Skip to main content


Below is the course of study for Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. We also provide plans of study for both full time and part time students.

Core courses (5 course units):

Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology

This course will integrate advanced physiology with pathophysiology and clinical implications across the lifespan for advanced nursing practice. Organ systems function and dysfunction from the level of the cell through integrated organ levels will be presented, and the genetic basis of disease will be discussed. Recent scientific advances will be discussed with application to new approaches to disease and symptom management. The interrelationships between basic physiology, clinical pathophysiology, and genetics are emphasized through lecture and case studies.

Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics for Nursing Practice

Advanced principles of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics are applied to the nursing care of individuals across the life-stage spectrum. It focuses on the content and knowledge employed by the advanced practice registered nurse in the management of various conditions and disease states. The course builds on the pharmacology knowledge base acquired in the baccalaureate nursing program. The advanced pharmacology and therapeutics of several common diseases or conditions found in the acute care and primary care setting is presented. This is supplemented with pharmacotherapy modules to meet program specific needs.

Professional Role Issues for Nurse Practitioners

This course is intended for students planning a career that involves primary health care delivery. It includes lectures, discussions, readings, and projects focused on health, social, economic and professional factors influencing health care delivery in the community.

Advanced Physical Assessment and Clinical Decision Making

This is a laboratory/clinical course designed to help prospective nurse practitioners develop advanced clinical assessment skills. Provider-patient interaction, data collection, and hypothesis formulation are emphasized. All participants engage in actual practice with fellow students, and/or models, and consenting patients.

And one of the following two courses:

Scientific Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice

This course is designed to advance students’ understanding of the research process, methods of scientific inquiry, and analytical techniques. Students acquire knowledge of systematic approaches used by scientists to design and conduct studies. Course content prepares students to appraise quantitative and qualitative research, and evaluate the scientific merit and clinical significance of research for translation into practice. Evidence-based guidelines are examined and rated for strength of evidence and expert consensus using evidence grading systems and defined criteria. Students engage in variety of creative learning experiences to facilitate appreciative inquiry, clinical reasoning, and evidence-based practice. Quality improvement, comparative effectiveness analyses, information science, and electronic health systems technology demonstrate the capacity for measurement and surveillance of nursing-sensitive and other outcomes used to evaluate quality nursing care and test interventions. Ethical, legal and health policy implications for research are explored. This course serves as the basis for scientific inquiry about human experiences to address important problems that require solutions and to expand the research and the evidence base for professional nursing practice.

Introduction to Research Methods and Design

The relationships among nursing theory, research and practice will be examined. An emphasis will be placed on research competencies for advanced practice nurses (APNs), including understanding nursing research methods and strategies in order to evaluate research results for applicability to practice and to design projects for evaluating outcomes of practice. An understanding of statistical techniques will be integrated into the course and build on the required undergraduate statistics course. Published nursing research studies will be evaluated for scientific merit and clinical feasibility, with a focus on evidence-based practice.

Theory courses (3 course units):

Health Care in an Aging Society

Individual and societal influences on the care of older adults are examined in detail within the context of an emerging health care system. Normal changes in physical and psychological health are explored in depth. Significant issues affecting care of older adults and their families at the global and national level are discussed.

Primary Care: Diagnosis and Management of Adults Across the Lifespan

This course focuses on development of critical thinking skills to address health care problems of adults across the lifespan, with an emphasis on middle-aged and older adults, develop differential problem solving skills and determine appropriate management interventions. The management of common acute and chronic health conditions will include evidence based primary preventions, drug and treatment therapeutics, and referral to other health care providers. Students have the opportunity to build on previously acquired skills and to apply concepts of primary care to manage the health problems of adults across the lifespan.

Primary Care: Complex Diagnosis and Management of Adults across the Lifespan

This course will build on concepts presented in the Diagnosis and Management of Adults across the Lifespan (NURS 646) course. The focus is on refining health assessment skills, interpreting findings, developing and implementing appropriate plans of care to meet common health maintenance needs of adults and to promote the health of adults with more complex health problems with an emphasis on the frail adult. The student will gain increased expertise in communication skills, health assessment skills, interpreting findings, epidemiological concepts and developing and implementing plans of care. The emphasis will be placed upon managing an aging population with complex, chronic healthcare needs and promoting healthy behaviors across the lifespan.

Clinical courses (4 course units):

Primary Care Clinical Practicum: Diagnosis and Management of Adults across the Lifespan

Management and evaluation of primary care problems of middle-aged and older adults in a variety of ambulatory and occupational settings. Opportunity to implement the role of the nurse practitioner with middle-aged and older adults and their families in the community. Interdisciplinary experiences will be pursued & collaborative practice emphasized. Students are expected to assess and begin to manage common chronic health problems in consultation with the appropriate provider of care. The initiation of health promotion & health maintenance activities with individuals and groups is stressed. Includes 16 hours a week of clinical experience with a preceptor.

Primary Care Clinical Practicum: Complex Diagnosis and Management of Adults across the Lifespan

The focus of this course is the application of concepts presented in the Complex Diagnosis and Management of Adults Across the Lifespan (NURS 648) including initial workups of new patients, and the evaluation and management of patients with self-limiting acute problems, or stable chronic illnesses. Students will gain increased clinical expertise in a variety of community-based clinical settings including but not limited to health maintenance organizations, community clinics, long term care, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, occupational health settings, and private practice. The student will gain increased expertise in communication skills, health assessment skills, interpreting findings, applying epidemiological concepts and developing and implementing plans of care for adults across the lifespan with health maintenance needs, and/or common acute and chronic health problems.

Clinical Management of Primary Care with Adults

Assessment and treatment of younger adults in ambulatory care settings is the focus of this clinical course.The course provides the nurse practitioner student with the necessary knowledge and experience to assist individuals with most common health problems, including acute episodic illness. The concepts of health promotion and health maintenance are integrated throughout the curriculum. Using a developmental framework, maturational tasks and problems of the adult and family in relation to illness and health are explored.

Advanced Concepts in Primary Care

In conjunction with the development of advanced clinical skills, students focus on advanced practice role development and the study of issues in health service delivery related to the practice of primary health care. Economics, case management and cultural/ethical aspects of care are discussed.