Media Release – For immediate release
Contact: Nancy Reinhart, Courier Program Coordinator
FNU Offers Service Learning Internship Focused on Rural Healthcare
HYDEN, KENTUCKY – February 2013: Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is reviving its Courier Program, a service learning internship with a rich and adventuresome history that targets college students interested in public health, healthcare, social work or a related field. Starting in June 2013, the Courier Program offers a unique opportunity for students to gain insight into the challenges and opportunities of providing healthcare in rural and underserved areas.
FNU, with its historic campus in Eastern Kentucky, has been educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners through its graduate nursing programs since 1939. With more than 3,000 nurse-midwife and nurse practitioner graduates, FNU is impacting communities across the world. The Courier Program expands the University’s efforts to a new audience and continues the mission of serving rural and underserved communities. "The revival of this program presents an opportunity to instill in students a commitment to addressing the needs of underserved communities," says Elia Cole, who served as a Courier in 2009.
For more than 70 years, Frontier Couriers literally couriered supplies and patients between clinics and hospitals by horseback or jeep for the famed Frontier Nursing Service (FNS), which served people living in the most isolated corners of Eastern Kentucky. Couriers also on occasion lent a hand to FNS midwives during home births and assisted with emergency medical care of all sorts.
Continuing the service tradition, FNU Courier interns will be assigned to clinics or birth centers in rural and underserved areas for a service period of eight weeks. These sites are often remote, located in culturally unique communities in Appalachia and elsewhere. During their time on site, Couriers will shadow a variety of clinicians and provide leadership on special projects.
Carrying on the spirit of FNU's founder, Mary Breckinridge, many of the 1,500 former Couriers went on to work in healthcare and public health careers focused on serving rural and underserved populations. The revival of this widely known and well-respected service learning internship opens a potential career pathway to students who participate.
“My experience as a Courier left me with a passion for supporting efficient health systems and a desire to pursue a career as a primary care physician,” Cole says. “The Courier Program introduced me to the notion that quality health care requires more than just medicine, it involves respect, education and community development.” Cole is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at Boston University and applying to medical schools.
While formal training in healthcare is not required, successful applicants to the FNU Courier Program should be not only be interested in public health, healthcare, social work or a related field but also share a commitment to Frontier’s mission of serving the rural and underserved. At a time when college graduates are struggling to find jobs, FNU hopes this internship program will help students tap into career pathways in the fast-growing sector of healthcare.
About Frontier Nursing University:
For more than 70 years, Frontier Nursing University, with its heart in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, has educated nursing leaders who have touched the lives of children and families across the nation and around the globe. Today, Frontier is a premier nursing university preparing more nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners than any other school in the country. Our graduate-level programs prepare nursing leaders in the primary care of women and families with an emphasis on rural and underserved populations. Our university, which utilizes distance-learning methods, makes graduate-level education accessible to nurses in rural areas and ultimately fosters accessibility to quality healthcare by graduating advanced-practice providers to work in these underserved communities. For more information, visit www.frontier.edu.