The mission of the University of Iowa Adult/Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program (AG-ACNP) is to educate nurses, through didactic instruction and clinical experiences, to enable them to successfully manage complex acute, critical and chronic health problems in adults and older adults. The AG-ACNP role emphasizes care of those who are physiologically unstable, technologically dependent, require frequent monitoring and intervention, and are highly vulnerable for complications. Graduates meet nationally vetted competencies which prepare them to work in a variety of settings where patients with these needs are found. University of Iowa DNP-AG-ACNP graduates are eligible to sit for certification examinations offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Our goal is to prepare clinical leaders within the profession and U.S. health care system.

Program Design

The College of Nursing offers several AG-ACNP options, including three pathways to a clinical doctorate as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and two Post Graduate Certificates (PGC).

The post BSN to DNP program focuses on educating students in the DNP and AG-ACNP population competencies. Students can choose a 3 or 4 year plan of study.

A 2-year post MSN to DNP program for APRNs is offered for those who have completed a master’s degree and obtained AG-ACNP certification and would like to obtain a clinical doctorate.  The College offers a curriculum which allows students to master DNP competencies not attained during their prior master’s education.

A 2- or 3- year post MSN without APRN preparation to DNP program includes preparation for certification as a AG-ACNP as well as receiving the DNP. The College offers a curriculum which allows students to master DNP as well as AG-ACNP population competencies not attained during their prior master’s education.

A Post Graduate Certificate of up to fourteen months (4 semesters) for MSN prepared primary care certified nurse practitioners (NPs) who would like to meet AG-ACNP competencies and meet eligibility requirements for certification as an AG-ACNP. A Gap Analysis which examines prior MSN course work and NP competencies may allow a student to complete this program in eleven months (3 semesters).

Benefits of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The American Association of College of Nursing has recommended the DNP as the graduate degree of choice for advanced practice nurses. The University of Iowa College of Nursing was one of the first in the nation to receive approval for the DNP from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2009.

In a landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine recommended that “Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training; and be full partners in redesigning health care in the United States.” The DNP degree will allow AG-ACNPs to be full partners in the developing health care system of the future and to provide the high quality, cost-efficient care for which nurse practitioners (NPs) are known.