Program accreditation
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

The VCU School of Nursing adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner concentration prepares graduates for advanced practice registered nurse roles by developing the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose and manage common acute and chronic health problems in adults, ranging from adolescents to the elderly. Students learn to manage patients through comprehensive physical and psychosocial assessments, use of decision-making/diagnostic reasoning processes, performance of advanced practice skills and procedures, and implementation of evidence-based treatment strategies, including health promotion and disease prevention.

The AGPCNP has a practice located in a variety of primary care settings, including college health services, health maintenance organizations, community clinics, long-term care, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities, occupational health settings and private practices.

Graduates of the AGPCNP concentration are eligible to apply for certification as an AGACNP by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Program goals

Graduates will achieve advanced nursing practice competencies by demonstrating:

  1. Systems and organizational leadership
  2. Implementation of advanced nursing practice interventions
  3. Effective use of research and technology
  4. Systematic evaluation of interventions and outcomes

Student learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate core competencies in their advanced practice specialties
  2. Integrate nursing and related sciences into the delivery of advanced nursing care to diverse populations and systems of health care delivery
  3. Apply ethical analysis and clinical reasoning to assess, intervene and evaluate advanced nursing care delivery
  4. Understand the implications of social, cultural, economic, policy and organizational systems that impact practice and outcomes
  5. Synthesize evidence for practice to determine appropriate application of interventions across diverse populations and settings
  6. Use quality processes and improvement science to evaluate care and ensure patient safety for individuals, populations and systems
  7. Integrate organizational science and technology to make changes in the care environment to improve health outcomes and practice efficiency

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the Graduate study section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

VCU School of Nursing Student Policy and Information handbooks are located on the school’s website.

Visit the School of Nursing website for program-specific application instructions.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S.FallMar 15GRE scores are required if cumulative undergraduate GPA is less than 3.25

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must:

  1. Be eligible for readmission or in good standing at the last college attended

  2. Be a baccalaureate (or higher) graduate of an accredited (ACEN, CCNE or CNEA) nursing program
  3. Have a current unrestricted R.N. license or authorization to practice as an R.N. in the U.S.
  4. Have completed an undergraduate statistics course
  5. Provide GRE scores if cumulative undergraduate GPA is less than 3.25
  6. If not a native speaker, provide proof of English language proficiency by submitting one of the following test scores (taken within 24 months of the time of application):
    1. TOEFL score of 100 iBT with minimum subsection scores as noted
      1. Reading – 22
      2. Listening – 22
      3. Speaking – 26
      4. Writing – 24
    2. IELTS score of 7.5 overall band
       

School of Nursing B.S. graduates who successfully completed the requirements of the VCU Honors College are eligible for guaranteed admission to the master's program or the post-B.S. to Ph.D. program upon submission of an application form and personal statement. Requirements for GRE scores and references are waived.

Degree requirements

Forty-eight graduate credit hours are required for the adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner concentration.

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, a candidate for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing must be recommended by the faculty and must:

  1. Meet academic requirements of the Graduate School
  2. Complete all requirements for the prescribed curriculum within six calendar years of the first registration for work to be credited toward the degree
  3. Earn a minimum grade of B or pass grade in all nursing courses
  4. Earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all work presented for graduation
  5. Conform to School of Nursing policies in respect to pass/fail grading for course work or thesis study

The degree will be granted only after all requirements have been fulfilled and all fees to the university have been paid. Degrees are not granted in absentia unless written request is made to the dean and permission is granted.

Curriculum requirements

Core courses

NURS   501Advanced Professionalization I1
NURS   502Advanced Nursing Practice: Pharmacotherapeutics3
NURS   503Ethics, Advanced Nursing Practice and the Health Care Environment3
NURS   504Advanced Nursing Practice: The Biological Basis of Health and Illness Across the Lifespan3
NURS   507Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Lifespan4
NURS   508Policy, Processes and Systems for Advanced Nursing Practice3
NURS   511Health Assessment for Advanced Nursing Practice3
NURS   512Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice3
NURS   601Advanced Professionalization II1
Total Hours24

Concentration courses

GRTY   610Gero-pharmacology1
NURS   611Primary Care Advanced Practice Clinical Procedures1
NURS   615Diagnosis and Management in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care I3
NURS   616Diagnosis and Management in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care II3
NURS   617Advanced Gerontology Primary Care Across the Care Continuum4
NURS   676Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practicum I3
NURS   675Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practicum II4
NURS   677Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practicum III5
Total Hours24

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 48

Graduate program director
Pamela J. Biernacki, D.N.P., FNP-C
Assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Health Nursing
Email: pjbiernacki@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 628-7567

Additional contact
Susan L. Lipp, RN
Assistant dean for enrollment and student services
Email: vcu_nurse@vcu.edu

Program website: nursing.vcu.edu/education/masters