Have you ever wanted to improve health outcomes for patients with acute and chronic conditions? If so, consider pursuing a career as an adult-gerontology critical care nurse practitioner (AGACNP). These professionals are responsible for providing patients with a spectrum of care, from disease prevention to treatment for acute conditions.
You will provide complex monitoring and create comprehensive treatment plans for adult and gerontology patients. Moreover, you will also educate the patient and family members about medical conditions and courses of action and keep records regarding the patient’s history, illness, treatment, and progress. However, it is worth noting that the role extends beyond clinical practice to include research, teaching, and administrative components.
Therefore, becoming an AGACNP means beginning a career trajectory toward higher pay, several new opportunities, and greater responsibilities. Recent data shows that an AGACNP earns an average of $105,405 annually, within the range of $99,402 to $112,985, depending on academic background, additional skills, experience, and certifications. However, before assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients, you must learn to order and interpret lab and diagnostic tests, perform procedures and coordinate care.
Like other nursing specialties, an AGACNP course concentrates on population health and epidemiology, so you must expect more proctored evaluations than ordinary ones. However, its curriculum will always differ depending on the academic institution. Top online AGACNP programs from established educational institutions such as Rockhurst University Online typically offer four core courses in addition to multiple electives and require students to fulfill a specific clinical hour requirement before completing their studies.
These core courses cover research and theoretical considerations of advanced nursing practice and professional and economic issues associated with today’s healthcare environment. The specialty-specific courses tackle the fundamental and advanced principles and practices of family practice and highlight pharmacology, physical assessment, and pathophysiology. Below are lessons you will tackle while working toward an AGACNP degree and finding fulfillment in your nursing career.
Advanced Physiology and Pathology
This course will incorporate advanced pathophysiology with physiology and clinical implications throughout the lifespan of advanced nursing practice. During this course, you will gain an in-depth understanding of essential pathophysiological concepts related to the AGACNP practice. This lets you understand a disease’s various phases and manifestations and determine the proper treatment course.
AGACNPs’ responsibilities go beyond identifying an illness or injury. They must also classify its stage to determine treatment. For instance, a patient suffering from COVID-19 can experience coughing, sore throat, and body aches. Nurses with a comprehensive understanding of pathophysiology can consistently identify a patient’s needs and deliver positive patient outcomes.
AGACNPs will tackle advanced clinical pharmacology and therapeutic concepts to manage various conditions and disease states effectively. Being an AGACNP entails providing preventive care services and treating acute and persistent diseases. This means that you will likely find yourself prescribing medications to patients. Advanced pharmacology gives nurses additional skills exceeding what they received in their primary nursing education.
As a result, they can recommend and assess pharmacotherapy for patients throughout their lives while helping them assess different pharmacotherapeutic regimens in various disease states. AGACNPs often find themselves encountering multiple pathogens when treating patients. So, they must understand which antibiotics treat which pathogens. If the wrong medication is being taken, a patient with an illness might not experience any improvement, resulting in their condition worsening.
A strong background in pharmacology empowers AGACNPs to adhere to the safe and proper administration of numerous medications, otherwise known as the six rights of medication administration. Although you won’t be required to know every specific prescription off the top of your head, success in the AGACNP sector depends on having a fundamental awareness of the class of medications, the general taxonomy, and knowing where to search for information.
Advanced Diagnoses for APN Practice
While taking this course, aspiring AGACNPs will develop the critical thinking required to achieve advanced practice nursing core competencies. Depending on your chosen academic institution, you will dig deep into complex topics such as risk reduction, disease prevention, and health promotion while considering the context for populations, including families, individuals, and marginalized communities. This lets you understand your patient’s unique medical requirements and deliver more personalized patient care.
This is especially critical nowadays, considering the aging baby boomer population. AGACNPs are expected to be vital in treating the rising number of adult patients with complex issues related to age and chronic conditions. This course empowers AGACNPs to deliver treatments grounded in theory and evidence while ensuring that interventions follow current adult care standards.
What are clinical experiences in AGACNP like?
Clinical experiences are the brass tacks of AGACNP. Through clinical experiences, you can open yourself to situations and experiences within various real-world settings. Depending on your chosen university, AGACNP students undergo multiple clinical placements to ensure they can implement theory and transfer what they learned in class to a clinical environment.
While working toward your first clinical practicum, you will use evidence-based practice to evaluate and manage acute and chronic illnesses in the clinical setting. This includes demonstrating your knowledge of pharmacologic and pathophysiology interventions according to the existing care standards in critical care clinical settings.
Once you’ve done that, you will build upon your proficiency in comprehensive health evaluation by incorporating critical thinking and psychomotor skills to manage the care and diseases of the adult population. This allows you to integrate content and clinical experiences from previous acute care didactic courses and internship experiences to provide risk reduction, assessment, diagnosis, and management of common and comorbid healthcare issues.
With clinical placements, you will work with more experienced AGACNPs and learn the professional dynamics of the niche. These more experienced professionals can also help in your job search. They can provide specific opinions, identify how you are evolving as a practitioner, and explain how your education has prepared you for the real world.
Nursing care can change patients’ lives for the better. Through advanced education and dedication, AGACNPs can offer quality care to older people at the most reasonable time and help them overcome challenging illnesses.