Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist

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Overview

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)/Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): Trauma/Critical Care/Emergency Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a blended ACNP/CNS practice-focused doctorate based on the recommendations of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Position Statement on the “Practice Doctorate in Nursing" and on its "Essentials of the Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice." This specialty prepares registered nurses to provide evidenced-based care to acutely and critically ill patients and their families in the critical care, trauma, and emergency department settings and across the continuum of acute care services. ACNPs are direct care providers who diagnose and manage acute and chronic health problems. CNSs provide direct care and care coordination for patients and their families, provide expert consultation and implementation of multidisciplinary evidence-based practices at the unit and organizational level. The specialty incorporates coursework, laboratory, and clinical experiences in a variety of acute care settings. Doctoral-prepared graduates are eligible to take both the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist certification examinations offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Sample Plans of Study

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialty (Three Year) Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits 
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 819: Advanced Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits 
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 13 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NDNP 820: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning 2 Credits 
NDNP 821: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning Clinical 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 10 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit 
NPHY 620: Pathological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NDNP 814: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems 3 Credits 
NDNP 817: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems Clinical Practicum 2 Credits (90 Hours)
NDNP 822: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic 4 Credits 
NDNP 823: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 12 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NDNP 807: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care 2 Credits 
NDNP 808: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care Practicum 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 811: Scholarly Project Development 1 Credit 
NDNP 824: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions 4 Credits 
NDNP 825: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 11 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits 
NDNP 826: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems and Complex Clinical Syndromes 2 Credits 
NDNP 827: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems and Complex Clinical Syndromes: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 7 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits 
NDNP 812: Scholarly Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 828: Diagnosis and Management 5: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems - Clinical 4 Credits (180 Hours) 
NDNP 891: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems 3 Credits 
Total: 11 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 813: Scholarly Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits 
NDNP 829: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
Total: 9 Credits
TOTAL 79 CREDITS (55 Didactic/24 Clinical Credits [1,080 Clinical Hours]) 

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialty (Four-Year) Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
Total: 7 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NDNP 814: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems 3 Credits
NDNP 817: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems Clinical Practicum 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 819: Advanced Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NDNP 820: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning 2 Credits
NDNP 821: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning Clinical 2 Credits (90 Hours)
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 7 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NPHY 620: Pathological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2 Credits 
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NDNP 822: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic 4 Credits 
NDNP 823: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
NDNP 807: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care 2 Credits
NDNP 808: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care Practicum 1 Credit (45 Hours)
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 811: Scholarly Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 824: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions 4 Credits 
NDNP 825: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 8 Credits
Summer Year 3
NDNP 826: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems and Complex Clinical Syndromes 2 Credits
NDNP 827: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems and Complex Clinical Syndromes: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 4 Credits
Fall Year 4
NDNP 812: Scholarly Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 891: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems 3 Credits
NDNP 828: Diagnosis and Management 5: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems - Clinical 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 8 Credits
Spring Year 4
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits
NDNP 813: Scholarly Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 829: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
Total: 9 Credits
TOTAL 79 CREDITS (55 Didactic/24 Clinical Credits [1,080 Clinical Hours]) 

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist Specialty (Five Year) Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits 
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 3 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NDNP 807: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care 2 Credits
NDNP 808: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care Practicum 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits
Total: 6 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credits
Total: 4 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NDNP 814: Practice Leadership within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems 3 Credits 
NDNP 817: Practice Leadership within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems Clinical Practicum 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits 
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits
NDNP 819: Advanced Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 820: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning 2 Credits 
NDNP 821: Diagnosis and Management 1: Intro to Diagnostic Reasoning Clinical 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 4 Credits
Summer Year 3
NPHY 620: Pathological Alterations in the Critically Ill 2 Credits
Total: 2 Credits
Fall Year 4
NDNP 822: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic 4 Credits
NDNP 823: Diagnosis and Management 2: Common Health Conditions, Episodic and Chronic Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 7 Credits
Spring Year 4
NDNP 824: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions 4 Credits
NDNP 825: Diagnosis and Management 3: Acute and Chronic Complex Conditions Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 7 Credits
Summer Year 4
NDNP 811: Scholarly Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 826: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems Complex Clinical Syndromes 2 Credits
NDNP 827: Diagnosis and Management 4: Integration of Multiple Health Problems Complex Clinical Syndromes: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 5
NDNP 812: Scholarly Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 891: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems 3 Credits
NDNP 828: Diagnosis and Management 5: Advanced Practice/Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Health Care Delivery Systems - Clinical 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 8 Credits
Spring Year 5
NDNP 813: Scholarly Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 829: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
Total: 6 Credits
TOTAL 79 CREDITS (55 Didactic/24 Clinical Credits [1,080 Clinical Hours]) 

Faculty

FAQs

Click here for general FAQs regarding the DNP.

How long does it take to complete the 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 acute, critical care, and emergency clinical experience is ideal, and completion of certification in the specialty area, e.g., Critical Care Registered Nurse or Certified Emergency Nurse, is strongly recommended. Completion of Advanced Cardiac Life Support will be required for all students prior to starting the first clinical diagnosis and management course. All students must maintain active RN licensure, CPR certification, HIPAA certification, and proof of current immunizations. Membership in a specialty organization, e.g., American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Emergency Nurses Association, or Society of Trauma Nurses, is also highly advantageous. An applicant’s involvement in professional activities and organizations is evidence of leadership capabilities and interests.

This program is designed to prepare students for practice as an Adult-Gerontologic Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) or as an Adult-Gerontologic Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (ACCNS-AG) with specialized expertise in the areas of acute care, trauma, critical care, or emergency nursing.

Is there anything else I can do to strengthen my application?

Many variables are taken into consideration when reviewing a student’s application for admission. A strong foundation in courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment is one key to success. 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. In addition, an applicant’s involvement in professional and organizational activities, as well as other scholarly activities, is evidence of leadership capabilities and interests. Current clinical experience is ideal and completion of certification in your specialty area is strongly recommended. We highly recommend that you spend several hours shadowing an advanced practice nurse in the specialty you wish to pursue.

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

The minimum number of practicum hours required for the DNP degree is 1,000 hours. For University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) graduates to be eligible for their respective board certification exams, they must complete the DNP degree. Refer to the plans of study for the number of clinical hours required each semester.

Do students have to find their own preceptor or clinical site? Can they do their clinical rotations where they work?

Students are not required to find their own preceptor or clinical site. The UMSON faculty is committed to assigning students to clinical sites that are appropriate for course and program objectives. We are fortunate to have contacts with many nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist alumni and other providers who serve as preceptors. UMSON has clinical contracts with agencies in a variety of settings across the state of Maryland and in Washington, D.C. Students with a particular clinical site/preceptor of interest may forward the contact information to the course faculty member so the faculty member can determine whether the site is appropriate to meet the course objectives. Faculty members must approve any student-suggested site. 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 acute care, critical care units, and emergency departments, and with hospitalist services and specialty teams such as acute stroke, transplant, and plastic reconstructive services.

Typically, students are not assigned to clinical rotations in the specific environments where they are employed due to a potential conflict of interest. Final approval of clinical site placement is at the faculty member’s discretion.

Where can graduates work? What is the job market like for graduates of this specialty?

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners and Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialists work in a variety of capacities within a hospital 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 advanced practice nurses from our program in the acute care setting continues to rise. Approximately 30-40 percent of our students find positions before graduating and the remainder secure positions within three to six months of graduating.

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 four or five days per week, depending on the semester. Part-time students, while taking clinical courses, will be in either class or clinical practicum approximately three to four days per week. Refer to the plans of study to view the number of didactic and clinical hours required during each semester. This specialty strongly supports student-centered learning and many of the courses are Web-enhanced. The aim of the specialty is to provide students with the materials and guidance needed for self-directed, autonomous learning. Course content will be available through the online site Blackboard. Students are responsible for keeping up with online coursework.

How can I get additional information?

For more information regarding admission to this specialty, please contact the UMSON Admissions Office at: 410-706-0501, option #2 or admissions@son.umaryland.edu.