Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a nurse to enter the AGACNP program?

No, non-nurses may enter the AGACNP program after completing the first year of study within the bridge program.

Do I have to have experience as an RN, if I have either my ADN or BSN?

No, new graduates from either an associate’s degree program or a bachelor of science in nursing program are welcome to enter the program. However, applicants must have at least 2 years of RN experience prior to starting the program to be eligible for the distance format. Applicants with less than 2 years of RN experience must complete the entire program of studies in Nashville.

Can the AGACNP program be taken part-time?

Yes, the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program can be taken part-time, however because most courses are offered only once a year, the semester hours are not evenly split. All clinical courses, N305B, N342 and N343 are during the second year of a part-time program of study. Below is the current program of student for the AGACNP program:

Year 1
Fall Spring Summer
N306A (4 credits)
N307C (3 credits)
Elective (3 credits)
(or take in summer)


Elective (3 credits)
(or take in spring)

Year 2
Fall Spring Summer
N305F (3 credits)
N305B (1 credit)
N340A (3 credits)
N340B (3 credits)
N342 (4 credits)
N340C (3 credits)
N343 (4 credits)

Can the AGACNP program be done in a distance format?

Yes, if you are an RN with two years of current clinical experience and have either completed the RN pre-specialty curriculum or are BSN graduate,  you can take the AGACNP in a distance format.

What is the distance format?

The distance format means that students do a portion of their course work in an asynchronous format, and a portion of their work in a block format here on campus.


The asynchronous format applies to the following specialty courses: N306a (Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, N307C (Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics) , N340A, B, C (Pathophysiology and Collaborative Management in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, I, II and III). Those courses are taped, and available on the Vanderbilt School of Nursing Server. N340A, B and C also have a web conferencing component in order to help the students integrate and apply the course material to case studies.


The block format courses are N399A, N399B, N395. The block courses meet initially on campus, then seminar and discussions occur on Blackboard, or in the case of N302, N303 and N304, they are offered over a four day period during one week in May.


Assignments and conferencing for the distance format courses is done either on the web or via assignments emailed to faculty. The clinical courses, N305B, N342 and N343 are done off campus, with preceptors that have been pre-arranged. Students are asked to help identify appropriate preceptors.

If I choose to take classes on campus, what will my schedule be like?

Classes that are offered on campus vary semester by semester, but basically they are offered Monday thru Friday during the day. Electives may be offered in the late afternoons depending upon the course.

What are the clinical requirements for the AGACNP program?

The AG-ACNP curriculum has 630 clinical clock hours. 70 clinical hours are for the Fall, and both the Spring and Summer semesters have 280 hours each.

Can I subspecialize in the AGACNP program?

Yes, there are a number of wonderful and exciting subspecialties that one can focus on in the AGACNP. These include cardiology, cardiac surgery, intensivist, diabetes and endocrine disorders, emergency care, nephrology, pulmonology, oncology, orthopedics, sports medicine and trauma. Many of the subspecialties have electives that accompany them. If you choose to subspecialize, one of your clinicals in either the spring or summer will be in that focus area. All subspecializations must be cleared with the Program Director in order to determine its appropriateness for the AGACNP program, and preceptor availability.

Do I have to select a subspecialty?

No, if you wish you may have general, broad focus AGACNP clinicals, and not have to subspecialize.


What will my credentials and certifications be?

Graduation from the Vanderbilt MSN program prepares you for licensure and approval to practice as a registered nurse in every state.  You will also be able to site for examination for the applicable certification and eligible for prescriptive authority consistent with state law.  Visit Credentialing and Certification (link) for more specific information

More questions?

Contact: Admissions or Director Joan King.