The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.
The designation also brings awareness to the importance of nurses and midwives in the health and care of populations across the globe. According to the WHO, the world needs nine million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is excited to support and participate in this international campaign and to spread awareness of the specific need for more nurses and nurse-midwives in the United States. For 80 years, FNU has been educating and preparing many of these much-needed providers to serve the communities in which they live and work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die annually in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, 67 percent of which were determined to be preventable.
Addressing the Healthcare Shortage
Rural areas are impacted most significantly by healthcare shortages, with the number of physicians per 10,000 people averaging 33 in urban areas versus just 13 in rural communities.
FNU’s mission is to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education to prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural and underserved populations.
In 1989, FNU launched its distance-learning model, which enabled FNU to expand its reach across the country. FNU’s distance learning model allows students to continue their education in the same communities in which they live and work.
Not only has FNU’s reach expanded significantly but so has its range of programs. FNU offers the master of science in nursing degree, doctor of nursing practice degree and post-graduate certificates with specialties including nurse-midwife, family nurse practitioner, women’s health care nurse practitioner and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. In 2018, FNU produced approximately 39 percent of the certified nurse-midwifery graduates in the U.S.
More than five million U.S. women live in counties that have no hospital offering obstetric care and no obstetric providers.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Central to FNU's mission is the understanding that diversity, equity and inclusion are keys to the future success of the health care delivery system.
Racial disparities are evident in health care. The United States has experienced increasing maternal mortality rates over the last 25 years, and the risk of pregnancy related death for black women is three to four times higher than for white women. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control, people of color are more likely to die from COVID-19 when compared to white people due to health disparities and inequities.
FNU recognizes and strongly supports the need to increase diversity within the nursing and midwifery professions. We believe in the benefits of a diverse university and the positive impacts our diverse graduates can make in communities across the country. Our graduates serve people of all races and cultures and are increasingly coming from diverse backgrounds. It is imperative that our students, faculty and staff have cultural awareness and competency in order to effectively advance our mission of servant leadership.
Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Office operates with the goal of ensuring students, faculty, and staff are provided with an environment that promotes DEI and encourages the success of all community members.
FNU recognized the need to increase diversity within the nursing and midwifery professions, and in 2010, set out to increase enrollment of underrepresented students. In 10 years, FNU’s student of color population has increased from 9 to 24.06%.
What is a Certified Nurse-Midwife?
An important objective for FNU this year is to define the role of the certified nurse-midwife so the public understands the broad scope of services these professionals provide.
Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) backed by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. To become a CNM, registered nurses must graduate from a master’s or higher-level nurse-midwifery education program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME) and pass the national Certified Nurse-Midwife Examination through the American Midwifery Certification Board. All CNMs must hold state licensure.
“We are very excited to share the message of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Greater awareness of our healthcare disparities and identification of the potential solutions are essential steps in improving the reach and access to healthcare in this country.”
- Dr. Susan Stone
FNU Blog Posts
In 2019, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed that the year 2020 be designated the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence … [Read More...]