Nursing program ranked highly by College Atlas has ranked Sonoma State University’s nursing pre-licensure program as eighth in the nation. The list was based upon four categories of scoring: acceptance rate, size, board exam pass rate and tuition. is a website that ranks colleges and universities based on different programs and offerings. They take information on each of the institutions and create unbiased ranking based on different interests of the readers.

The Sonoma State University nursing program has been a part of campus for over forty years and have helped educated over 4,000 nurses. The program offers bachelors and masters programs and is fully accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (formerly NLNAC) and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Kristi Hellman, the administrative coordinator for the nursing department, told the STAR that the news of the ranking was very well received.

“The news was really good confirmation of all of the hard work that they do here. We do have a 97 percent pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN exam) so it’s nice to get that affirmation,” said Hellman. “The staff and faculty here are really nice and really work with the students to give them a lot of support and they give a lot of their time to do the program.”

The nursing program is made up of a number of different programs based on grade point average, experience and test scores. Some of the most popular include the pre-licensure program, the post-licensure program and the Masters in Science in nursing. 

Deborah Roberts, a professor and the department chair of the nursing department, said that the Pre-Licensure program is what one would consider a traditional four-year baccalaureate program for nursing. A student can choose to either complete the nursing prerequisites as a freshman at Sonoma State as a “pre-nursing” major or at a community college. The degree puts a strong emphasis on public health nursing, leadership and research. The end result is the opportunity to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.

Roberts said that the road to becoming a nurse can be a hard one but the career is a very rewarding one.

“Nursing is both an art and a science and the best nurse that you can have at any given time is one that has the understanding that there has to be a balance between the art and science,” said Roberts. “For the last 12 years running nursing has been the most trusted profession and its important that nursing applicants understand what it takes for the public to maintain that trust and that is something that we as nurses hold dear in our hearts.”

The programs at Sonoma State University are very highly rated and produce well-qualified graduates. Megan Gilbert, a nursing student at Sonoma State University, said that the nursing program has been a positive experience for her.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience in the nursing program. It’s a tough program to get into, but definitely worth it. Because of the small number of students accepted, the teachers are truly dedicated to our individual success,” said Gilbert. “I have loved working with both my peers and my teachers, and have felt very supported throughout the entire program.” 

The pre-nursing major is an effective way to getting started in a career in nursing. Even though the nursing programs at Sonoma State are very competitive, Roberts works hard to prepare the pre-nursing candidates for applying to the major.

“I work very diligently with all of the pre-nursing advisees to help them be competitive for the program and to instill hope in them,” said Roberts. “We have a lot of strong candidates on campus that can get in and will get in and I never want to be discouraging of someone who is really pursuing that path. Yes we get a lot of applications but why cant one of them be yours?”

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