Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AG-ACNPs) are nurse practitioners who specialize in care for adults, particularly elderly adults. These professionals are considered advanced practice registered nurses (ARNPs) because of their lengthy educational background and extensive experience in preventive care.
AG-ACNPs treat patients for ongoing illnesses and injuries that are complex and serious, often affecting patients’ entire lives. They run diagnostic tests and use the information gathered from those tests to develop comprehensive treatment plans that improve their patients’ overall health.
These acute ailments are more common in older patients, which is why there is an emphasis on geriatric care. AG-ACNPs work around the clock and give their patients constant attention, ensuring that their conditions improve and that they are not left without supervision.
Students who want to pursue a career as an AG-ACNP have extensive education requirements they must complete and continue to fulfill throughout their careers. These include:
- Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
- Becoming a Licensed Registered Nurse (RN)
- Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Earning a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
- Becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
Nurses interested in becoming Acute Care Nurse Practitioners should enroll in an MSN program with an AG-ACNP concentration. These programs help student nurses develop the skills needed to succeed in the AG-ACNP role. These programs teach:
- How to care for geriatric and acute care patients
- How to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses
- How to apply research to patient solutions
In addition to being certified by their State Board of Nursing, AG-ACNPs must also earn a national certification from one of two organizations:
Practitioners must also complete continuing education units (CEUs), required by either the state they live in or by their employers, for as long as they stay employed as nursing professionals. CEUs are proof that AG-ACNPs are dialed into the latest breakthroughs in preventive care and are applying them in their solutions for their own patients.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for nurse practitioners like AG-ACNPs in 2016 was $107,460 a year. Nurses who work in hospitals (state, local and private) earned a median salary of $114,630 a year on the higher end. Nurses who work in educational services (state, local and private) earned a median salary of $98,760 a year on the lower end.
The BLS also reports that the employment of nurse practitioners is projected to grow by 31 percent from 2016 to 2026. The job growth is a result of an aging population in need of more healthcare services and preventive care.
AG-ACNPs work in many different settings, such as:
- Trauma units
- Subacute care units
- Emergency rooms
- Specialized clinics
- Cardiac care units
- Nursing schools
- Intensive care units
- Private practice
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