The questions below relate directly to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist DNP specialty. You may also want to refer to our 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 with active engagement in unit level quality improvement initiatives in the hospital is highly recommended, along with completion of national certification in the specialty area e.g., Critical Care Registered Nurse or Certified Emergency Nurse. 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. Active 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.