This week the healthcare community will come together to celebrate National Nurse Practitioner Week, created to honor the dedicated men and women who work hard on the frontlines to care for their fellow citizens. The Frontier Nursing University (FNU) community is excited to celebrate this year as a part of its Family Nurse Practitioner Program (FNP) 50th anniversary. The program was the first of its kind in the United States developed by FNU to extend more comprehensive care to American families.
To look back on their journey as the first University to offer the FNP, FNU asked some of its faculty to weigh in on what they love about the program and what makes FNU such a unique place to teach, learn, and grow.
Here is what they had to share:
What is the most rewarding part of educating our future family nurse practitioners?
“I feel like I make a difference! I have sought a way to impact change in my career, and it feels like I am doing that when I teach those who are caring for communities across the world. I love when people tell me I have impacted the way they see nursing, patient care or APRN practice. It is an honor to do this work.” – Joanne Keefe, assistant professor, course coordinator for PC702 (EPI and Biostats)
“Our graduates are the future. Knowing that we are an integral part of the process is the most rewarding part of educating our future FNPs!” – Ruth Elsasser, course faculty in PC707
“Seeing the students grow into proficient nurse practitioners that can manage patient needs with care and compassion.” – Amber Littlefield, assistant professor
“I have confidence that I am passing the torch to FNPs who are exceptionally well prepared to care for our most vulnerable persons. I genuinely believe our graduates will reduce the inequities and disparities that prevent every American from receiving critical care.” -Kathy Gardner, full-time course faculty, PC718
What drives your passion for teaching?
“My passion is driven by a calling to serve nurses, as I care for patients: by bringing expertise, evidence, and shared-decision making, in a holistic framework, considering the needs of each individual concerning their environment. I seek to understand and provide opportunities to deepen learning by being open, honest, and approachable.” -Kathy Gardner, full-time course faculty, PC718
“Interacting with students is the most rewarding part of the job. Every single student is here to make this world a better place. Watching the students work so hard to earn a spot at the table, being part of the solution is genuinely awe-inspiring.”- Rhonda Arthur, faculty and course coordinator
“My love of learning and the profession itself makes me passionate about teaching and drives me to improve each term. I learn every day as I research new materials for the course, read recent articles, listen to the students as they share information. I know I can make a difference to a student by sharing my own stories, letting them know that I was once where they are and that they can make it through this rigorous program.” -Vicky Stone-Gale, course coordinator for NP702-primary care
“My underlying passion is to change the spirit of the nursing profession into one of kindness, respect, and support for patients and colleagues. I try to model this and encourage everyone that it really could be this way. It starts with you.” -Joanne Keefe, assistant professor, course coordinator for PC702 (EPI and Biostats)
Why did you decide to become an FNU Faculty member?
“FNU has a reputation in training its students as no other program has. Their graduates are practicing throughout the country, and when you meet them, they tell you about the wonderful experience they had at FNU. The faculty and administrators at FNU are highly experienced clinicians and educators and have a reputation in the community for being some of the best in the country”. -Vicky Stone-Gale, course coordinator for NP702-primary care
“Because of my faculty at FNU! I wanted to be just like them.” -Dr. Mary K. Jones, FNP RCF
“I was an FNU student and fell in love with the school. I love the passion for education in this environment.”- Amber Littlefield, assistant professor
“After graduating from FNU with my DNP and experiencing the faculty member’s dedication to student success, I knew that I had found my place; my home.” -Ruth Elsasser, course faculty in PC707
What drove you to the Family Nurse Practitioner field?
“I had always wanted to go to medical school, but as a divorced mother of three, that was not going to be feasible. I knew I needed to advance my nursing education, so, thirty-two years ago, I applied to an MSN program. During my interview, the program director told me about their new program- A Master’s in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner track. My interviewer informed me that if I completed this new program, I would assess, diagnose, and treat patients just like physicians. I was so excited that I immediately enrolled. I have never once regretted it.” -Vicky Stone-Gale, course coordinator for NP702-primary care
“I wanted to contribute to providing the sensitive and competent care that I saw as lacking to vulnerable persons. I enjoy caring for individuals from infancy to geriatric, from all walks of life.”- Kathy Gardner, full-time course faculty, PC718
“I wanted to make a difference. I loved the work of being an RN but wanted more autonomy and the ability to touch people’s lives my way, using science, knowledge, passion, intuition, and integrity. For me, it is a life purpose worthy of pursuit.”- Joanne Keefe, assistant professor, course coordinator for PC702 (EPI and Biostats)
Another exciting way that FNU will participate in National Nurse Practitioner week is by joining the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) Open School Chapter on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 8 pm EST for a virtual event hosted by the Right Care Alliance (RCA). Tuesday’s event will consist of study groups discussing various important healthcare topics facing the industry today. Anyone interested in the American healthcare system and health policy is welcome to sign up for the study groups.
To find out more about FNU’s groundbreaking FNP program, visit the University’s FNP page. Have a wonderful week celebrating the power of nurse practitioners and frontline workers who have put forward so much compassion and grace throughout this challenging year.