I did the full time option. I thought that since I worked 32 hrs/wk and did my BSN, I could do Frontier and work 32 hrs/wk. Wrong! But I also have a husband and three children. I started in August, and by December I knew that I had to give something up, so the job went. Thank goodness for student loans.
My typical week while in school was school work from 8 am to 4pm, sometimes 5 p.m. We all did our homework together. I tried not to do schoolwork on weekends, and that worked out pretty well. Exams are proctored, I did mine at the local library.
As for flaws, the biggest hurdle for most is that you have to find your own preceptors and arrange your own clinicals. The preceptor has to have a master's degree and preferably two years of experience. You can have an M.D. or D.O. for a preceptor but only for a maximum of 6 wks (I forget the percentage) of your clinical time. The idea is to learn your role, hopefully within your home state or the state you will practice in, from an FNP. If you visit the school's website, you can find the required types and numbers of patient visits and for my class it was 675 clinical hours. The preceptor has to go through the credentialing process with Frontier and a site visit is required before you can start clinicals.
One weak spot for my level 3 group was in orthopedic assessment. We had a new instructor...I am not sure how many hours other FNP programs spend on learning to interpret xrays, but I know I don't think we spent enough time on that. Funny enough, there was nothing on boards about it...If you do Frontier, you are more than well prepared for boards. And a little help from Margaret Fitzgerald doesn't hurt either ;-) The best part about the didactic portion is that you are always learning the latest information, the instructors stay current! I can honestly say that when I went to the AANP conference in 2003, I really didn't hear anything new regarding HTN, lipids, or women's health, headaches, otitis, diabetes etc. A very few new items in the CAM session.
I really can't say how my skills compare to other FNP program grads, I am in a one provider practice right now. I do know that physical assessment skills are an important part of the program, and by the time you check off in this you are very well prepared to do a complete physical in 45 minutes. You spend time on suturing and how to do an excisional biopsy, pap smears, pelvic exams, wet preps, walk thru IUD insertion and learn about endometrial biopsy, pelvimetry, Leopold's, --other procedures are not covered as this is basic foundation for entry into practice. I think what can make or break you is your preceptor and whether they are a teacher or not.
Sorry so long winded. Let me know if you have other questions.