About the School of Nursing

Overview and History

During these unprecedented times, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife” This fitting tribute to nursing also coincides with the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing’s (LHSON) 110th birthday and Baylor University’s 175th birthday. As one of Baylor University’s 12 academic units, “the School of Nursing represents what Baylor University hopes its graduates will become – sources of light within their communities, serving those in need and glorifying God through their calling as nurses,” said Linda A. Livingston, Ph.D., President, Baylor University. Nurses have been called to make a difference and being a Baylor nurse means being the hands and feet of Christ for those who are hurting or in need of comfort.

For more than 110 years, the LHSON has been known for its steadfast legacy of preparing the next generation of nurses with competence and compassion for all levels of patient care. Located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, the nursing school  was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor Scott & White Health’s Baylor University Medical Center and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1952 establishing the school among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the school.

Our mission at the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing is to prepare Baccalaureate and Graduate level nurses, within a Christian community, for professional practice, healthcare leadership and worldwide service.

Baylor University is blessed to have a nursing school that educates future nurses who exemplify our school motto, Learn.Lead.Serve.®

  • Learn: Significantly or uniquely contributes to the nursing profession through clinical practice, education and teaching, administrative leadership, research, writing, publishing and/or healthcare innovation.
  • Lead: Demonstrates leadership in community affairs, nursing professional organizations and in growth and development of others in these areas 
  • Serve: Positively promotes and advances the nursing profession in the community through volunteering and/or outreach efforts

Unmistakably, the need for caring and compassionate nurses has never been greater. Unless you’re a nurse or know someone who is it’s hard to appreciate how demanding, exhausting and yet incredibly rewarding it is to be a nurse. More than ever before we all appreciate that nurses are called to serve and to care for the physical, social, psychological/emotional and spiritual needs of their patients. This special calling to serve others through academic excellence results in qualities that are unique to a Baylor Nursing graduate and instantly recognized and appreciated by patients, employers, and the community.

Programs, Rankings and Enrollment
The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through a Traditional program, FastBacc® (one year accelerated) and Distance Accelerated BSN (ABSN). Ranked in U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) 2021 Best Graduate Schools, LHSON’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program which includes tracks  in anesthesia nursing, executive nurse leadership, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery and pediatric nurse practitioner – is ranked No. 59 nationally. In the specialty rankings, LHSON’s U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN), is ranked No. 8 nationally, while Baylor’s nurse-midwifery program is ranked at No. 21 in the nation. USNWR’s 2020 Best Online Programs ranked LHSON’s Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation in the top 25% nationally, moving up to No. 41 and ranked No. 8 nationally among the Best Online Master's in Nursing Administration Programs.

We are also fortunate to have an incredible faculty and staff that not only educate but nurture our aspiring Baylor nurses to fulfill their calling. Currently, our enrollment includes: 477 Pre-Nursing students; 500 BSN (Dallas based) students; 62 Army USAGPAN students (at Fort Sam Houston); 288 DNP (full-time online) students and 35 ABSN (full-time online) students. Additionally, we are proud of our 6,000+ Baylor nursing alumni, many who have served with distinction around the world in all areas of the medical field, mission field, and branches of the United States Armed Forces.

Strategic Areas of Focus
Together we support Baylor University’s Academic Strategic Plan, Illuminate, which represents the second phase of Pro Futuris. As BU describes, “it carries forward the vision’s spirit while providing emphasis to several of its keys components, establishing detailed goals with outcomes that will enable us to realize our full potential as a preeminent Christian research university.” Illuminate focuses on: Health, Data Sciences, Materials Science, Human Flourishing, Leadership and Ethics and Baylor in Latin America. It is also bolstered by Baylor’s $1.1 billion comprehensive campaign called Give Light.

The LHSON’s 5-year strategic plan (2019-2024) began in fall 2019. The purpose of the plan is to provide high level direction for the future growth of the nursing school over the next 3-5 years and make sure we are in alignment with the direction of Baylor University. The plan is a result of a culmination of input from the nursing school’s faculty, staff and leadership as well as external constituents, current and future trends and Baylor University’s Illuminate goals. Our five goals will most likely remain unchanged but the strategies (actions) may evolve based on internal and external factors.

  • Goal 1: Promote an engaging Christian academic culture that supports excellence and intellectual curiosity in teaching, research, scholarship, leadership, practice and service for faculty, staff and students.
  • Goal 2: Strengthen experiences that promote the “Baylor Spirit” and ongoing engagement among prospective students, current students and alumni
  • Goal 3: Create innovative and evidence-based teaching/practice/research models and programs to prepare nurses and faculty to meet the healthcare needs of the future
  • Goal 4: Increase research and scholarship productivity and impact
  • Goal 5: Cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships that impact the nursing profession, education, practice, research and leadership, locally, nationally and globally.

The intent of our strategic plan is to provide goal-oriented structure with possible tactics without being overly prescriptive as the school needs to be able to be responsive to rapid changes in healthcare and nursing as well as promoting innovation. The success of this endeavor will only work if our LHSON team embraces it through future work. We look forward to what the future will bring.