Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)

Program Information

Joan King

Meet the Program Director

Joan E. King, PhD, RN, ANP, AG-ACNP
Dr. Joan King is a certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who assisted in writing the first national certification exam. She practices at the Preanesthesia Evaluation Clinic at Vanderbilt Medical Center and has played a primary role in the development of Vanderbilt’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty program.


Her research includes smoking cessation, treatment of adult diabetic ketoacidosis and the correlation of urine, blood and rectal temperatures in critically ill patients. Results of these studies have been published in such journals as American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Western Journal of Nursing Research and Journal of Applied Social Psychology.


AG-ACNP Areas of Specialization

Vanderbilt School of Nursing offers AG-ACNP students specialization in:

  • Cardiology, including hypertension, heart failure and myocardial infarctions
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Nephrology, including end stage renal disease
  • Pulmonology, including COPD, Acute Respiratory
    Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Neurosurgery, Neurology, including CVAs
  • Oncology, including hematological and solid organ tumors
  • Critical Care, including SICU, MICU and CCU
  • Endocrinology, including diabetes
  • Transplantation, including heart, liver, lung, renal and
    bone marrow transplant
  • Trauma
  • ER
  • Rehabilitation

Modified Class Schedule for RN Students

The AG-ACNP specialty program is one of several specialties that are offered in a modified learning (block) format which includes (1) courses offered in concentrated blocks of time on campus, including weekends, up to four times per semester, (2) on-line conferencing and (3) distributed learning methods that allow for continued faculty contact between sessions.

This block format is available to students with at least two years of current clinical experience as an RN (ADN/Diploma, RN, BSN, or MSN).


The modified learning format allows RN students to attend graduate school without having to relocate or give up their employment while they are at Vanderbilt. Students with a minimum of two years of current experience as an RN may choose to attend weekly lectures on-campus or to access these lectures from a remote site through:

  • Live video-streamed lectures broadcast over the Vanderbilt School of Nursing website at the specified class time,
  • Archived video-streamed lectures available for one week after the live lecture.

In addition, students are required to attend courses in concentrated blocks of time on campus, approximately three times per semester over an extended weekend of approximately three days. Clinical practicum placement is arranged in the student’s home area provided a suitable agency and preceptor are available. Due to State Boards of Nursing and/or State Higher Educational rules, the School may not be able to provide clinical placements in your location of choice, but every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate your placement request.

Dual-Focus Program Expands Scope of Practice Emergency Nurse Practitioner (FNP/AG-ACNP)

Vanderbilt School of Nursing also offers a dual-focus program that prepares you for dual certification as an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and a Family Nurse Practitioner with an Emergency Care focus. If you choose the Emergency Nurse Practitioner (FNP/AG-ACNP) program, you will care for pediatric and adult patients and treat varying levels of acuity in emergency care settings. This innovative program combines on-campus and distributed learning to prepare you for dual certification and help resolve scope of practice issues in the ED.