The post-graduate Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) certificate program prepares individuals who are already licensed advanced practice nurses with the skills and competencies needed to provide patient-centered care to adults across the lifespan who are physiologically unstable, technologically dependent, or highly vulnerable to complications, and require frequent monitoring and intervention. Didactic and clinical practicums prepare the graduate to provide a full-spectrum of care ranging from disease prevention to acute and critical care management and palliative care, with consideration to the developmental, life-stage needs of adults across the age spectrum. This 20 credit, one year program prepares advanced practice nurses, who are certified in another specialty, to take the AG-ACNP certification exam.
Course work is conducted primarily online with intensive on-campus sessions twice per year for competency training and testing and advisement. Clinical experiences are scheduled in proximity to the student’s’ residence. Students wear their UTHSC picture identification while on-campus and at clinical sites. Student placement in clinical sites is verified by preceptors, and faculty conduct clinical site visits or videoconferencing sessions with the student and preceptors.
Upon completion of the AG-ACNP certificate program, the graduate will be able to:
- Synthesize nursing and other scientific knowledge, with contemporary clinical knowledge, for the assessment and management of health and illness states of adult-gerontology patients.
- Demonstrate advanced levels of nursing practice including health promotion, health protection, disease prevention, treatment, and referrals for the acute, critical, and chronically ill or injured patient.
- Engage in advocacy, modeling and teaching to advance health outcomes of complex acute, critical, or chronically ill patients.
- Develop collaborative professional relationships.
- Provides leadership for the delivery of clinical services within an integrated system of health care.
- Analyzes practice outcomes to foster quality healthcare practices and improve patient outcomes.
- Integrate professional values and ethical decision-making in advanced nursing practice.
Admission Process and Minimum Requirements
Admission is once per year. Applications are due in January for consideration of admission into the Fall class. All application materials (for example, application, application fee, recommendations, essay, official transcripts, copy of active advanced practice nurse licensure) must be submitted through NursingCAS by the deadline in order for students to be considered for admission. Applicants can access the NursingCAS application site at: http://nursingcas.org/.
- Master of science degree in nursing with nurse practitioner concentration;
- Completion of three separate courses in Advanced Pathology/Pathophysiology, Advanced Health Assessment, and Advanced Pharmacology;
- An unencumbered license as an advanced practice nurse (nurse practitioner);
- Certification in an advanced practice nursing specialty other than AG-ACNP;
- Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher in master’s program;
- Three recommendations supporting the applicant’s ability to function in the AG-ACNP role (clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and nursing leadership);
- For individuals educated outside of the United States, evidence of proficiency in English is required through submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Minimum proficiency scores: 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL Web-based version are required.
Students must meet the following pre-matriculation requirements:
- Completion of required immunizations;
- Successful criminal background check and drug screening prior to matriculation;
- Evidence of current cardiopulmonary certification (BCLS) and advanced cardiac life support certification (ACLS);
- Evidence of health and professional liability insurance; and
- Student confirmation of their ability to meet the technical and performance standards of the AG-ACNP certificate program.
Admission to the AG-ACNP Certificate Program is competitive. Only applicants who meet minimum academic requirements will be considered for admission; however applicants who meet minimal requirements are not guaranteed admission.
Graduation requirements include completion of each required course with a grade of “C” or higher and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
Academic Preparation and Achievement Admission Criteria
Applicants must document evidence of having earned a master of science in nursing or higher degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program. Only applicants with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 based on all collegiate work or a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 earned during the applicant’s most recently completed degree program will be considered for admission. The GPA calculation for the most recently completed degree will be based only on those grades earned at the degree- granting institution. Applicants may submit additional documents to demonstrate professional scholarship and leadership abilities that could make them more competitive.
Essay, Professional Recommendations, and Interview Criteria
In addition to academic qualifications, applicants are assessed through (1) an essay; (2) professional recommendations; and, (3) interviews.
- Essay - The purpose of the essay is to provide the College of Nursing Admissions Committee further insight into the professional goals, motivation, and expectations of the applicant and to evaluate written communication skills. Applicants are asked to respond to specific questions on the application essay form.
- Recommendation Forms - Applicants must submit 3 Recommendation Forms from graduate prepared nurses or faculty members who can address the applicant’s potential or ability for functioning in the AG-ACNP role (clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and nursing leadership). Applicants currently enrolled in an advanced practice nursing (APN) program should have at least 1 Recommendation Form submitted by a faculty member in that program. Individuals who are in an APN program must be licensed as an APN prior to entering the AG-ACNP program.
- Interview - Applicants meeting admission criteria and selected for further admission consideration must participate in an interview for the purpose of evaluating communication and decision-making skills, educational goals and current leadership, scholarship, practice roles and activities. The interview will be in-person, face-to-face unless extraordinary circumstances warrant other arrangements, as determined by the AG-ACNP Certificate Program Director.
English Language Proficiency
If native tongue is not English, evidence of proficiency in English is documented through the submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Minimum proficiency scores: 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL Web-based version. TOEFL scores must have been earned within two years prior to application. Applicants may request exemption from the TOEFL examination requirement, for example, an earned high school degree from a U.T. secondary education institution. Requests must be submitted before the application deadline to the Director of Student Affairs, (901) 448-6125.
Technical and Performance Standards: AG-ACNP Certificate Program
In addition the technical and performance standards expected of all students in educational programs in the College of Nursing, students in the AG-ACNP program are also expected to possess the mental, auditory, visual, sensory, strength, manual dexterity, and communication skills to:
- Perform a systematic and complete history and physical examination on a client.
- Communicate significant examination findings to other professionals and client/family.
- Appropriately assess and record subjective and objective findings.
- Maintain effective relationships and interact appropriately with other professionals and clients/families, demonstrating skills of leadership collaborations and decisiveness.
- Accurately analyze alterations in functional patterns.
- Demonstrate advanced use of the nursing process: assess, develop, implement, educate and counsel clients, prescribe appropriate therapy, demonstrate self-care skills and evaluate appropriate plans of action for diagnosed problems.
- Maintain flexibility and emotional stability in response to novel, unique situations and stress.
- Anticipate common, acute, and life-threatening problems encountered in critically ill patients.
- Identify ethical issues in critical care practice and participate in ethical decision making using a systematic approach.
- Demonstrate/role model the appropriate integration of evidence into practice.
If a student cannot fulfill these Technical and Performance Standards, with or without accommodations, at any time in the program, the student will be ineligible for admission or continued progression in the AG-ACNP Certificate program. In addition to assuring that students can meet the intellectual, emotional, and physical criteria for the AG-ACNP Certificate program, it is of utmost importance that students have the ability to provide for the safety and welfare of their patients and others. Reasonable accommodations will be provided, when appropriate, to help student meet these Technical and Professional Standards. Any student wishing accommodations must contact the university’s Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion at 901-448-5056 (email: SASSI@uthsc.edu).
The AG-ACNP Certificate program will pursue accreditation by CCNE after being in operation for one year, the minimum length of time a program must be in existence before being eligible to pursue accreditation by CCNE.
Classroom, Clinical and Lab Hours Ratio per Credit
The clinical and laboratory hour per credit hour ratio in courses taught in the AG-ACNP certificate program is 4:1. Thus, 1 credit equates to 60 hours of clinical or laboratory experience over the course of the term, as well as additional student effort of approximately 30 hours related to preparation for the clinical and laboratory experiences. For didactic courses taught online or using a hybrid format, a 3 credit-hour course would involve at least 135 hours of student effort over the term.
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate Program Curriculum
The AG-ACNP certificate program curriculum is a full-time, continuous, 12-month program providing didactic, laboratory and clinical experiences for advance practice nurses (APNs) seeking a new certification as an AG-ACNP. Courses are offered one time per academic year.
A gap analysis will be performed to determine if the applicants’ previous Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Pathology/Pathophysiology, and Advanced Health Assessment courses meet requirements to sit for the AG-ACNP certification exam. The Advanced Pharmacology course must include content consistent with the AG-ACNP certification test plan and have been completed within 5 years of the date the individual plans to sit for the AG-ACNP certification program. Applicants with deficiencies may complete a graduate level Advanced Pharmacology course from any accredited advanced practice program prior to enrolling in the AG-ACNP certificate program. If the applicant’s Advanced Health Assessment course did not cover the lifespan, then the applicant will take NSG 824 - Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnosis course will be taken during the spring term. If the applicant has not completed an Advanced Pathology course within the last 5 years, the PATN 605 - Advanced Pathology course will be taken during the spring term, or an equivalent course may be taken at any accredited nursing program prior to enrolling in the AG-ACNP certificate program. An advanced practice roles course is included as part of the AG-ACNP certificate program curricular schema. The need for the student to complete a roles course (NSG 855 ) will be based on a gap analysis.