Frontier Nursing University (FNU) aims to give students the flexibility to reach their educational goals without sacrificing their personal lives. FNU leadership understands that the distance education model is a significant draw to students from various backgrounds with a wide array of scheduling needs. With this in mind, FNU programs of study are available for both full-time and part-time students. Full-time students require about 40 hours of course work per week, while part-time students can expect around 30 hours. Course terms run for 11 weeks with a two-week break between terms. FNU offers four application deadlines per year, each providing multiple orientation dates to work with students’ already busy schedules. Go here for more detailed information about FNU’s programs and check out FNU’s student journey page to learn more about what to expect as a Frontier student.
Take a look below for an example of a student’s course load. This blog examines the path of a Registered Nurse (RN) with a bachelor’s degree who desires to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with the option of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
The program kicks off with a four-day orientation, usually in-person on our campus in Kentucky. This year, to protect students, staff, and faculty during the pandemic, FNU has transitioned Bound to an entirely virtual event for incoming students. Nevertheless, students completing the most recent Frontier Bound reported feeling connected and inspired. Whether online or in-person, Frontier Bound allows students to meet their instructors and classmates and learn the skills needed for distance education. Students enjoy this time engaging with the people they will be working with throughout their journey and building their passion for the program.
Following Frontier Bound, students begin their online coursework with the opportunity to study as a full-time or part-time student. Students will learn in their home communities during this portion of their education but work closely with the friends and faculty they met during Frontier Bound through emails, video calls, online forums, and phone calls. Students will also receive additional guidance and support from a wide variety of staff and faculty members, including their academic advisor, clinical director, and department chair.
Obtaining a Clinical Site
Choosing the right site and preceptor can make a huge difference in a student’s clinical experience. A student will spend 675 hours training with their preceptor at a clinical site in their home community so finding the right fit is extremely important. This is why FNU has created the impactful Clinical Outreach and Placement Unit to assist students in identifying appropriate clinical sites. The Clinical Outreach and Placement team helps students discern which site types are appropriate based on their program of study, supports students in using resources to locate clinical sites and preceptors, and guides students to internal or external resources that are valuable in securing a site or preceptor.
At this point in their studies, students typically return to the Kentucky campus for a five-day clinical skills intensive; however, this is also a virtual experience during the Pandemic. Clinical Bound gives students a chance to regroup with classmates and instructors to prepare for the clinical practicum they will take on in their community. While at Clinical Bound, students begin to practice the hands-on skills for the subjects they studied in their didactic coursework. This is a time to gain confidence while working alongside other students and faculty members to best prepare for their Clinical Practicum.
A graduate student’s next step is to fulfill their required clinical hours of nurse practitioner or nurse-midwifery services in their home community under a preceptor’s guidance. During the clinical practicum experience, students will work closely with a Regional Clinical Faculty (RCF) member who will provide advice and support to the student and preceptor during the clinical practicum. Before arrival, the RCF evaluates the student’s clinical site and preceptor to ensure an excellent clinical experience. RCFs remain accessible throughout the clinical practicum to share wisdom, resolve issues, and support the overall experience.
This portion of the journey may sound intimidating, but this is where it all pays off. Students that successfully complete a comprehensive exam for their specialty track will receive their MSN (or Post-Graduate Certificate)!
Option to Complete DNP
Suppose a student wants to continue with their education after receiving their MSN. In that case, Frontier encourages students to complete an additional 21 credit hours and 360 clinical hours for a Companion DNP. Here are a few reasons to consider continuing and completing a DNP as an FNU student.
Although it is not required, in a non-COVID world, many students choose to return to Kentucky for a final ceremony with their classmates and mentors. FNU has set up our annual commencement ceremony to take place each September. This year, Frontier held a special virtual celebration. Faculty and students alike look forward to seeing nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners from almost every state across the U.S. come together with friends and family to celebrate all of the great work that has been accomplished by our Frontier community.
Join The FNU Family
Would you like to join a community of passionate healthcare professionals dedicated to helping women and families across the country? If FNU’s distance education program sounds right for you, check out the admissions page. Here, you will find information on application deadlines, orientation dates, and financial aid and scholarships. If you have any further questions, please visit our FAQ page or reach out to one of our excellent FNU admissions officers. We hope you will consider Frontier Nursing University to take your next big step in the graduate nursing world!