news-category: Hunt School of Nursing

Gardner-Webb Doctoral and Accelerated Bachelor’s Nursing Programs Surge in Enrollment

Hunt School of Nursing has Firmly Established Reputation for Excellence

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University is home to one of North Carolina’s most comprehensive nursing programs that includes associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Students who desire to enter the field of nursing or those who want to further their careers are choosing the GWU Hunt School of Nursing. Enrollment in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) has grown from 14 to 73 in recent years, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) has increased from 47 in 2019 to 96 in 2023.

“The Hunt School of Nursing is no ‘hidden gem’ or ‘best kept secret,’” stated GWU President Dr. William Downs. “To the contrary, our nursing programs have firmly established and sustained broad reputations for excellence. Students, practitioners, and patients across the state and around the region are well aware of how GWU combines faculty expertise with the passion and care that can come only from an institution with our values and history. It’s exciting to see the growth in popularity of our ABSN and DNP degree programs, and we look forward to their continued upward trajectories.”

Scott Pokorney

While direct marketing campaigns have led to the increase, some students, like Scott Pokorney, enrolled in the Hunt School of Nursing after talking to alumni. While working as an EMT in Mecklenburg County, N.C., Pokorney asked the nurses he met to recommend the best nursing program in the region.

Gardner-Webb’s alumni were unanimous in their praise. “They had nothing but great things to say about the program, and highly recommended pursuing my nursing degree at GWU,” Pokorney affirmed. “They specifically mentioned how incredible the professors are.”

Hunt School of Nursing Director Dr. Tracy Arnold noted that Gardner-Webb’s ABSN program plays a critical role in addressing the current nationwide, nursing shortage because it allows the nursing faculty to prepare entry-level practitioners to enter the workforce in 15 months. “Our Accelerated BSN students are highly qualified individuals, with bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in other fields,” Arnold praised. “Our program attracts students from all over the east coast, with some students commuting up to two hours, one way, which speaks to the reputation of our faculty, staff, and curriculum. Our Hunt School of Nursing motto, ‘A Bulldog Nurse CARES,’ demonstrates the characteristics both our students and faculty demonstrate. As a bulldog nurse, we are Courageous, we are Advocates, we are Respectful, we are Empathetic, and we are Servant leaders.”

Pokorney entered the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Gardner-Webb and now understands the admiration alumni have for the faculty. “They are truly invested in preparing you to become the best new RN possible,” he praised. “They genuinely want you to succeed and nurture you to your full potential.”   

The ABSN is one of several degree options at Gardner-Webb. To find out more or to register for one of the many nursing programs at Gardner-Webb visit

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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