpreted and applied by the student’s academic adviser, the Office of the Dean and the College of Nursing Progressions Committee. The College of Nursing reserves the right to request a leave of absence or the withdrawal of any student whose conduct, physical or mental health or performance demonstrates lack of fitness for continuance in a health profession. Should a student’s behavior come into question, policies and procedures to determine the student’s continuing status in the college are delineated in the College of Nursing Student Guidebook. 

Since much of the work in nursing assumes that students will achieve a progressively higher level of understanding and skill, high academic performance is expected. The individual student is responsible for acquiring knowledge inside and outside of formal classroom and clinical settings.

Academic Progressions Policy

A student must achieve an A or B grade in all required clinical nursing courses. If a student receives a C grade in a single clinical didactic course or a single clinical practicum, the student must repeat the course prior to graduation. A student may repeat only one clinical didactic or clinical practicum in a program of study. An F or N grade in any required course places the student on academic probation and may result in dismissal from the program. A grade of F, N or a second C in a required clinical didactic or clinical practicum may result in dismissal from the program. Permission may be given to retake a course at the discretion of the Progressions Committee. If permitted, a student has only one opportunity to achieve a passing grade. An F or N grade in the repeated courses may result in dismissal.

Students in all graduate programs must maintain a cumulative 3.0 average in graduate coursework to remain in good academic standing. If a student’s cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, they will be placed on academic probation. A student may enroll for no more than two consecutive terms as a probationary student. Students may be dismissed from the College of Nursing upon failing to achieve satisfactory academic standing in the required period or if the student incurs a second probationary event.

To be awarded a degree or certificate, a student must be in good academic standing at the completion of the program.

Please refer to the College of Nursing Student Guidebook for a complete review of the college academic progression policy.

College of Nursing Committees

Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate is the senior representative and governing body for the College of Nursing faculty and operates as the Committee on Committees. The senate has eight elected members: six faculty members and two student representatives. Members of this body serve three-year terms.

Standing Committees

The Standing Committees of the College of Nursing assist with the work of the college. The faculty elects members of the committees annually to serve three-year terms. Students are also elected to represent the student body on various committees. The committees include the following:

Admissions and Progressions

The Admissions and Progressions Committee is responsible for the review of all applicants to the College of Nursing and maintaining the admission standards and policies for all nursing programs. This joint committee is also charged with oversight of the progression standards and policies for all nursing programs and for the progress and performance review of all students.


There is a curriculum committee for each of the College of Nursing programs: MSN, DNP and PhD. These committees are charged with overseeing the quality and integrity of their respective curricula. The committees review all new courses and/or major changes in the curriculum, establish and monitor methodology for curriculum evaluation and provide overall consistency for curriculum development.

Diversity and Inclusion

The mission of the Diversity and Inclusion committee is to safeguard the well-being of those within and connected to the College of Nursing by promoting, monitoring and evaluating diversity and inclusion initiatives. The Diversity and Inclusion committee endeavors to engage students, faculty and staff in a welcoming and supportive environment whereby mutual respect and cultural competence are paramount. The committee works to ensure diversity and inclusion goals of other standing committees are supported, and strategies are coordinated and aligned to meet the University and College of Nursing strategic plan’s diversity and inclusion goals.


This committee evaluates the integrity and quality of the academic enterprise in the College of Nursing using the CON Evaluation Matrix, ensures the College of Nursing programs are future-oriented and innovative in their approach and align with College of Nursing and University strategic plans, and promotes communication across the three curriculum committees by meeting at least once per term with the three committee chairs to discuss curriculum quality issues and processes.

Faculty Appointments and Promotions

This committee acts upon the appointments and promotions of faculty in accordance with the Rules for Governance.

Faculty Development

The Faculty Development Committee performs a periodic needs assessment and establishes, implements and evaluates faculty orientation, mentoring and development programs in collaboration with the College of Nursing and University.


This committee establishes, implements and evaluates criteria for the distribution of funds allocated for faculty and student research activities in collaboration with the Office of Research and Scholarship, with emphasis on underserved populations. They also collaborate with the dean and the associate dean for research regarding matters pertaining to research enrichment and suggest measures for ongoing facilitation of research productivity for faculty and students.

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