DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

The DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option prepares graduates to function as doctorally prepared nurses at the highest level of clinical practice, to translate knowledge into practice, to apply policy, as well as design, implement and evaluate innovations to improve health care systems and patient centered outcomes. 

This option prepares registered nurses as advanced practice leaders and inter-professional team members providing care for acute and critically ill patients and their families. Acute care NPs attend to adolescents and adults across the continuum of care, including in urgent care centers, critical care units, and inpatient medical-surgical or specialty units. Acute care offers a high-intensity environment that requires the fast-paced critical thinking skills you will develop in this program.

Clinical placements will be arranged by the program director and will take place in Northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C. At this time, this program option is only available to applicants who are able to do their clinical rotations in those areas.


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  • Assess complex acute, critical, and chronically ill patients using physical examination findings, interviewing techniques, diagnostic tests, and technology to determine their current status of physiologic stability and risk for life-threatening conditions
  • Utilize critical thinking and diagnostic reasoning to identify and prioritize patient problems and diagnoses.
  • Formulate and implement an individualized plan of care for each patient taking into consideration best practices, guidelines, research findings, patient and family preferences, and cultural considerations.
  • Function as an integral member of inter-professional health care teams
  • Evaluate the quality of care provided to individual patients and larger groups within varying health care settings (individual practices, urgent care centers, hospitals, health care systems)

Who Should Apply

If you’re already working as a nurse and are interested in achieving the highest level of nursing practice you should consider our DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program.


Application Deadlines

Fall 2024

Application Open: 10/03/23

Priority: 12/01/23  

Release Date: Rolling

Final: 07/01/24
Release Date: Rolling


The DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program is a practice doctorate program designed to prepare advanced practice nurses and nurse leaders as practice scholars to improve patient outcomes, systems change, and translate evidence into practice to improve safety and quality. The DNP graduate is prepared to apply evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems thinking to transform health care systems and improve patient care. Graduates are also prepared to lead inter-professional collaborative teams to shape policy, health care systems, and clinical and patient care innovations. The Post-BSN DNP graduates are further prepared as adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners to deliver and manage health care, health education, and health promotion to clients and families across the lifespan.

The DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner option consists of 72 credit hours and a minimum of 1000 direct and indirect clinical hours. Questions about program requirements should be directed to the program director, Linda Briggs or Associate Dean of DNP Program, Mercedes Echevarria.

Program of Study


For full listing of courses and descriptions, please visit the University Bulletin.

New Student Orientation

This mandatory virtual orientation, held in the summer, gives you the opportunity to connect with your faculty and fellow students, consult with advisers and prepare for your program.

On-Campus Requirements

Campus Learning and Skills Intensive (CLASI)

You will come to campus during the week following your completion of NURS 6222: Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning to participate in CLASI, which prepares you for your clinical practicum experiences.

Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)

While enrolled in NURS 6235, NURS 6236 and NURS 6237, you are required to come to campus to attend a series of simulation-based learning events designed to augment the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner curriculum. During these events, faculty have an opportunity to objectively evaluate student clinical skills in history-taking, physical examination, critical thinking, diagnostic reasoning, formulation of differential diagnoses, patient management and interpersonal communication while working with a high-fidelity simulator, faculty, and simulation center personnel. Students will receive one-on-one coaching from course faculty in preparation for program completion.

DNP Project Presentation

During the last semester, students will present their work in an open forum to their faculty and peers.

Technology Requirements

Each student admitted to the DNP program is expected to own and have ready access to a laptop or tablet with basic productivity software for classroom use. View Policy.

Complete applications that are submitted by the priority deadline will be reviewed first. Applications do not have to be verified by the priority deadline, only completed and submitted. Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at [email protected]

A completed application includes the following components:

  • Minimum of bachelor's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Preferred scholastic GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts (from all post-secondary schools)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume
  • Statement of Purpose describing your career goals relative to the doctoral study. You should include a general idea for your DNP project. Your vision for your post-DNP contributions to advance the nursing profession through scholarship and evidence-based practice must be emphasized in the statement Also, briefly describe your professional nursing practice and indicate any current or previous leadership roles. The applicants with a clear idea of a potential DNP project and the ability of the project to enhance/improve/contribute to nursing practice will be given preference for admission. 
  • Active and unencumbered RN license from a U.S. state or territory


  1. GW Nursing is subject to state authorization requirements in order to offer an approved nursing curriculum. View available states.

  2. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner requires students to be residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner options require at least one year experience in critical care setting.

At the conclusion of this DNP program, you will be able to:

  1. Integrate findings from the sciences that provide the foundation for nursing practice.

  2. Apply leadership and systems thinking to ensure accountability for the quality of health, health care and patient safety for populations through the application of ethical, organizational, political and economic sciences.

  3. Synthesize, translate, implement, evaluate and disseminate research findings and best evidence into advanced nursing practice.

  4. Critically appraise information systems, data analytics and technology to evaluate and monitor patient and population outcomes and care systems to improve the quality and safety of health care.

  5. Formulate and evaluate health care policy to advocate for accessible, equitable and ethical healthcare for patients and populations.

  6. Convene and lead interprofessional teams that communicate and collaborate effectively to enhance patient and/or population health outcomes and health care delivery models. 

  7. Design initiatives to prevent disease and promote the health of diverse populations.

  8. Provide leadership in advanced nursing practice by incorporating evidence-based guidelines, and innovative care models to influence individual population and organizational outcomes.

All DNP students are expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours as part of an academic program. You must record a minimum of 600 hours of clinical experience with an approved preceptor. We provide coursework within the program for the remaining 500 hours.

You must record a minimum of 600 hours of clinical experience with an approved preceptor. You are encouraged to find your own preceptor, but we can provide information on local clinical sites if needed. 
The following clinical courses are required:
  • NURS 6235 (120 clinical hours) – Hospital General Internal Medicine, Intermediate Care Units
  • NURS 6236 (240 clinical hours) – Critical Care Settings (ICU, ED)
  • NURS 6237 (240 clinical hours) – Critical Care, Long-term Care (Rehab, Hospice, Geriatric ED)

Questions about clinical placement requirements should be directed to [email protected].


Frequently Asked Questions