Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (A/GACNP)

Specialty Track Description

Acute care nurse practitioners play a vital role in caring for the acutely and critically ill in hospitals, nursing facilities, and in the community. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the AACN Certification Corporation recently announced changes to the current certification. Beginning in 2011 the certification is now the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification.

Acute care nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who specialize in the care of patients in hospital settings (e.g., medical/surgical units, emergency department, intensive care units), skilled nursing facilities, and in outpatient specialty clinics. Our graduates are currently working in multiple areas including, trauma, critical care, surgical services, orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonology and oncology. Students in the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner specialty track can tailor their clinical training to meet their career goals.

The plan of study provides in depth coursework in pathophysiology, acute medicine, critical care medicine, pharmacology, diagnostic reasoning, and physical examinations. Lectures are provided by experts in their respective fields. Our faculty, instructors, and clinical preceptors are practicing nurse practitioners and physicians in a variety of fields including trauma surgery, general surgery, orthopedics, internal medicine, palliative care, oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology and neuro-critical care.

The educational approach in the DNP program includes multiple modalities, including land-based classes, web-based education, synchronous learning opportunities, and clinical experiences.

A cohort of approximately 15-17 students is accepted into the Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty track each fall semester.

Length of Program

The Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty track is eight (8) semesters in length, requiring 85 credit hours in didactic and clinical coursework. It is available only as a full-time plan of study (9+ credit hours per semester) and is completed in three (3) years, including two (2) summer semesters.

Studying at a Distance

Some courses are available in an online or hybrid format, but this specialty track cannot be completed online or at a distance.

Certification Eligibility

Graduates are prepared to sit for national certification from the American Nurses' Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Upon successful completion of the exam candidates are eligible to become certified or licensed to practice.

Programs of Study

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program of study requires completion of the DNP core curriculum, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty courses, a DNP Scholarly Project, and approximately 1000 hours of practicum and residency experience. Course descriptions can be found in the University of Utah General Catalog.

Sample Program of Study

Contact Us

Office of Student Services
Phone: 801-587-3194

Request More Information

Program Manager
Shelley Kern
Phone: 801-585-0878

Faculty Specialty Track Director
Denise Ward, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, DNP


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