While we have several options to choose from based on your education and career level, the graphic below demonstrates one popular path for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree and wish to earn both an MSN and a DNP or RNs who wish to specialize in an area not obtained in their original graduate studies:
Orientation to Frontier Nursing University
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) students begin their journey with an enriching four-day orientation to Frontier Nursing University called Frontier Bound. Our alumni will tell you that this tradition is one of their most treasured memories as an FNU student.
Frontier Bound is where you meet your classmates, faculty and staff. Time is spent learning skills needed for distance education, making lifelong friends, reviewing courses, asking questions, and planning to be a successful Frontier student after returning home. Students enjoy this time on the FNU campus and are pampered with healthy and delicious home-cooked meals.
Frontier Bound is a requirement for all MSN and PGC students. Students must attend all sessions during their orientation in order to be eligible to enroll in their selected program of study.
Students complete their didactic coursework in their home community. While you complete coursework individually, the friendships you make during Frontier Bound offer a wonderful support network. This web-based course of study is completed in 8 to 11, 11-week terms depending on the specialty track and whether you are a full-time or part-time student. You are in frequent contact with faculty and fellow students through email, online forums and phone. You also receive guidance and support from your Academic Advisor, Clinical Director and Associate Dean.
"I'm a mother and a wife. Frontier allows me to stay home with my family and work. It gives me more flexibility."
— Mai-Lin Rollon
FNU students are excited to return to Kentucky for this five-day (three-days for PMHNP students) skills-intensive experience. During Clinical Bound, you are validated as having acquired the skills necessary to begin a community-based clinical practicum. There is also time for informal communication between faculty and students so that you can ask questions and prepare for your clinical experience. Clinical Bound sessions are offered multiple times each year.
After attending Clinical Bound, students begin their MSN or PGC clinical practicum. You will provide nurse practitioner or nurse-midwifery services in your home community for four to 10 months under the guidance of a master clinician preceptor.
During your clinical practicum, you will work closely with a Regional Clinical Faculty (RCF) member who will provide guidance and support during this time to you and your preceptor. RCFs are responsible for evaluating both the clinical site and preceptor to ensure excellence before you begin the clinical experience. RCFs also participate in discussions with you and your preceptor, help resolve any issues regarding clinical sites, organize regional gatherings and share clinical wisdom and experience. FNU students benefit greatly from having these advanced practice nurses as role models during the clinical experience.
Required clinicals assist you in developing necessary clinical skills, and you may choose, or be required, to use more than one clinical site in order to receive a variety of clinical experiences. If the volume of clients at your clinical site will not make the experience goals possible, more than one clinical site will be necessary.
Option to Complete DNP
After the MSN or PGC is conferred, students who choose to earn the DNP degree will complete 360 additional clinical hours. You may choose a variety of settings such as private offices, clinics, outpatient settings and/or hospitals. The setting should be selected based on your clinical and project needs, and you will have the support of a DNP advisor to help you select the appropriate site.
FNU students graduate upon successful completion of all program requirements. While it’s not a requirement, many students choose to return to Kentucky to participate in the commencement ceremony. Frontier Nursing University’s annual commencement ceremony takes place every October in conjunction with our alumni homecoming celebration. Nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners from almost every state across the U.S. who have completed an FNU distance-education program attend and invite their friends and families to join in the occasion.