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Penn Nursing > Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (AGACNP)

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program

About Our Program

Why is the Penn Nursing's Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (AGACNP) the right choice for you? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  • Individualized clinical practicum to match your career goals.
  • A large network of clinical preceptors that we provide for you - no finding your own.
  • Clinical experiences in some of the most world renown academic health centers, research institutions and community hospitals in the nation.
  • Intensive training in the use of technologies.
  • Use of simulation to practice and apply newly acquired skills.
  • Opportunities to publish in leading nursing journals and present at regional and national conferences.
  • Clinical experiences range from general surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, neurosurgery, oncology, trauma and numerous other specialty areas.

Want to find out more? Please contact us and we'll tell you how.

Program Overview

The AGACNP Program evolved from one of the first in the United States to prepare acute care nurse practitioners for the management of patients with specialized health care needs. Students develop expertise in physical assessment, complex clinical decision making, diagnostic and interventional procedures, prescriptive knowledge, and patient care management across the continuum of acute care services, from critical care to discharge and facilitation of the patient's transition to the community.

The program offers a broad preparation in the management of acutely and critically ill patients with additional opportunities to concentrate on populations of special interest. With a strong emphasis on research and evidence-based practice, students follow a curriculum that includes theoretical content and guided clinical experiences that emphasize holistic patient care and a collaborative, interprofessional team approach. For their practicum experiences, students are paired with acute care nurse practitioners, physicians or collaborative teams.

Areas of Concentration

Students can choose from a variety of clinical experiences such as Oncology, Trauma, General Surgery, Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Transplant, Nephrology and many others. Sites are chosen based on availability of experiences and student preferences. Faculty guidance for optimum preparation is provided.

Students may complete minors in a variety of clinically related areas such as Oncology, Palliative Care, Forensic Science, Global Health and others. Those interested in finding out more about these opportunities can click on the Academic Programs page and scroll to the bottom. Click on the link to find out more specifics about the minor that interests you

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.

Dual Preparation as an AGACNP and AGCNS

If you are interested in dually preparing for both the Adult Gerontology ACNP and Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist roles, you may enroll in both programs. Completing this plan of study will broadly prepare you as an advanced practice nurse in both NP and CNS roles. A number of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses are dually prepared so they can meet the multifaceted needs of our patients and so they can be more marketable in our healthcare system.

Upon completion of the CNS program, you will also be prepared to sit for either the American Association of Critical Care Nurses CCNS (Critical Care CNS) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Adult Gerontology CNS examination in addition to the Adult Gerontology Acute Care nurse practitioner exam.

Streamlined Post-Master's AGACNP

The APRN Consensus Model, published in 2008 by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing calls for improved congruence between licensure, accreditation, certification and educational requirements between agencies and State Boards of Nursing. This means that if an NP graduated from a primary care NP program, that they should work with patients who have primary care issues. Likewise, if an NP is educated and certified as an acute care nurse practitioner, then this NP should work with acutely ill, critically ill, or chronically complex patients. This does not mean that all NPs working in inpatient settings have to be acute care prepared. It means that each NP has to evaluate the care they provide every day to their patients and decide if the majority of problems managed are primary care or acute care focused.

We know that many NPs working with acutely ill patients are primary care prepared and as a result of the Consensus Model are looking to become certified in acute care. In response to this, Penn Nursing has created a streamlined post-master's Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP program for those who work with acutely ill patients every day (and have been for a minimum of 1 year).

Each applicant will need to submit all syllabi from their master's program in order for a gap analysis to be conducted and for us to determine your plan of study ($300 fee). This analysis will also need to be submitted to the certifying body when you apply to sit for certification.

Post-Master's Certificate Option

If you have a MSN in another area of nursing and wish to become an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner you can apply to the Post Master's Option of the AGACNP program. If admitted a gap analysis will be conducted. This requires students to submit syllabi from previously completed coursework that may be transferrable to the AGACNP curriculum. If coursework is comparable, you will not be required to retake it. Once the gap analysis is completed a final plan of study will be developed. There is a fee associated with having an official gap analysis completed.

There are many options available to you and we work with you to customize the program to fit your needs. Please contact us anytime.

Special Streamline Admissions Requirements:

PA State Board of Nursing requires all matriculated students to be licensed (RN only) in the State of Pennsylvania.

Penn Nursing is new to distance learning, and we have not obtained permission to operate in all states. Therefore, applicants should contact AGACNP faculty before applying.


"The education I received at Penn has undoubtedly shaped my future for the better. I gained the key skills and knowledge to become an important member of the health care team."
Komal Patel, MSN, 2011