Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (DNP) Program Details

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program is available to both bachelor’s and master’s-prepared nurses wishing to attain a 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. During your full-time residency, we advise students not to work.

Sample Plan of Study

Clinical Experiences

You need at least six months of acute care experience to be eligible to apply to the program. In addition, you will need two years of acute-care full-time experience before starting clinical and management course rotations in your last year.

Clinical practica hours are a total of 336 clock hours. You will complete a full-time residency the last term of the program, which totals 420 clock hours. There are also DNP practica hours and residency immersion hours of 252. As a result, your total clinical hours in the program will be 1008 clock hours. 

You will work closely with your advisor to establish your individual professional goals and objectives for clinical experiences. You will also work collaboratively with faculty to arrange clinical experiences.

Clinical experiences occur in a wide variety of settings with a focus on managing a caseload of acutely or critically ill patients. Practicum sites include:

  • Acute inpatient hospital units
  • General and specialty intensive care units
  • Emergency departments
  • Subacute care institutions
  • Specialty acute care practices, such as cardiology, neurosurgery and bone marrow transplant

All of the course work prepares you to provide care to the full spectrum of acute care illness. When you get to the clinical rotations, some students prefer to concentrate in a particular area such as cardiology, neurosurgery or trauma, while others want a more broad clinical experience. We will work with you to create clinical experiences that provide you the best preparation for your professional goals.


After completing the program, you will be eligible for certification as an adult gero acute care nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center of the American Nurses Association, and for state licensure and certification where available.

Common Applicant Questions for all Nursing Programs
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth Miranda
Admissions Specialist
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Attend an information session

Learn more about the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (NP) program at our online information session.