Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (DNP) Program Details

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist program is available to both bachelor’s and master’s-prepared students wishing to attain the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. There are several courses you will take in an online format; others, offered in various terms throughout the program, are only offered on campus. You are expected to come to campus to attend selected courses, student conferences, and some clinical evaluations.

The program features accessible clinical practice sites with individualized clinical practica precepted by expert health care practitioners. Clinical experiences to meet your professional goals are available in a variety of settings in the Chicago area. This program is best completed by students living within regional proximity of Chicago.

Study Format

Typically programs may be completed as follows:

  • The BSN to DNP option can be completed in three and one-half years
  • The MSN to DNP option varies in length depending on the type of master’s program previously attended*

*A gap analysis will be performed and an individualized program of study will be developed based on previous graduate education.

If you attend the program on a part-time basis you will take about two or three courses each term.  Most students can continue to work full time until starting management and clinical courses, which is about two-thirds into the program. You will need to set aside time for school and study. When you start your clinical practicum, reserve one to two days a week in order to complete the required hours. The residency clinical practicum requires three days a week.

Sample Plan of Study

Clinical Practica and Residency

During your last year of the program, you will have two terms of clinical practica and one term of residency. You will complete a total of 1008 hours : 420 clinical practica and 336 residency direct care hours, plus 252 DNP project hours.

You will work collaboratively with faculty to arrange your individualized clinical experiences. The Rush College of Nursing has agreements with many sites in the Chicago metropolitan area. You and your advisor will establish your professional goals and objectives for the clinical experience.


After completing the program, you will be eligible for certification as an Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and for state licensure or certification where available.

Common Applicant Questions for all Nursing Programs
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth Miranda
Admissions Specialist


Attend an information session

Learn more about the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) program at an online information session.