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Where Do Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners Work?

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Dec 22, 2023
A Smiling Ag Acnp Holding a Tablet Consults With an Older Adult Patient.

Where Do Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners Work?

Population age is one of the main factors that determine what health care resources the U.S. needs. According to research conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 95% of people aged 60 or older have at least one chronic condition; 80% have two or more.

Some of the most common conditions affecting older populations include Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and hypertension. In addition to being more challenging to treat, chronic illnesses are a primary component of higher health care costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that chronic diseases account for the majority of the nation’s $4.1 trillion in health care costs.

Compounding the issue is that older populations are growing at a record rate. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 16.8% of the overall population was aged 65 and over in 2020; in 1920, that demographic represented just 4.7% of the population. This means that chronic conditions experienced in older populations are more prevalent than ever.

To meet this increasing demand, skilled medical professionals, such as adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners (AG-ACNPs), will play an essential part in the medical landscape. To care for these vulnerable populations, AG-ACNPs must have the specialized clinical training and knowledge that an AG-ACNP certificate program offers.

What Does an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Do?

An adult gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) is a type of nurse practitioner who works exclusively with older populations. AGNPs are further divided into two categories: acute care and primary care. Adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioners (AG-PCNPs) focus on preventing illnesses through health care management. AG-ACNPs, on the other hand, focus on diagnosing and stabilizing patients, and delivering palliative care.

AG-ACNPs typically work in hospital inpatient units, outpatient clinics, private practices, community centers, and other health care environments where older populations require acute care. Although responsibilities may vary slightly depending on the care environment, AG-ACNPs typically perform the following duties:

  • Updating patient medical records
  • Providing treatments that address acute health care issues
  • Developing treatment plans to mitigate future health care challenges
  • Ordering and performing diagnostic tests and evaluating the results
  • Prescribing medications and monitoring their effects
  • Educating patients and their families about health care management
  • Collaborating with other health care professionals to deliver comprehensive treatment
  • Referring patients to specialists when necessary

For clarity, it’s important to note that both varieties of adult gerontology nurse practitioner differ from hospice nurses. Although hospice nurses also typically work with older populations, they exclusively work with terminally ill patients in end-of-life care.

How to Become an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

The path to becoming an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner requires advanced education and experience beyond a traditional nursing license. To become an AG-ACNP, nursing professionals must complete the following steps:

  1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
  2. Earn registered nurse (RN) licensure by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
  3. Earn on-the-job nursing experience.
  4. Earn an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
  5. Undertake adult-gerontology specialty training via an internship, a certificate, or a fellowship.
  6. Earn AsGNP certification through an industry-recognized accrediting body.

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary and Job Outlook

Considering the statistics surrounding older patient populations, it’s no surprise that AG-ACNPs are in increasing demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions for nurse practitioners overall are projected to increase by 45%, much faster than the growth rate for all occupations.

Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners also make competitive salaries. Payscale reports that AG-ACNPs made a median annual salary of approximately $96,060 as of September 2023, with those in the top 25% making more than $113,000. Factors such as education level, experience, region, and hiring facility can all influence the salary.

Provide Essential Care for Older Adults

With the nation’s patient population growing older and increasingly in need of specialized health care, experienced nurse practitioners will play a vital role in ensuring that they get the care they need. Adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioners will be crucial to the future of the health care landscape. Their specialized training and education in adult gerontology care ensure that older patients have access to the medical resources they need.

Those who are interested in a career as an AG-ACNP should explore their educational options. At The University of Tulsa, nurses who already have an MSN or a DNP can earn an AG-ACNP certificate in as little as three 16-week semesters. This accelerated learning path enables current health care professionals to earn the credentials they need to specialize in adult gerontology quickly and affordably.

Graduates of the program can look forward to over 600 hours of experience delivering hands-on acute patient care, professional assistance with clinical placement, and coursework that counts toward the APRN continuing education requirements at both state and national levels.

Earning an AG-ACNP certification also allows graduates to pivot to other work environments and industries, including home health services, outpatient care centers, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and general medical and surgical hospitals.

Learn more about TU’s AG-ACNP certification program to find out how it can support your professional goals of working in adult gerontology.

Recommended Readings

A Nurse Educator’s Role in the Future of Nursing

How to Become an APRN

The Most Important Leadership Skills for Nurses


American Association of Nurse Practitioners, “Are You Considering a Career as an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner?”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, About Chronic Diseases

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases

Indeed, What Is an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner?

National Council on Aging, The Top 10 Most Common Chronic Conditions in Older Adults

Payscale, Average Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 Census: 1 in 6 People in the United States Were 65 and Over

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