As a Frontier student, you will be required to make at least two short visits to our campus in Hyden, Ky. You’ll complete your coursework online and your clinical practicum in your home community. The structure of the program is outlined in the sections below.
The time it takes to complete your program of study at FNU depends on a various factors, such as your specialty track, course load and whether you attend full-time or part-time. Each term is 11 weeks in length with a two-week break between. Typically, a full-time student can complete the MSN in 8 terms. Students enrolled in the MSN + Companion DNP program who opt to complete the 17 credit hour Companion DNP can earn their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in an additional three terms (or nine months’ time).
As a new Frontier student, you’ll come to our historic campus in Hyden, Ky., for an orientation session called Frontier Bound. During this four-day session, you’ll meet fellow students, your advisor and members of FNU’s faculty and staff. You’ll learn skills for distance learning, review courses and plan how to be a Frontier student once you return to your home community. You’ll stay on FNU’s historic campus in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky, enjoy home-cooked meals, form lasting friendships and experience the rich heritage of Frontier Nursing firsthand. You must attend all Frontier Bound sessions to be eligible to enroll in your selected program of study.
You will complete coursework for Levels I and II in your home community. The time required to complete this web-based course of study depends on your program, specialty track and whether you are full-time or part-time. Our programs are built on the Community of Inquiry Model, designed to increase social, teaching and cognitive presence in the courses to create deep learning. You will be in frequent contact with your faculty and fellow students through e-mail, chat, and live training sessions. You also will be guided and supported by your student advisor and associate dean.
Once you have completed most of your online coursework, you will return to Hyden, Ky., for a five-day skills-intensive experience called Clinical Bound. Clinical Bound is designed to develop and validate your beginning clinical skills. Here, you will receive confirmation that you have acquired the skills necessary to begin your clinical practicum in your home community. You will also spend time both in and out of the classroom with faculty and fellow students. Clinical Bound sessions, offered 8-12 times a year, can accommodate 40 students at a time.
After Clinical Bound, you will begin your MSN clinical practicum, where you are required to complete 675 clinical hours. Under the guidance of a master clinician preceptor, you will provide nurse practitioner or nurse-midwifery services in your community for four to 10 months and complete required clinical experiences that will help you refine your clinical skills. Before you begin, an FNU Regional Clinical Faculty (RCF) member will evaluate both your clinical site and preceptor to ensure excellence. Your RCF will provide guidance and support to you and your preceptor throughout your practicum. You may choose, or be required, to use more than one clinical site to receive a variety of clinical experiences. Where the volume of clients will not make the experience goals possible, you will be expected to use more than one clinical site.
After successfully completing the clinical practicum, you will take the comprehensive examination for your specialty track and, if successful, will receive your MSN degree or post-graduate certificate (PGC). Students are expected to take the specialty certification examination and pass to continue in the program. All students are encouraged to continue seamlessly into the 17 credit hour Companion DNP program to complete their Doctor of Nursing Practice at this time. However, you may elect to exit with your MSN or PGC and pursue clinical practice before returning to Frontier Nursing University to complete the Companion DNP program. Students enrolled in the MSN + Companion DNP program have 6 months to return to Frontier to complete the Companion DNP without reapplying; a longer departure will require you to seek admission to the Post-Master's DNP program.
After the MSN is conferred, you may choose to exit the program with your master’s or continue in the program to complete the additional 17 hours required for the Companion DNP. The DNP requires 360 additional clinical hours, which may completed in a variety of settings such as private offices, clinics, outpatient settings and hospitals. You will work with the DNP advisor to select the appropriate site, and the setting should be chosen to meet your clinical and project needs.
The clinical experience will:
- Provide an opportunity for students to evaluate and improve the practice/system.
- Continue to develop expertise in an area of practice.
- Seek experiences to improve skills to practice autonomously.