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Montana State University College of Nursing celebrates 10 years of family nurse practitioner graduates.

In 1994, the first students were admitted to the family nurse practitioner (FNP) option in the master's degree program at Montana State University--Bozeman College of Nursing. The first graduates of the FNP option finished the program in the summer of 1996. Montana State University College of Nursing was one of the first programs to offer graduate education via distance delivery, requiring that students attend weekly courses via teleconference or interactive video at their local campuses: Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, and Missoula. Initially, travel was required monthly to Bozeman for face to face meetings. Students could continue to work in their local communities while attending graduate courses.

Since that time, graduates have gone on to fill primary health care needs locally, in rural and urban Montana, and abroad in places as far away as American Samoa. The graduates of the program, to date, have a 100% first time pass rate on national family nurse practitioner certification examinations. Graduates of the program are teaching nursing, operating their own primary care clinics, caring for underserved populations, working with specialty physicians, providing care in critical access hospitals, working in emergency room fast tracks and urgent care facilities as well as pursuing doctorate nursing education.

The family nurse practitioner option is continuing to grow and change at Montana State University. This past year, the program became more accessible and flexible using an "intensive" format for monthly course meetings times along with internet based course shells. Students travel to Bozeman once in the fall for an intensive week, which involves orientation to the program, meeting classmates and faculty, and "front-loading" theory course content. Students travel to their nearby local campuses just 2 times per semester for Polycom interactive video course meetings. Students connect 2 additional times in the semester per teleconference from their local communities.

On May 5th, 2006, eleven students graduated from the family nurse practitioner program. Congratulations to all of the current graduate students and alumni of the family nurse practitioner program at Montana State University--Bozeman.

Deanna Babb, APRN, FNP
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Title Annotation:Student Corner
Author:Babb, Deanna
Publication:The Pulse
Geographic Code:1U8MT
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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