Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (DNP) Program Details

The Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (AC PNP) program is available to both bachelor’s and master’s- prepared nurses wishing to attain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Acute care pediatric experience is required.

The AC PNP program is available in a distance format but not in all locales. Restrictions might apply.  Please email the program director prior to application.

Study Format

You will be admitted to a class cohort of BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP, and postgraduate certificate students.  Classes are offered online with periodic campus visits. Clinical practicum is required.

BSN to DNP Students:

  • Completed in three and two-thirds years of part-time study

MSN to DNP Students:

  • Master’s education varies significantly and a gap analysis of prerequisite coursework is performed to determine program of study
  • Completed in two to three years of part-time study. Program of study length may vary based on results of gap analysis

Sample Plan of Study 

Campus Visits

  • One day New Student Orientation (attendance is optional)
  • Three-four day visit during course in health assessment.  This visit is combined with the Doctor of Nursing Practice Proposal Presentation (for MSN to DNP students, this requirement varies based on results of gap analysis)
  • One week visit with each acute care management course (2)
  • Two day visit in final term for Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Presentation

Clinical Experiences

Advanced practice pediatric education is built on a strong foundation of acute care pediatric experience; consequently you must have at least two years of full-time pediatric experience before starting the clinical portion of your program. The part-time plan of study allows BSN to DNP students to work full time and obtain more of the required experience while completing the first year of coursework, if needed.

The clinical practicum consists of rotations through a variety of services with exposure to pediatric populations experiencing different levels of acuity. Students complete clinical rotations in areas such as:

  • Cardiovascular surgery
  • Emergency care
  • Endocrinology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Nephrology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Oncology
  • Pain
  • Palliative care
  • Pediatric critical care
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Primary care
  • Radiology

BSN to DNP Students:

  • Complete 756 clock hours of acute care experience

MSN to DNP Students:

The number of clock hours is determined based on the results of the gap analysis and may require the student to:

  • Complete 756 clock hours of acute care experience (required for those without Primary Care PNP or FNP degrees)
  • Complete 500 clock hours of acute care experience (required for those with Primary Care PNP or FNP degrees)
  • Additional hours may be required  for APRNs without pediatric experience.  Contact program director for more details. 

If you are a local student, clinical practicum sites are available at Rush University Medical Center and throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. As a local student, you will receive preceptors and schedules from program coordinators.

If you are a distance student (outside of the Chicago metropolitan area), you will need to work with the program faculty and coordinator to arrange for clinical practicum sites that meet program requirements. Please contact the program director, Dr. Beth Bolick, before applying.  

Rush has been successful in negotiating many distance clinical practicum contracts, but success is not guaranteed. Rush is also required to be a recognized provider by the board of education and the board of nursing in the distance state. We recommend that you contact the program director prior to application to determine if distance education is available in your locale.  If offered admission, begin planning your clinical practicum experiences as early as possible with your program faculty and coordinator.


Upon program completion, you will be eligible for certification as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner – acute care (CPNP-AC) by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board and for state licensure or certification where available.

Contact program director for frequently asked program questions and a link to a recorded information session.  

Common Applicant Questions for all Nursing Programs
  • Request Info
  • Register for an Info Session
  • Apply Now
  • Upcoming Application Deadlines
    Fall 2023 (BSN to DNP & MSN to DNP for nonAPRNs)
    Application: Open
    Deadline: July 3, 2023
    Term Starts: September 5, 2023

    Summer 2024 (MSN to DNP) 
    Application: Opens August 10, 2023
    Deadline: January 2, 2024
    Term Starts: May 6, 2024
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth Miranda
Admissions Specialist


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Attend an information session

Learn more about the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) program at an online information session.