School Profile: Frontier Nursing University (FNU) Online NP & CNM Programs

Frontier Nursing University offers an online master’s of science in nursing (MSN) in nurse-midwifery (NM), family health (FNP), psychiatric mental health (PMHNP), and women’s health (WHCNP) with various paths depending on students’ previous education and desired degree outcome. These programs include a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) to MSN; a bachelor’s of arts or science (BA/BS) to MSN; an MSN with a doctoral degree in nursing (DNP); an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) to MSN; an ADN to MSN with a DNP, and a graduate certificate.

These programs are designed for nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor’s degrees, and RNs with associate degrees. The programs can be completed mostly online with two to three on-campus visits in Hyden, Kentucky, depending on the program track. Students generally complete clinical hour requirements at a site near them that has been approved by Frontier Nursing University.

The BSN to MSN and BA/BS to MSN Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Programs

The BSN to MSN and BA/BS to MSN nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery programs can be completed part-time or full-time. The nurse-midwifery (NM) program consists of 64 credits; the family nurse practitioner (FNP) program is 61 credits; the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program is 60 credits; and the women’s health care nurse practitioner (WHCNP) program is 58 credits. All programs include 675 clinical practice hours. Most students complete the MSN degrees part-time in two to three years. Students can enter the programs in January, May, July, and October.

Students complete two on-campus, four-to-five-day intensives before completing their clinical practicum.

Nurse-midwifery (NM): Courses that are a part of this program include pathophysiology for primary care, postpartum and newborn care, and skills for nurse-midwifery care. As part of this program, students also take an online workshop called “How to Start a Birth Center,” provided by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC).

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): The FNP curriculum includes courses such as pharmacology for advanced practice across the lifespan, epidemiology and health statistics, primary care I-III, and women’s health and childbearing.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): The PMHNP curriculum includes courses such as psychopharmacologic/neuroscience foundations of mental health care, psychotherapy foundations across the lifespan, advanced skills for PMHNP care, and integrating psych/mental health care.

Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHCNP): The WHCNP curriculum includes courses such as advanced pathophysiology, primary care of women, skills for women’s health care, midwifery care during pregnancy, and skills for advanced practice.

Applicants must be current registered nurses trained by a nursing program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). They must have had a 3.0 GPA or higher from the latest degree earned.

Applicants without a BSN who have a BA or BS in another area will be required to submit a portfolio of relevant academic and employment experience. No GRE scores are required. However, applicants must have one year of registered nursing experience. Prerequisites to the program include statistics and physical assessment which must have been taken within ten years of beginning the program or are otherwise added to the program at FNU.

The MSN with DNP Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Programs

After completing the MSN portion of the NP or NM programs, students can seamlessly continue to further their education through a DNP program. Because the MSN program incorporates several of the core competencies of the DNP program, students who complete the MSN portion will only have to complete an additional 19 to 20 credits for the DNP program. The DNP portion requires an additional 360 clinical hours for a total of 1,035 clinical practicum hours completed in the student’s home community where they work or at another approved location.

Students entering the DNP program will attend virtual orientation sessions at the beginning of the program. Courses included in the DNP portion are epidemiology and biostatistics, leadership and organizational dynamics, and health policy and advocacy. There are no additional admission requirements to continue from the MSN to the DNP.

The ADN to MSN Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Programs

Registered nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) can move right into the MSN program through the ADN bridge option. The ADN bridge is a series of eight courses taken over 12 months that are designed to prepare ADN nurses for the MSN degree program. Students can enter the program in January, May, July, and October, and courses include nursing theory, community health, statistics, and nursing research.

Applicants must be current registered nurses educated through a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited nursing program and hold an ADN with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater in the most recent degree. No GRE is required, but applicants must have at least one year of nursing experience. Students taking the ADN bridge option have three required on-campus intensives: one at the beginning of the program, one before moving into the MSN portion, and one before beginning clinical hours. Students do not need to apply separately for the MSN portion of the degree.

The ADN to MSN with DNP Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Programs

The ADN to MSN with DNP has the same criteria as the ADN to MSN, but it adds 19 to 20 credits and 360 clinical hours. Students can move seamlessly from the ADN bridge option to the MSN and then into the DNP without reapplying. They can enter the program in January, May, July, and October and complete the program in 21 to 30 months. Students attend the same three on-campus intensives as the ADN to MSN degree. Courses included in this program are leadership, communication and introduction to scholarly writing, and the epidemiology and biostatistics.

The Post-MSN Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Certificate Programs

The post-MSN nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery certificate programs comprise 31 to 36 credits, including at least 540 clinical hours. Students can begin at the same four times as the other degree options. Prerequisites to the program include advanced pathophysiology, advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and statistics. These courses will be added to the certificate program if not taken during the master’s curriculum.

Nurse-midwifery (NM): The nurse-midwifery program prepares students to take the national nurse-midwifery certification exam. The curriculum includes courses such as advanced midwifery care of childbearing women and newborns, midwifery care during pregnancy, and primary care of women.

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): The FNP certificate curriculum includes courses such as the role of the nurse practitioner, primary care pediatrics, advanced skills for nurse practitioner care, and women’s health and childbearing.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): The PMHNP certificate curriculum includes courses such as psychopharmacologic/neuroscience foundations of mental health care, psychiatric care of serious mental illness & vulnerable populations/families, integrating psych/mental health care, and skills for psych/mental health care.

Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHCNP): The WHCNP certificate curriculum includes courses such as women’s health, midwifery care during pregnancy, the role of the nurse practitioner, and antepartum complications and comprehensive postpartum care.

Applicants must have a master’s degree or higher in nursing from an ACEN- or CCNE-accredited program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and a current nursing license. They must also be nationally certified as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) in CNM or one of the following specialties: pediatrics and primary care (PNP), psychiatric-mental health (PMHNP), family (FNP), women’s health (WHNP), neonatal (NNP), acute care (ACNP), or geriatric and adult (AGNP). No GRE scores are required. Students can seamlessly continue to the DNP program after completing the post-graduate certificate without reapplying.