Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

Frequently Asked Questions

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

No.  You can enter this program as an ASN, BSN, MSN or if you have a bachelor’s or higher degree in a field other than nursing.  If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field other than nursing, you can complete a one year full-time baccalaureate equivalent program, progress to and then progress to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty. If you have an ASN, you can complete a two semester RN to MSN program of study and then progress to the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty. If you have a BSN, you enter directly into the specialty course work. All students, regardless of entry type, graduate with a MSN.

Do I need RN work experience?

No.  You can enter the program without RN experience. 

Can I do the modified distance learning format for this specialty?

If you are an ADN or BSN graduate with at least two years of RN experiences, you are eligible for the modified distance learning format and do not need to give up employment or relocate to Nashville.  If you are an ADN or BSN graduate without at least two years of experience, you must complete the entire program of studies within daily commuting distance of Nashville

Can I take this program part-time?

Yes, however you are required to follow a pre-determined program of studies.  Since most courses are offered only once a year, the semester hours are not evenly split. All clinical courses are taught during the second year of a part-time program of study.

What is the modified distance learning format?

This means that you will do a portion of your course work in an online, asynchronous format via taped lectures and web conferencing to integrate the material.  A portion of your work requires on-campus learning, followed by seminar and online discussions. For a sample modified block education format, click here (link).

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

Classes that are offered on campus vary by semester.  They are typically offered Monday through Friday during daytime hours. 

What are the clinical requirements for this program?

This curriculum includes 630 clinical clock hours – Fall (70 hours), Spring (280 hours), Summer (280 hours).


How do you match me with a clinical preceptor?

We view clinical placements as a required and integral part of your education.  Faculty work diligently to match you with appropriate preceptors so you can learn from clinical mentors and start applying your new skills and knowledge. We make every reasonable effort to accommodate a student’s placement request.

Can I subspecialize?

Yes.  You need to get program director approval to determine its appropriateness for this program and to ensure preceptor availability. There are a number of subspecialties including 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 and are completed as part of the 39 semester hours of specialty courses.  If you choose to subspecialize, one of your clinical experiences in either the spring or summer will be in that focus area.

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 this MSN specialty program prepares you to take the national certification exams, offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses/.  Passage of the exams is required in most states to obtain a license as an advanced practice nurse.


What is the VUSN student pass rate on the exams?

You will be well prepared for the certification exams as our students consistently score well above national averages on these exams. For specific information, visit


Will I be able to get a job upon graduation?

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners are in high-demand throughout the country. Graduates often work in settings such as cardiology, surgery, oncology, trauma, orthopedics, emergency or hospitalist service.  Many health systems and physician groups increasing depend on Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners as key players on the health care team.

More questions?

Contact: Admissions or Director Joan King.