At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
When Dr. Kerri Schuiling graduated from nursing school at Northern Michigan University (NMU), she was quickly given an opportunity to become a nurse practitioner. As only the third nurse practitioner in the state of Michigan, Kerri enjoyed her work but found herself longing to become a nurse-midwife so she could be more involved with mothers and babies.
In 1989, Kerri caught word of the formation of the first Community-based Nurse-midwifery Education Program (CNEP), which was a collaborative effort of the Maternity Centers Association, the American Association of Birth centers, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing.
She immediately picked up the phone to inquire about the program and was met with the voice of nurse-midwifery pioneer Kitty Ernst (who Kerri mistakenly thought was the secretary). Of course, Kitty was extremely helpful and encouraged Kerri to come to Frontier! Just a short time later, Kerri found herself a part of the very first CNEP class, learning under some of today’s most well-known nurse-midwifery educators. According to Kerri, she still keeps in touch with many of the women from CNEP 1.
Kerri credits FNU for teaching her leadership skills that have been vital to her career success.
“FNU gives its graduates so many gifts that really aren’t recognized until reflecting on it later in life,” said Kerri.
After completing her degree, Kerri was asked to help redesign a Frontier module and eventually ended up teaching a women’s health course and physiology. During this time she met Francis Likis, who also taught at Frontier. The two ultimately ended up co-editing the book Women’s Gynecologic Health, which received the ACNM Book of the Year Award and is now in its third edition.
Today, Kerri currently serves as provost and vice president, academic affairs at NMU in Marquette, Michigan. She has also served as dean of NMU’s College of Health Sciences and Professional Studies. Additionally, Kerri has held positions as the dean of Oakland University’s School of Nursing and associate dean and director of NMU’s School of Nursing. She served FNU for seven years as education director and curriculum coordinator providing the basis for the excellent curriculum delivered by FNU today.
Kerri holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, master’s degree from Wayne State University and baccalaureate degree from Northern Michigan University (NMU). And of course, her midwifery certificate through FNU.
Kerri recently was asked to join the FNU board.
“I attended my first on-campus board meeting last fall and was so excited to hear about everything going on at FNU,” said Kerri. “Nursing education doesn’t always allow for creativity, but I love that at Frontier creativity, innovation and transformation are all encouraged. It makes FNU special.”
Kerri was also bestowed FNU’s 2015 Distinguished Service to Society award, which recognizes an alumnus who goes above and beyond to provide exceptional service in his or her community.
Other awards Kerri has received over the years include her induction as a fellow in the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the ACNM’S Kitty Ernst award, which is given in recognition for innovative, creative endeavors in midwifery and women’s health care.
Kerri’s contribution to advanced nursing and midwifery education has been outstanding to say the least. Thank you for your service to the FNU community, Dr. Schuiling!