About the College of Nursing

Our national reputation for clinical excellence helps make our graduates highly sought after by top health care employers around the country.

Whether you graduate as a new nurse or are advancing your current practice with a doctorate, a degree from Rush prepares you to be a leader in the nursing profession.

Our mission

Educate a broadly diverse student body who will deliver exceptional health care, generate innovative knowledge, and provide transformative leadership to improve health outcomes for all populations.

Our vision

Lead healthcare transformation through innovative nursing education, practice, research, and scholarly inquiry.

Our history

The College of Nursing’s heritage dates back to 1885, when our first antecedent, the St. Luke’s Hospital Training School of Nursing, opened to offer diploma education to nurses. In 1903, the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing accepted its first students. From 1956 to 1968, nurses were taught at the merged Presbyterian-St. Luke’s School of Nursing. Before the establishment of the College of Nursing in 1972, more than 7,000 nurses had graduated from these schools.

Legacy of Luther Christman

The first College of Nursing dean was Luther Christman, PhD, RN, FAAN. Christman rose to great prominence in American nursing as both a forward-thinking and controversial figure. The son of a coal miner, Christman became vice president of nursing affairs and the dean of the College of Nursing at Rush University in 1972.

Christman’s educational background in psychology served him well as an administrator. He became the first male to hold the joint appointments of dean of nursing and hospital director of nursing. Christman developed the Rush Model of Nursing, which gained him an international reputation as a nursing leader. As an educational maverick, Christman advocated in the 1980s for entry-level nurses to have doctoral degrees.

Christman had many other career highlights, including the following:

  • Dean, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Founder, American Association for Men in Nursing (the American Assembly for Men in Nursing)
  • Founder, National Student Nurses Association
  • Fellow and Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing

Christman passed away on June 7, 2011, leaving a legacy that still lives on at Rush and the entire nursing community. Rush College of Nursing is extremely proud to have Christman represent the important contribution of men in the nursing profession.

The College of Nursing today

Today, well over 7,000 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral students have graduated from Rush University College of Nursing. The first bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded in 1975, the first doctor of nursing science degree was awarded in 1980 and the first practice doctorate was awarded in 1990.

Current nursing programs are offered from the master’s through the doctoral (DNP and PhD) levels. The last baccalaureate class graduated in June 2009. The generalist entry master’s (GEM) is the prelicensure program for entry into RN practice. Students are automatically members of the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Nurses Alumni Association upon graduation.