University of Mary Nursing Program No. 1 in the Nation for Second Time in Three Years

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK— Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Mary is once again at the very top of all nursing schools across the U.S. Nursing’s national benchmarking service, Mountain Measurements, ranking University of Mary’s program No. 1 in America. The yearly report is based on the April 2020 through March 2021 Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates who took the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam. The entire University of Mary graduating class who took the licensure exam for the first time passed.

The University of Mary’s prestigious nursing program has developed a trend of consistently being at, or near the top every year. This year is no exception, with Mary’s nursing program scoring the best among 945 similar programs, and No. 1 at the national level finishing first among 2,145 schools across the country.

“There are several factors that account for the high scores,” said Dr. Glenda Reemts, professor and chair of the Division of Nursing at the University of Mary. “These students are so thoroughly skill-tested before they even get to the NCLEX exam and into the workforce. Nursing faculty work with students to prepare for the exam. Our curriculum follows industry quality and safety standards, which is critical. And the CHI senior-year-free scholarship incentive is available to nursing students who maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout their undergraduate years which helps set a high academic standard and provides a peace-of-mind for the nursing student.”

Reemts, who has been at Mary for 31 years, has led the nursing program, its faculty, and students to prominence over those years. After she retires this summer, Dr. Billie Madler and Dr. Annie Gerhardt will continue Reemts’ legacy and the program’s high standards as the new associate dean of nursing and chair of undergraduate nursing, respectively. Both are award-winning teaching faculty and doctors who have nearly 50 years of nursing experience in areas including emergency and urgent care, rural health care, family practice, and providing medical service in the North Dakota National Guard.   

“The Mountain Measurement Report is just one achievement that indicates understanding of safe practice,” said Gerhardt, who is also a major in the North Dakota National Guard. “However, hands-on learning, direct supervision, and personal one-on-one attention provided by faculty at the University of Mary empowers and verifies each student’s ability to know and demonstrate clinically competent nursing care prior to graduation. Nursing is a profession that requires great intelligence, motivation, but more importantly resilience. Despite the challenges placed on students and faculty with COVID-19, the University of Mary undergraduate faculty surrounded the students with positive influence, encouragement, and support to achieve another level of excellence.”

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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