Faculty/Alumni Spotlight: Nena Harris


At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.


Frontier Nursing University (FNU) Faculty

and Alumna Nena Harris provides care to women and children at a free clinic for residents of a homeless shelter in Charlotte, N.C. According to Nena, most of the women in the shelter come from a long family line of poverty – some can even remember being in the shelter as children.


Substance abuse, mental health disorders, and sometimes even domestic violence and prostitution take precedence in these women’s lives, pushing their health to the back burner. At the clinic, they are able to obtain quality health care services, including prescriptions and lab work, free of charge during a very vulnerable stage of life. The clinic also offers limited extended care so that some women can return after they leave the shelter. Nena helps provide care for these women at the clinic, young and old.


“I wanted to become dually certified as a family nurse practitioner and nurse-midwife so that I could offer care across the spectrum of life,” said Nena.


Nena began her nursing education at an Ivy League school, intending to continue with her graduate level education there as well. After attending a birth center workshop during her first semester and interacting with a few Frontier students, Nena began researching FNU.


“Everything about the history and mission of Frontier resonated with me and the type of provider I wanted to be in my community,” said Nena. “The rest is history!”


Nena graduated from FNU in 2006 with a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) in nurse-midwifery. A long with her work at the shelter clinic, she currently teaches women’s health and childbearing at FNU. According to Nena, she appreciates the opportunity to provide compassionate, quality health care to women in all stages of life.


Teaching at FNU has allowed me to maintain balance so that I can provide care for my community just like we encourage our students to provide for their communities.”

Thank you, Nena, for setting a wonderful example for compassionate care!

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