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Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

The AG-ACNP is a registered nurse who has completed an accredited graduate-level educational program that prepares him/her as a nurse practitioner with supervised clinical practice to acquire advanced knowledge, skills, and abilities. The purpose of the AG-ACNP is to provide advanced nursing care to across the continuum of health care services to meet the specialized physiologic and psychological needs of adult/gerontology patients with acute, critical, and/or complex chronic health conditions.

The focus of the AG-ACNP is the provision of restorative, curative, rehabilitative, palliative, and/or supportive end-of-life care as determined by patient needs. Goals include patient stabilization for acute and life-threatening conditions, minimizing or preventing complications, attending to co-morbidities, and promoting physical and psychologic well-being. Additional goals include the restoration of maximum health potential or providing for palliative, supportive, and end-of-life care, as well as an evaluation of risk factors in achieving these outcomes. The practice environment of the AG-ACNP includes any setting in which adult/gerontology patients experiencing acute, chronic, and/or complex chronic illnesses may be found.

Within the UNM College of Nursing structure, the AG-ACNP concentration is an intensive program in which the student is expected to complete the coursework and clinical experiences in six (6) terms. Financial aid is generally available. Applicants are encouraged to explore financial aid options and apply for financial assistance prior to admission to the program.

The student is eligible to take the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certifying examination upon successful completion of the program.


At the completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:

  • Provide full scope care utilizing both independent and collaborative approaches, to the adult/gerontology population including management of acute, critical, and/or complex chronic health problems, health promotion, disease prevention, and support for transitional and end of life needs.
  • Integrate ethical principles in decision-making and evaluation of care related to the adult/gerontology population with acute, critical, and/or complex chronic health problems.
  • Coordinate health care through interdisciplinary collaboration with members of the health care team.
  • Empower and motivate the adult/gerontology population and families to be full participants in their own health care.
  • Advocate for systems and policies that reduce health disparities, facilitate access to care, and address cultural diversity and rural populations.
  • Assume professional responsibility for maintaining and advancing clinical practice competencies.
  • Participate in quality assurance and evaluation of health care delivery.
  • Use and articulate evidence-based research as the basis for practice.
  • Contribute to existing knowledge through participation in research.

Admission Requirements

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree (e.g., B.S.N.) from an accredited college or university, with an upper-division major in nursing. (Graduates from non-accredited programs [N.L.N. or C.C.N.E.] and RN’s with baccalaureate degree in non-nursing fields are considered on an individual basis.)
  • Minimum of 1 - 2 years experience working in an inpatient setting for AG-ACNP
  • Have a minimum grade point average for baccalaureate work of B (3.0) or better.
  • Be registered in or eligible for nursing licensure in New Mexico with a New Mexico R.N. license obtained within the first term enrolled.
  • Complete of the online application. The online application can be accessed by clicking on the link. Letters of recommendation, letter of intent, and a professional resume are required as part of the application process. See the online application guidelines for further information.
  • An interview is required as part of the admissions process.
  • ACLS certification is required before beginning clinical coursework.
  • Students who seek admission with existing graduate degrees in Nursing (Master's or Doctorate) will be able to pursue the ACNP curriculum as a Post Master's certificate. However, their applications are considered along with all other applications.



Frequently Asked Questions

What does an AG-ACNP do?

The adult/gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) is educationally prepared to provide advanced nursing care to patients with complex acute, critical and chronic health conditions, including the delivery of acute care services, The role of the AG-ACNP is to provide advanced nursing care across the continuum of health care services to meet the specialized physiologic and psychologic needs of patients with complex acute, critical, and chronic health conditions. This care is continuous and comprehensive.

The population in acute care practice includes acutely and critically ill adult and geriatric patients experiencing episodic illness, exacerbation of chronic illness, or terminal illness. The AG-ACNP practices in any setting in which patient care requirements include complex monitoring and therapies, high-intensity nursing intervention, or continuous nursing vigilance within the range of high-acuity care. While most AG-ACNPs practice in acute care and hospital based settings including sub-acute care, emergency care, and intensive care settings, the continuum of acute care services spans the geographic settings of home, ambulatory care, urgent care, and rehabilitative care." (Source: American Academy of Colleges of Nursing – AG-ACNP Competencies)

Are there jobs for AG-ACNPs in NM?


Can I do the program part-time?

The program is designed for full-time commitment of the student.  Students take the core and clinical core courses two or three courses per term. Once you start with the AG-ACNP courses, arranged clinical experiences are time-intensive and geared to the needs of the clinical agencies, and there is little flexibility. Application of knowledge in clinical settings requires coordination between classroom learning and clinical time.

If I am an FNP or CNS, how can I become an AG-ACNP?

On review of your transcripts from your master’s program, it will be determined if any graduate core courses need to be completed. To be eligible for the national certification examination, you must complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours in the acute care setting.

What does malpractice insurance for AG-ACNPs cost?

Malpractice rates vary with the issuing companies. On graduation, AG-ACNPs typically pay approximately $1200 per year.

Do AG-ACNPs function independently?

The scope of practice in New Mexico is very supportive for nurse practitioners and allows them to function independently. This is not true in all states. If you are planning to practice in a state other than New Mexico, you must become familiar with that particular state’s scope of practice, which can be obtained from the state Board of Nursing.

Is this concentration offered online?

The courses are designed as either online or hybrid (online & face-to-face) course.  Clinical courses take place in a supervised clinical setting to provide the student with the experience necessary for the AG-ACNP role.

Can I do my clinical experiences in my home town?

Yes, if appropriate clinical sites and preceptors can be arranged. Clinical experiences have been arranged at various sites around the state. 

If I have a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, how can I become an AG-ACNP?

Students with an MSN will have already completed the core courses. They will be responsible for taking the remaining Master’s clinical core courses and the AG-ACNP courses and completing the clinical requirements. They must have taken advanced pathophysiology and graduate pharmacology within the past 5 years. Faculty will review any advanced health assessment courses on a case-by-case basis.