The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to announce the creation of new Master of Science in Nursing and Doctorate of Nursing Practice programs. These graduate-level programs will be offered fully online.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctorate of Nursing Practice are UMFK’s first graduate-level programs. While UMFK has several graduate-level pathways with other University of Maine System institutions, these will be their first solo programs.

“Nursing is UMFK’s signature program,” said UMFK’s President Dr. Deb Hedeen. “With a robust group of highly qualified doctorate-level faculty, creating doctoral and master’s programs is an obvious fit and our State has a demonstrated need for individuals with graduate-level nursing education.”

“We have researched the health needs of the State and after considering the graduate-level nursing programs that the University of Maine System already offered, we determined that providing specialty tracks in Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP), Acute Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Acute PMHNP), Primary Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Primary PMHNP), and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) were of the most value to the residents of Maine,” said UMFK’s Associate Provost of Academic Affairs and Dean of Nursing Dr. Erin Soucy.

The online, accelerated program will have several start dates to allow for greater access for students. UMFK will begin admission into the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program for a summer 2022 start. The remaining specialty tracks will launch in summer 2023 and summer 2024. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice has an expected start of 2024.

“Expanding capacity to produce more registered nurses is not enough to help our State,” said President Hedeen. “We must prepare more nursing faculty and advance nurse practitioners to handle the upcoming retirements in the next five to ten years.”

The staggered roll-out of the specialty tracks is to accommodate not only the expected enrollment bump, but also the need for additional faculty. Delaying the start of several of the specialties allows the university time to conduct a national search for appropriate faculty.

“Our national accrediting agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), sets forth graduate program accreditation standards that we follow,” said Dr. Soucy. “Our program curriculum and evaluation plan align with CCNE and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) standards for quality graduate education and program evaluation.”

“Maine needs comprehensive strategies for our most dire workforce challenges,” said University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “UMFK has long been a leader in nursing education. I appreciate their innovation and their commitment to investing in educational programs that expand our overall capacity to prepare more people for careers as Maine healthcare providers and educators.”

UMFK will begin marketing these programs nationwide this spring in order to correspond to the staggered programmatic rollout. The marketing is done in conjunction with a national entity called Academic Partnerships (AP) who enables a wider reach for UMFK’s messaging.

“Nursing is a vast field of study, and we are thrilled to be able to offer prospective students multiple pathways for nursing education at UMFK,” said President Hedeen.

For more information, please call (207) 834-7600 or go to the Nursing program webpage.