Established in 1958, the Department of Nursing at Southeast Missouri State University began as an Associate of Arts program, graduating its first class of seven in 1960. A baccalaureate program was established in 1968 as a registered nurse completion program. The generic baccalaureate program was approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing in 1973. The MSN program was established in 1993 and graduated its first student in May 1995. The MSN program was the first graduate nursing program in the southern half of Missouri. Over the years the department has grown to 20-plus faculty, nearly 250 admitted students, and more than 400 pre-nursing students.
The mission of the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Nursing is to educate baccalaureate and masters graduates to practice nursing within the context of knowledgeable caring. The Department influences the health of the region and beyond by providing graduates who have demonstrated intellectual, personal and professional growth and who can integrate theoretical knowledge, experiential learning and an interdisciplinary foundation. Faculty encourage graduates to pursue a career of life long learning.