James Madison University

NEW COLLEGES FORMED A plan to reorganize the College of Integrated Science and Technology into two colleges took effect July 1, 2012. The new colleges are the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.


Family Nurse Practitioner News

Recognizing the medically underserved populations of rural communities, the JMU Nursing Department has created a new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) track in hopes of filling the void.  Originally offering a Nurse Practitioner program with specialties for both adult and geriatric populations, this summer marked the inception of the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) track.  Attracting a majority of enrollment for the MSN programs, the FNP option will offer additional courses focusing on the young and the old.  “The reason the FNP is most popular is because it allows the nurse practitioner as a provider to see more people. The job market is more open for FNP’s because they provide healthcare services to people across the age span from birth to geriatrics,” explains Dr. Patty Hale, the Graduate Program Coordinator. 

A resident of Rappahannock County and a current Family Nurse Practitioner student in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program, Marie Jackson looks forward to graduating and practicing in her rural community.  So when Graduate Program Coordinator of the Nursing Department, Dr. Patty Hale received information about the Inaugural Rural Health Scholars program hosted by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Marie was first on Dr. Hale’s list of nominees.  “The whole goal of the [the American Medical Student Association] AMSA is to foster interdisciplinary health care in rural areas and to make people aware not only of what each discipline does, like dentistry and medicine…but students are also sensitized to look for rural health concerns and to look towards prevention,” Dr. Hale says. 

Held in Iowa City, Iowa, the seminar paired lectures with visits to nearby farming communities.  Marie says, “I believe opportunities such as this seminar should not be passed up.  Attending gave me the opportunity to meet individuals from across the country and develop new perspectives on providing care in today’s society.”  Observing the barriers to adequate healthcare firsthand, attendees discussed the lack of medical provisions for seasonal workers, as well as the hazardous nature of farm equipment.  “The seminar taught me the need to establish and maintain medical and dental practices in rural communities.   These practices offer rural citizens access to care near their homes.  In the seminar, we also discussed the need for affordable access to care which is a more global issue,” the FNP student relays.  Graduating in May of next year, Marie plans on joining a medical practice program near her home where she can supplement care to vulnerable rural populations.