Besides the typical holiday festivities this December, the very first cohort of University of the Cumberlands’ Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN – FNP) program also got to celebrate their graduation.

Fourteen students received their master’s degrees from Cumberlands on December 20. Their next step is to sit for national certification in family practice and become licensed as an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) through the State Board of Nursing. The graduates have the option to walk at Cumberlands’ commencement ceremony this May.

“We are extremely proud of our graduates,” said Cailen Baker, Director of the Nursing Program. “They have all worked hard to complete their classwork, develop advanced practice nursing skills and become stronger leaders in the nursing field. It’s exciting to see our first cohort graduate!”

The MSN – FNP program received official accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education earlier in 2018. 

Cumberlands’ two-year, online program allows registered nurses (RNs) to further their education and become prepared for independent practice as nurse practitioners (NPs). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPs earn approximately $40,000 more per year than RNs, and there is an expected 31 percent growth for NPs between now and 2026. Nurse practitioners are granted more autonomy in their job than RNs and may order tests, write prescriptions and develop treatment plans, among other duties. 

Curriculum for the MSN – FNP program seeks to engage students in nursing theory, from humanities to healthcare delivery and systems. Cumberlands already offers an RN to BSN program, the MSN – FNP curriculum and a certified Nurse Aid course. The University also recently received a donation from Terry and Marion Forcht to establish a School of Nursing on campus, which will allow for possible additions to the University’s healthcare degree offerings in the future.

“The goal of all our nursing programs is to provide accessible and innovative education that equips students to be ethical leaders in healthcare education, research and practice,” said Christopher Leskiw, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Quality healthcare is a necessity everywhere. University of the Cumberlands wants to help shape the healthcare environment in an enduring, positive way, so we have taken strides to provide more opportunities for students to pursue degrees – and careers – in the healthcare field.”

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and online degree programs. Learn more at