Written by Sarah Shelley | Content Development Specialist

This is the second time a health science master’s program at Cumberlands has experienced a 100 percent passing rate.

University of the Cumberlands is happy to congratulate the first cohort of its online Master’s in Science – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN-FNP) program on passing their national certifying exams.

The entire cohort passed their board exams to become certified Family Nurse Practitioners. This is the second time a health science master’s program at Cumberlands has experienced a 100 percent passing rate for their board exams, as the entire first cohort of the University’s physician assistant (PA) program also passed their exams back in 2017.

Cohort I began MSN-FNP classes in January 2017 and graduated in December 2018. The national pass rate for the certification exam was 85 percent.

“I hope our graduates know how proud the faculty are for them completing the program and passing their certification exam,” said Dr. Cailen Baker, Nursing Program Director. “I hope they take the mission of the University with them, go out and do good in their communities.”

One goal of the MSN-FNP program at Cumberlands is to positively impact the state through healthcare. According to Nursing America, healthcare in Kentucky ranks in the bottom 20 percent of the country, with 102 counties designated as Medically Underserved Areas, yet only 30 percent of the state’s physicians practice in rural areas. University of the Cumberlands is located in Whitley County, which lies alongside McCreary County, which was ranked the poorest county in the United States in a recent report.

Poverty and poor health are linked worldwide. The complications and pressures often present in impoverished areas frequently lead to severe health issues which may ultimately keep families stuck in the cycle.

“Quality healthcare is a necessity everywhere, but especially in areas like rural Appalachia,” said Christopher Leskiw, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The goal of all our health science programs is to provide accessible and innovative education that equips students to be ethical leaders in healthcare education, research, and practice. We’re looking to help shape the healthcare environment in an enduring, positive way. We want to make a difference through healthcare for the people of this area.”

“Kentucky and rural America are underserved medically,” said Baker. “There are too many people and not enough physicians. Nurse practitioners can operate their own clinics independently, which improves people’s access to primary care. Getting this degree also opens up doors for administrative roles or teaching at the university level.”

The nurse practitioner program is hosted entirely online and may be completed in two years. Most of Cumberlands’ MSN degree students work as full-time registered nurses. To help make the master's in nursing degree program flexible for these working students, the faculty keeps the format and due dates of the courses consistent throughout the program’s duration. Additionally, all lectures are pre-recorded and placed online so students may log in and view the material at any time.

Applications for the next MSN-FNP cohort are being accepted now, with classes beginning in August. All degree requirements, course descriptions, and applications may be found online at ucumberlands.edu.