Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Role
The role of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner is to provide advanced nursing care to adult, older adult and elderly patients with acute, chronic and critical conditions. The term “acute” differentiates acute care nurse practitioners from primary care practitioners. The AG-ACNP must work collaboratively with a host of different health care professionals in order to stabilize and improve the health of patients. Oftentimes, the AG-ACNP will need to collect and evaluate information based on patient history, symptoms, physical findings and/or diagnostic information to choose an appropriate course of action. By constantly and efficiently evaluating the patient’s dynamic condition and reactions to treatment, the AG-ACNP continuously adapts the patient-management plan to fit the specific needs of the patient.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice
Adult-Gerontology Acute care nurse practitioners work in many different clinical settings providing advanced nursing care to patients in critical conditions, with chronic or episodic illnesses and/or with acute medical needs. These settings include but are not limited to clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, retirement homes, hospices and private practices. Along with performing the tasks of an advanced practice nurse, the AG-ACNP is qualified to provide specific health care functions to acutely and chronically ill patients such as writing prescriptions, interpreting ECG monitoring and assessing patient responses to drugs and other ancillary treatment.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary
With additional education and training, an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner salary can be substantially higher than a salary for traditional registered nurses (RNs). Acute care nurse practitioners salaries average $97,000 a year.
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How to Become an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements
There are several steps that must be taken to become an AG-ACNP. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the many requirements for being accepted into a nurse practitioner program. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
- Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program, you must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Working one to two years before applying for a nurse practitioner program is highly recommended.
- Apply to AG-ACNP programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. More information on adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner programs and coursework requirements can be found below.
- Complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner role and population.
- Apply to take the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The exam tests comprehension of assessment and diagnostic techniques, pharmacology, theory and more. Final transcripts and proof of education are required. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Apply for state certification as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner in the state where you wish to practice. Go to our state certification pages to find out what the requirements are and how to apply. Many applications can be submitted online.
- Once certified, certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs
After first completing nursing school and board examinations to become a registered nurse and working at least one to two years, you can apply to a nurse practitioner program in order to advance your career. Some schools will require you to have worked with patients for a set length of time or have experience in a specific setting — such as critical care — before considering you for acceptance to an ACNP program. ACNP programs can be found across the country in both online and on-campus formats, or a combination of both. However, applicants should understand that several hundred hours of clinical time will be required for the completion of the program, and students will need to find a preceptor for that portion of training. Some schools will help students locate a preceptor and others will not.
Curriculum and core classes may vary slightly from program to program, but students should be prepared to complete between 40 and 50 credit hours. Core classes will include advanced physical assessment techniques, pharmacology, theory and research related to the focus area plus practicum placement at the end of the program. Full-time students can expect to carry four or five classes each semester, and part-time students will have to carry the minimum number of hours as determined by their institution.
The practicum or onsite training with real patients is a key component of adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner programs. After they are connected with a preceptor, students will assess and treat real patients under the preceptor’s guidance. Required practicum hours can range from 500 to 600 hours or more depending on the program, and some may predetermine how many hours each week students must spend in a clinical setting — ranging from 15 to 24 hours per week or more.
For nurses who already hold a master’s degree, post-master’s certificate programs with slightly lower credit requirement are available. Students will still need to complete the practicum rotation and similar classroom courses.
RNs who enroll in an acute care nurse practitioner education program can expect to spend two years or slightly more in classroom and clinical time. The number of credit hours the student carries and other life demands can influence training time, and attending as a part-time student can influence how long it takes to complete the degree.
The ANCC has specific coursework requirements for those applying to take the Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Exam. Separate courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment and advanced pharmacology are all required. Content in health promotion or maintenance and differential diagnosis and disease management is also required.
Online Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Programs
For working registered nurses who do not want to put their career on pause or uproot their lives to attend a far away on-campus program, online acute care nurse practitioner programs can be both a flexible and high-quality option. When looking for an online AG-ACNP program, make sure that it is high quality, with interactive features such as live classes and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to what they offer on campus, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to move there. Online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification