Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

AGACNP Intensivist Frequently Asked Questions


What is the benefit of completing the AG-ACNP Intensivist focus?

The AG-ACNP Intensivist subspecialty builds upon knowledge gained within the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program by providing didactic and clinical training focused on comprehensive care delivery to critically ill patients. Our graduates are prepared to practice as leading members of multidisciplinary critical care teams like those found in tertiary care centers. 


Is ICU nursing experience required?

No. While we believe that ICU nursing experience is helpful, it is not required. We recommend that potential applicants observe or “shadow” a physician or nurse practitioner intensivist to gain understanding of the AG-ACNP Intensivist role. 


Are non-RN students allowed to apply to the AGACNP Intensivist subspecialty?

Yes. Applications are welcomed from students who have completed the RN component year as well as from experienced RNs.


How many students do you accept into the AGACNP Intensivist subspecialty program each year?

The number of admissions into the AG-ACNP Intensivist subspecialty varies annually and is subject to change. In previous admission cycles, 8 to 12 students have been admitted into the focus area. During fall semester, faculty will call for the submission of new goal statements from all interested students, and final admission decisions will be made at that time. 


Is there a distance option in the AG-ACNP Intensivist subspecialty for individuals not residing in the Nashville area?

No. While some of the AG-ACNP core courses may be taken in a modified distance format, the AG-ACNP Intensivist focus clinical rotations and simulation training are completed on Vanderbilt campus during weekly sessions. Students who wish to participate in the AG-ACNP Intensivist focus will need to live in or near the Nashville area during their clinical and simulation training courses. 


If I am currently a distance student and I can relocate to Nashville, can I still apply to the AG-ACNP intensivist focus?

Yes. Distance students accepted to the AG-ACNP intensivist focus generally complete the fall semester at a distance, and later relocate to the Nashville area prior to the start of spring semester clinical rotations.

It is important to emphasize that there are limited spots in the intensivist focus each year, and the application process is competitive. If you are not selected, you have the option of remaining in your current city and working with program faculty and clinical placement office to set up an acute/critical care clinical rotation near your home. Program faculty strongly advise you to have a backup plan for clinical placements in the event you are not selected for the intensivist focus. If you wait until after you have learned if you will be one of the 12 students accepted into the intensivist focus, it may be too late to begin the contracting process in your home community. So, please plan to identify a potential preceptor and hospital near your area in addition to applying to the intensivist focus. If selected, a clinical placement slot will be reserved for you at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. If not selected, you’ll have a clinical placement option in place and can still start clinical rotations on time during the spring semester.


If I am a distance student and I cannot move to Nashville, are there any options for me?

Yes. Distance students who cannot relocate to Nashville and cannot participate in the Intensivist subspecialty can arrange to have a critical care clinical experience in their home area. Distance students can also take the Intensivist elective, which is a 3-credit hour didactic course. However, you would not be a part of the Intensivist subspecialty, and would not participate in the Intensivist focus simulation experiences or complete any ICU clinical rotations within Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 


What is the curriculum plan?

The curriculum plan can be found here.


What are the clinical requirements for this program?

This curriculum requires 630 clinical hours. Seventy of the hours are in the fall, 210 hours are in the spring, and 350 hours are in the summer semester.


Where will I complete my clinical hours?

You will complete your clinical hour requirements within the various Intensive Care Units at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, such as the cardiovascular, neurology/neurosurgery, medical, burn, surgical and trauma ICUs.  


Where will I complete my simulation hours?

Advanced critical care simulation experiences are held through the Simulation Technologies Program of the Center for Experiential Learning & Assessment (CELA) at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 


Can I complete the Intensivist subspecialty part-time?

Yes, there are part-time options available (part-time curriculum plans). 


Can I work full-time and go to school full-time?

We strongly recommend that students do not attempt full-time school and full-time work. The few students who have successfully completed full-time school and work used flex time or accrued compensatory time to continue to work full-time. Some have used a Baylor plan (weekend shifts).  

If I have a MSN degree, is there a post-master’s option?

Yes. There is a post-master’s certificate in the AG-ACNP specialty available to students who already possess an Advanced Nursing degree.


Will I be able to get a job upon graduation?

With the increase in patient acuity in intensive care units, AG-ACNPs are partnering with critical care physicians to provide state-of-the-art patient care. As an AG-ACNP Intensivist Nurse Practitioner, you will be prepared to practice as a leading member of multidisciplinary teams that provide care to critically ill patient populations in settings such as cardiovascular, neurology, trauma, surgical, medical and burn ICUs.