Our Legacy

When Mary Breckinridge founded Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky, she understood what it meant to be passionate about the care given to patients and the knowledge imparted upon students. Today, as a pioneer in graduate nursing and midwifery education, FNU remains at the forefront of innovation and technology, offering distance education to nurses with an interest in nurse-midwifery, family health and women’s health specialties.

FNU provides advanced educational preparation for nurses who seek to become nurse-midwives, family nurse practitioners, or women’s health care nurse practitioners by providing community-based distance graduate programs leading to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a post-master’s certificate, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


FNU proudly claims the following:

  • 75 years of experience in graduate nursing and midwifery education
  • Oldest and largest continually operating nurse-midwifery education program in the United States
  •  First family nurse practitioner program in the country
  • Pioneered the first midwifery community based distance education program in the United States in 1989
  • Nearly 4,000 nurses and midwives have graduated with advanced practice degrees
  •  Students and alumni represent every U.S. state and many foreign countries
  • Named a “Great College to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Ranked by US News & World Report in the
    • Top 50 Graduate Schools of Nursing
    • Top 15 for Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner programs
    • Top 50 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs


For 75 years, Frontier Nursing University, with its heart in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, has educated nursing and midwifery leaders who have touched the lives of children and families across the nation and around the globe. Our master’s and doctoral programs educate nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners in the primary care of women and families.


‹ Celebrating 75 Years

View full article on Frontier.edu.

‹ Frontier Honoring 75

View the full article on Frontier.edu.

‹ Anniversary Events

For a complete list of the anniversary events, see Frontier.edu.

‹ Busting Midwifery Myths

View full article on Frontier.edu

‹ FNU Featured in STORY Magazine

View the full article in STORY Magazine!

‹ FNU Celebrating 75 Years

View full release (PDF) June 2014: Lexington, KY. – In 1939, Frontier Nursing University nurse-midwives set out on horseback over rough Eastern Kentucky terrain to care for women, attend births, and forever enrich the lives of rural families. Seventy-five years later, Frontier graduates travel by more modern means, from mobile health clinics to floatplanes in Alaska, […]

‹ Journey Into Wellbeing

In late 2012, Debra K, host and executive producer of The Journey into Wellbeing, learned of Mary Breckinridge…