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Adult & Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist: Trauma/Critical Care/Emergency Nursing

Trauma Critical Care

Overview

This specialty prepares nurse clinicians to provide advanced nursing care across the continuum of acute care services. The specialty incorporates coursework, laboratory, and clinical experiences in a variety of acute care settings. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Graduates are also eligible to take the Adult-Gerontology Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist certification examination offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Web-based courses may be available. Full-time, part-time, and post-master's (non-degree) options are available.

Students admitted to the Adult & Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist master's specialty in fall 2013 were the final cohort of students in this specialty whose degree will culminate in the Master of Science. The application deadline for fall 2013 admission was February 1, 2013. Effective with the entering class of fall 2014, this specialty will accept applicants only to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Sample Plans of Study

Sample Plan of Full-Time Study (Fall Start)

First Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 612 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NURS 605 Comprehensive Adult Health Assessment
(Clinical Hours: 40)
3
NURS 623 Advanced Assessment of the Critically Ill
(Clinical Hours: 45)
3
NURS 622 Systems and Populations in Health Care 3
NURS 723 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 3
  Total 15
Second Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NURS 701 Science and Research for Advanced Nursing Practice 4
NPHY 620 Pathophysiological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2
NURS 647 Diagnosis and Management of Common
Acute Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 200)
5
  Total 11
Third Semester (Summer)
Course Title Credits
NURS 726 Diagnosis and Management of Complex Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 4
Fourth Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 659 Organizational and Professional Dimensions
of Advanced Nursing Practice
3
NURS 679 Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in
Health Care Delivery Systems (Clinical Hours: 150)
3
NURS 727 Advanced Acute Care Management
(Clinical Hours: 150)
4
NURS 755 Families in Crisis 2
  Total 12
Total Credits 42

Sample Plan of Full-Time Study (Spring Start)

First Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 612 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NURS 622 Systems and Populations in Health Care 3
NURS 723 Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 3
  Total 9
Second Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 605 Comprehensive Adult Health Assessment
(Clinical Hours: 40)
3
NURS 623 Advanced Assessment of the Critically Ill
(Clinical Hours: 45)
3
NURS 701 Science and Research for Advanced Nursing Practice 4
  Total 10
Third Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 620 Pathophysiological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2
NURS 647 Diagnosis and Management of Common Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 200)
5
NURS 659 Organizational and Professional Dimensions of
Advanced Practice Nursing
3
  Total 10
Fourth Semester (Summer)
Course Title Credits
NURS 726 Diagnosis and Management of Complex Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 4
Fifth Semester (Fall)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 679 Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles
in Health Care Delivery Systems (Clinical Hours: 150)
3
NURS 727 Advanced Acute Care Management
(Clinical Hours: 150)
4
NURS 755 Families in Crisis 2
  Total 9
Total Credits 42

Sample Plan of Part-Time Study (Fall Start)

First Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 612* Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NURS 723** Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 3
  Total 6
Second Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NURS 701 Science and Research for Advanced Nursing Practice 4
NURS 755 Families in Crisis 2
  Total 6
Third Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 605 Comprehensive Adult Health Assessment
(Clinical Hours: 40)
3
NURS 623 Advanced Assessment of the Critically Ill
(Clinical Hours: 45)
3
  Total 6
Fourth Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 620 Pathophysiological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2
NURS 647 Diagnosis and Management of Common Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 200)
5
  Total 7
Fifth Semester (Summer)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 622 Systems and Populations in Health Care 3
NURS 726 Diagnosis and Management of Complex Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 7
Sixth Semester (Fall)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 659 Organizational and Professional Dimensions of
Advanced Nursing Practice
3
NURS 679 Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles
in Health Care Delivery Systems (Clinical Hours: 150)
3
NURS 727 Advanced Acute Care Management
(Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 10
Total Credits 42

*Students must have completed NPHY 612 before taking NURS 605 and NURS 623.
**Students must have completed NURS 723 before taking NURS 647.

Sample Plan of Part-Time Study (Spring Start)

First Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 612* Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NURS 723** Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 3
  Total 6
Second Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 701 Science and Research for Advanced Nursing Practice 4
NURS 755 Families in Crisis 2
  Total 6
Third Semester (Spring)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 622 Systems and Populations in Health Care 3
NURS 659 Organizational and Professional Dimensions of
Advanced Nursing Practice
3
  Total 6
Fourth Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 605 Comprehensive Adult Health Assessment
(Clinical Hours: 40)
3
NURS 623 Advanced Assessment of the Critically Ill
(Clinical Hours: 45)
3
  Total 6
Fifth Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 620 Pathophysiological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2
NURS 647 Diagnosis and Management of Common Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 200)
5
  Total 7
Sixth Semester (Summer)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 726 Diagnosis and Management of Complex Acute
Care Problems (Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 4
Seventh Semester (Fall)  
Course Title Credits
NURS 679 Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles
in Health Care Delivery Systems (Clinical Hours: 150)
3
NURS 727 Advanced Acute Care Management
(Clinical Hours: 150)
4
  Total 7
Total Credits 42

*Students must have completed NPHY 612 before taking NURS 605 and NURS 623.
**Students must have completed NURS 723 before taking NURS 647.

Post-Master's Option (non-degree)

This post-master’s specialty prepares nurse clinicians to provide advanced nursing care across the continuum of acute care services. The specialty incorporates coursework, laboratory, and clinical experiences in a variety of acute care settings. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Graduates are also eligible to sit for the Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist certification examination offered by the AACN. Web-based courses may be available. 

Sample Plan of Full-Time Study

First Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 612* Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NURS 605* Comprehensive Adult Health Assessment 3
NURS 623* Advanced Assessment of the Critically Ill 3
  Total 9
Second Semester (Spring)
Course Title Credits
NPHY 620* Pathophysiological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2
NURS 723* Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 3
NURS 647 Diagnosis and Management of Common Acute Care Problems 5
  Total 10
Third Semester (Summer)
Course Title Credits
NURS 726 Diagnosis and Management of Complex Acute Care Problems 4
  Total 4
Fourth Semester (Fall)
Course Title Credits
NURS 727 Advanced Acute Care Management 4
  Total 4
Total Credits 13-27

*These courses may be waived based on evidence of successful completion of similar master’s courses.

Faculty

Specialty Director:

Bimbola Akintade, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, MHA, assistant professor
Email: akintade@son.umaryland.edu

Faculty:

Tonya Appleby, MSN, CCRN, CEN, ACNP-BC, GNP-BC, clinical instructor
Patricia Morton, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, professor and associate dean for academic affairs
Kathryn T. VonRueden, MS, RN, CNS-BC, FCCM, associate professor

Other Resources

FAQs

How long does it take to complete the Adult & Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist master's specialty?

Students can choose from several options for completing their studies. Click the Sample Plans of Study tab to view each of the different options.

What type of nursing experience should applicants have?  

Current critical care, emergency, and acute care clinical experience is ideal, and completion of certification in the specialty area, e.g., Critical Care Registered Nurse or Certified Emergency Nurse, is strongly encouraged. Completion of Advanced Cardiac Life Support will be required for all students prior to starting the first clinical diagnosis and management course (NURS 647). All students must maintain active RN licensure, CPR certification, HIPAA certification, and proof of current immunizations while in the program. Membership in a specialty organization, e.g., American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Emergency Nurses Association, is also advantageous. 

This program is designed to prepare students for practice as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) or as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CCNS). Upon completion of the program, students will have the opportunity to sit for the ACNP certification board exam offered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and the CCNS certification board exam offered by AACN.

How much hands-on clinical time will need to be completed?

To be eligible to sit for the ACNP or the CCNS board certification exams, all students, including post-master’s students, must complete a minimum of 500 hands-on clinical hours.  Due to the number of students in the program and the finite spaces available for clinical study, students in the clinical courses (NURS 647, NURS 679, NURS 726, and NURS 727) must complete their clinical rotations within a four-week (summer semester) or eight-week (spring/fall semester) timeframe.   

The clinical-based courses (taken in sequential order) are as follows: 

Fall Semester: NURS 605 – 45 hours (incorporated within the class time)
NURS 623 – 45 hours (incorporated within the class time)
Spring Semester: NURS 647 – 200 hours (outside of class time)
Summer Semester: NURS 726 – 150 hours (outside of class time)
Fall Semester: NURS 727 – 150 hours (outside of class time)
NURS 679 – 150 hours (outside of class time)
Do students have to find their own preceptor or clinical site?  Can they do their clinical rotations where they work? 

Clinical rotations are done in collaboration with the students, preceptor faculty members, and program faculty members, and they are based on availability.  Within reason, the program faculty members will do their best to accommodate a student’s clinical requests.

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) has clinical contracts with agencies across the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C. in a variety of settings. Students have completed rotations at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, and other local hospitals in settings such as intensive care units, emergency departments, hospitalist services, and with specialty teams including acute stroke, transplant, and plastic reconstructive services.

Due to administrative/privacy issues, students are not allowed to complete their CNS rotation in the institution where they are employed due to potential conflict of interest. For similar reasons, students are strongly discouraged from participating in ACNP clinical rotations in units where they are employed.

Do residents of Washington, D.C. need a Maryland RN license to participate in clinicals in Maryland?

Yes. Maryland is a compact state. Multi-State Licensure (MSL) will allow a nurse licensed in a compact state to practice across state lines in another compact state without having to obtain a license in the other state. However, Washington, D.C. is not part of the MSL and licensure must be obtained to participate in clinical rotations in this area.

For more information on compact state information, visit: https://www.ncsbn.org/nlc.htm.

Can students complete this program online?

Three of 13 courses are offered online. There are no immediate plans to transition this program to a completely online format. Due to the intensity of the course and clinical work, it is highly recommended that students live locally.

Can students work while in the program?

This is an individual decision, and based on past student experiences, we recommend that students carefully consider their home and work-related responsibilities. If  the full-time course of study is chosen, we strongly recommend a reduction in the student’s work hours to maximize academic success. Students accepted into the program will be assigned an academic advisor who will help outline a course of study that best suits their individual needs.

Where and how does the application process begin?

Visit the Master of Science Degree Program page for admission requirements: http://nursing.umaryland.edu/academic-programs/grad/masters-degree. Then visit the Apply Now page to apply: http://nursing.umaryland.edu/admissions/apply-now.

Admission is highly competitive. For information on application deadlines, including priority and final dates, visit: http://nursing.umaryland.edu/admissions/application-deadlines. Be sure to look at the deadlines for MS Specialties, as the Graduate School deadlines vary from the BSN program deadlines.

If accepted into the Adult & Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist master's specialty, what are next steps for registering for class?

UMSON will host a graduate student orientation and new students are encouraged to attend. In addition, program faculty members will host information advising sessions with small groups of students a few times each semester. Students should contact their advisor for exact dates and times, and plan to attend.

  1. The advisor must sign the student’s registration form (electronically or by hand).
  2. The signed registration form must be submitted to the Registration Office (electronically from your advisor or the hand-delivered by the student).
  3. Once the registration form is submitted for processing, the student will be able to log onto the SURFS system and register for the courses agreed upon by the advisor. (Students will receive instructions on the electronic SURFS system at Student Orientation.)
How many days per week are students in class and in the clinical practicum?

Full-time students will be in either class or clinical practicum about five days per week. Part-time students, in the last 12 months of the program and while taking clinical courses (January through December), will be in either class or clinical practicum approximately three to four days per week. This program strongly supports student-centered learning and many of the courses are Web-enhanced. The aim of the program is to provide students with the materials and guidance needed for self-directed, autonomous learning. Course content will be available through an online site called Blackboard. Students are responsible for keeping up with online coursework. 

Are any special supplies or equipment needed?

Students are required to purchase a full-length white lab coat and to have a high quality stethoscope. There will be a number of highly recommended clinical references, and former students have recommended utilization of a smartphone with the ability to download medical software. While we do not recommend a particular brand, we do recommend that you get a smartphone that fits your budget and meets your clinical needs.

Must a certain GPA be maintained?

According to the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School, all graduate students must maintain a B average, or a 3.0 GPA, to remain in good academic standing. For more information, see the student handbook: http://nursing.umaryland.edu/student-resources/student-services/student-handbook.   

Students must achieve a ‘B’ or higher in the Pathophysiology course (NPHY 612) before progressing on to clinical coursework. Additionally, students must pass a previously failed clinical course before taking another clinical course.

Where can graduates work? What is the job market like for ACNPs and CCNSs?

ACNPs and CCNSs work in a variety of capacities within a hospitalized setting. Similar to clinical rotations, students find positions in both major medical centers and local community hospitals. Positions may vary and include service or unit-based practice. The demand for CNSs and ACNPs (as hospitalists) is on the rise. Motivated students can easily find jobs. Approximately 30-40 percent of students find positions before graduating and the remainder secure positions within 3-6 months of graduating.

If a student is not accepted the first time what can be done to improve chances of acceptance the next time?

Many variables are taken into consideration when reviewing a student’s application for admission. If he/she has a low GPA, retaking core courses would be a good place to start, but that does not guarantee acceptance.  A strong foundation in courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment is one key to success in this program. Writing and grammar skills are also critically important for graduate-level education. Taking a writing course, particularly a technical writing course, may be of assistance. Current critical care, emergency, and acute care clinical experience is ideal, and completion of certification in the specialty area, e.g., Critical Care Registered Nurse or Certified Emergency Nurse, is strongly encouraged.

Contact Information