Frontier Nursing University - A Journey Through Time

Honoring our past, focusing on our future.

Frontier Nursing University (FNU) has evolved dramatically throughout its more than 75-year history. Mary Breckinridge, Frontier’s founder, was a compassionate and visionary pioneer nurse who, with her nurse colleagues, traveled on horseback to deliver care and attend births in Kentucky’s rural Appalachian mountains.;xNLx;;xNLx;Mrs. Breckinridge’s vision was to have her mission expanded and replicated across the nation and the world. Accordingly, in the decades that followed, Frontier dramatically extended its outreach, without veering from our core commitment of caring for women and families. Now, with more than 4,000 graduates, Frontier nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners bring their compassion and professionalism to rural and underserved communities, worldwide.;xNLx;;xNLx;FNU is an internationally recognized and highly rated graduate nursing university - providing doctoral and master’s degrees for nurses and midwives, while concurrently stressing the importance of compassion and caring with each of our students.;xNLx;;xNLx;Without the determination and dedication of Mary Breckinridge, and all who have made her bold vision a reality - our alumni, students, faculty, staff, Couriers, preceptors, supporters and friends – FNU would not be the top-rated, mission-focused university we are today.;xNLx;;xNLx;This timeline highlights the important events leading up to our founding in 1939 and just some of the many ‘milestones’ we have reached in more than seven decades since. We look forward to our future with optimism, and with a renewed commitment to serve.;xNLx;;xNLx;FNU proudly claims the following:;xNLx;;xNLx;+ 75 years of experience in graduate nursing and midwifery education;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Oldest and largest continually operating nurse-midwifery education program in the United States;xNLx; ;xNLx;+ First family nurse practitioner program in the country;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Pioneered the first midwifery community based distance education program in the United States in 1989;xNLx;;xNLx;+ More than 4,000 nurses and midwives have graduated with advanced practice degrees;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Students and alumni represent every U.S. state and many foreign countries;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Ranked by US News & World Report in the Top 30 Online Graduate Nursing Schools;xNLx;;xNLx;+ Frontier Nursing University's programs are consistently ranked among the top in the nation.

FNU Launches Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner PGC Program

FNU launches new Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner post-graduate certificate program and begins accepting appications in summer 2016. The first class is set to begin in Januaray 2017. Learn more at or watch our program video here:

FSMFN Partners with AABC

FSMFN partners with the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) to ensure all midwifery students are trained in the development and operations of free-standing birth centers. Birth center education is now included in the FSMFN nurse-midwifery program curriculum to better prepare future certified nurse-midwives to be entrepreneurs and help improve healthcare options.

The Garden House Destroyed

The Garden House at Wendover is destroyed by fire and then rebuilt through donations.

Mary Breckinridge Begins Work with Midwives in France

Mary Breckinridge joins the American Committee for Devastated France to help those who were starving in French villages, a task that would strongly shape her resolve, her purpose and her future. Her experience of working with midwives and nurse-midwives while serving on this Committee leads her to conclude that nurse-midwifery services are a logical solution to many health problems in her home country. Back home in Kentucky, progressive reforms had improved the lives of women and children, especially in America’s cities. But children in remotely rural regions had been neglected.

Mary Breckinridge Born

Frontier founder and pioneer nurse Mary Breckinridge is born in Memphis, Tenn. Many experiences and opportunities lead Mary to devoting her life to the service of others.

Tech Advances Impact Rural Appalachia

Technology advancements impact rural Appalachia. Nurse-midwives begin using Jeeps instead of horses to traverse the eastern Kentucky mountains. In 1949, electric lights come to Wendover.

Mary Breckinridge Statue Dedicated

The Mary Breckinridge statue is dedicated in Hyden, Ky., to commemorate Frontier’s founder.

100th Distance Education Class

FNU celebrates 100th distance education class since launch of Community-based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program in 1989.

Mary Breckinridge Graduates

Mary Breckinridge graduates from St. Luke’s Hospital Training School for Nurses in New York.

Mary Breckinridge is Inspired by Her Own Tragedy

Mary Breckinridge’s newborn daughter, Polly, dies, followed two years later by the unexpected death of her four-year-old son, Breckie. The deaths of her two children spark an overwhelming motivation to devote her life to the care of children.

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