What is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (AG-PCNP)?
Diagnosing, treating, and managing health concerns for adolescents and adults requires advanced training and education. Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners (AGNPs) focus on this area of healthcare, drawing upon a wide variety of skills and training in the course of their daily work.
An adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AG-PCNP) focuses on educating patients around maintaining healthy lifestyles, managing chronic illness, and preventing disease. He or she often conducts initial health assessments and makes recommendations on managing issues like diabetes.
An AG-PCNP also assesses how well treatment plans are working and keeps detailed notes on patient medical histories and the progression of conditions. They can refer patients to specialists and often collaborate with other health care providers to assist patients in navigating the health care system.
Other AG-PCNP Duties
AG-PCNPs may be responsible for:
- Going over patient health histories, symptoms, and diagnostics to aid in the development of treatment plans
- Educating patients about risks associated with any prescribed medications
- Showing patients how to self-manage their chronic illnesses
- Ordering and analyzing the results of diagnostics like x-rays, blood counts, and electrocardiograms
- Creating health promotion programs
- Coordinating the use of community resources
What Type of Degree is Required?
Prospective NPs must first obtain a Bachelor of Science degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam before working toward the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner role. Keep in mind that healthcare employers often require employees to have experience in the nursing field.
From there, students must earn a Master of Science degree from a school with an accredited AG-PCNP curriculum. That validation must come from either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Some graduates also pursue a doctoral or postgraduate degree. It is common for AGNPs to work up to 10 years as an RN before going back to school for more education and training to become an AG-PCNP.
What is the Standard Curriculum in an AG-PCNP Program?
The curriculum for many Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner programs typically includes the following core courses (the names may differ depending on the institution):
- Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
- Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics
- Professional Role Issues for Nurse Practitioners
- Advanced Physical Assessment and Clinical Decision Making
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care I and II
- Ethics and Public Policy in the Health Care System
Students may also choose to take additional courses relating to their area of interest.
Does an AG-PCNP Need Certification?
For many AG-PCNP positions, certification as a nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is mandatory.
The ANCC issues a specific certification for AG-PCNPs, the AGPCNP-BC, that comes with the following requirements:
- Applicants must hold an RN license issued from a U.S. state or territory. Those applying from outside of the U.S. must hold the legally-recognized professional equivalent from another country.
- Applicants must hold a master’s degree, postgraduate degree, or doctorate from an accredited adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner program. The program must require the applicant to perform a minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours.
- The applicant must have completed three separate graduate-level courses in the following areas:
- Advanced Physiology, Pathophysiology
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Advanced Pharmacology
They must also complete coursework in:
- Health Maintenance and/or Promotion
- Disease Diagnosis and Management
Applicants must make sure to mail/email the following verification documents:
- Transcripts related to their program
- A validation of education form signed by faculty at the school where they completed their master’s degree
The AGPCNP-BC is valid for five years and accepted in all 50 states.
Where do AG-PCNP’s Practice?
Completing an AG-PCNP program and becoming certified allows graduates to practice in a variety of settings, both rural and urban. That includes public clinics, private practices, specialty practices, and hospital-based outpatient clinics.
Other common settings include:
- Prison health wards
- Rehabilitation centers
- Ambulatory care centers
- VA facilities
- Home care organizations
- Schools or college campuses
- Emergency departments
- Palliative care facilities
What Type of Continuing Education is Required?
An AG-PCNP must renew their certification every five years. That allows governing bodies to verify there has been progression made by the certification holder in expanding their professional knowledge and that they have demonstrated enough competence to continue holding the certification.
The following is an outline of the categories in which applicants can complete needed requirements for their specialty as defined by the ANCC. Practitioners can combine professional development with 1,000 practice hours or retake the certification exam. They must also prove they hold a valid active and registered RN license.
- Continuing Education Hours — Renewal requires completion of 75-course hours in the certification specialty.
- Academic Credits — Completion of five-semester credits or 6 quarter credits of educational courses in an applicant’s certification specialty.
- Presentations — Applicants must complete at least one presentation lasting five hours in their certification specialty.
- One of the following:
- Evidence-based Practice/Quality Improvement Project — Applicants must have completed one EBP/QI project demonstrating a problem-solving approach.
- Publication — At least one article published in a peer-reviewed journal or chapter of a book; five separate articles published in non-peer-reviewed journals; be the primary author of content related to the applicant’s specialty, or the primary grant writer for a state, federal, or national organization project.
- Research — Conduct an Institutional Review Board (IRB) research project connected to the applicant’s specialty; complete a dissertation, thesis, or other doctoral project; provide services as a content reviewer on an IRB, thesis, dissertation, or doctoral project; serve as a content expert reviewer of any activities related to the applicant’s certification specialty.
- Preceptor Hours — Complete 120 hours as a preceptor, providing direct clinical supervision to APRN, physician assistant, medical, or pharmacy students in any academic program related to the applicant’s certification specialty. Applicants can also complete 120 hours of clinical supervision pertaining to their specialization in a fellowship, internship program, or residency at their same level of practice.
- Professional Service — Perform two or more years of volunteer service.
What is the Average Salary for an AG-PCNP?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not separate the salaries of AG-PCNP’s separately from other nurse practitioners. The wages for AGNP professionals vary depending on the level of experience. Those with less than a year of experience can make around $92,410 on average, while those with more than 20 years of experience can earn a median of $106,669. That does not include bonuses and other incentives employers might offer as part of a benefits package.