School of Nursing

FAQs - Acute Care (Adult Gerontology) NP Program

Is this an online program?

The AGACNP program is face-to-face, with some non-clinical courses available online. All courses that teach clinical reasoning and technical skills are provided face-to-face (528, 529, 526 series, 509 practicum series, 509 lab series, and 527).  Face-to-face courses are taught by AGACNP faculty, including occasional guest lecturers with content expertise, including pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners and others. "NP core courses" may be done online or in a blended format, depending on the course.

Why is the program longer than other nationally available programs?

The D.N.P. is eleven terms long, for 2 ¾ years. The state of Oregon is unique in that we have some of the most liberal scope of practice rules. Since NPs can function at the highest level of their scope or practice within Oregon, we have chosen to build a program that exceeds the basic standards for AGACNP education. While all NP programs have developed curricula that ensure safety and competency for entry to practice, we have added some additional experiences to best provide for the scope of practice within the state. Because our faculty understands the unique demands placed upon the AGACNP, the program was designed by asking our faculty one question, "What would the ideal NP program look like?"

Why aren't you an all-online program?

There are many variations in NP educational programs. When building the program, the faculty felt that an immersion style, face-to-face format would best prepare the new AGACNP for the high professional expectations of the AGACNP role. As the "high-acuity" specialists in the NP profession, we felt an academic medical center would provide a strong foundation for educating the next generation of AGACNPs. This program allows us to develop the next generation of AGACNPs in a "team-based" educational environment with a strong "inter-professional" educational experience.  

You call the AGACNP program an "immersion" program; what does that mean?

We want to immerse students in an academic medical center, including all of the educational opportunities that can be found in such a complex educational environment. This is part of the reason the program is designed with a face-to-face format. We want students to be involved with these educational efforts daily, including functioning on inter-professional teams.  This face-to-face format encourages students to stay highly focused during their educational experience. 

The healthcare industry has grown to recognize the importance of a "team-based" approach to patient care. The academic medical center provides an ideal "training ground" for NPs to function independently and on complex healthcare teams.

Can I work during the program?

Yes. The program cannot restrict you from working on your own time. However, the OHSU AGACNP program is academically rigorous and will require substantial efforts outside of the lecture hall. Generally, one credit hour is assigned for one hour of instruction per week per term. Each hour of instruction is usually expected to require at least two additional hours of course preparation (e.g., reading, writing, case study or problem assignments) per week per term. In cases where students may need remediation, additional out-of-class preparation will be necessary. Full-time graduate-level study is similar to working full-time when considering the time required for completion. Typically, the faculty has seen that the more a student works outside of their program of study, the more difficult it is for them to find adequate time for school. For this reason, the faculty recommends against full-time work during graduate studies.

What is inter-professional education, and how is it done in the AGACNP program?

The AGACNP program strongly supports the OHSU Inter-professional Initiative. The goal of the OHSU Inter-professional Initiative, launched in May 2012, is to prepare all OHSU students for deliberatively and intelligently working together with a common goal of building a safer and more effective patient-centered and community-oriented health care system within Oregon and across the United States, ultimately impacting the health and well-being of populations worldwide.

Most of the program's clinical rotations are done on multidisciplinary clinical teams within the medical center. These teams engage several clinicians and learners, including those from nursing, medicine, and pharmacology.  This provides a unique opportunity for students from various professions to "train together" in preparation to "practice together". We strongly encourage students to take advantage of all inter-professional education events throughout our university, including residency educational opportunities during clinical rotations.  

Do students have to find their own clinical sites/preceptors?

No. The program provides clinical opportunities in a variety of clinical settings.  We welcome students who may be able to set up portions of their own clinical experiences. Still, those experiences must be within the Metro Portland area (i.e. local) and approved by the program director.

Do you have any requirements for types of clinical rotations?

Yes, we require all students to have clinical experiences, including a general/specialty medical rotation, a surgical rotation (often including intra-op experiences), and a critical care rotation. The scope of practice of an AGACNP includes specialty medical care, acute illness/injury, and critical illness/injury. We feel that it is important for students to have some clinical experience in all of these areas.

What do you mean by "minimum hours"?

This is the minimum number of hours necessary to complete the program of study and be awarded the D.N.P. degree. While the faculty understands the need for "minimum" hour requirements for board certification purposes, we prefer to focus on "readiness" for clinical practice. We encourage students to utilize their rotations to get as much clinical time as possible based on student's availability. In other words, we want our students to get as much mentorship in a good clinical environment as possible and encourage students to maximize their clinical experiences when possible. Typically, students substantially exceed minimum requirements.

What types of clinical rotations are available in the program?

The program has multiple relationships with clinical departments across the OHSU School of Medicine and academic medical center to provide clinical experiences in various specialty areas. Some clinical experiences are also offered at local hospitals and clinics in the community setting.  

  • Medicine rotations include Medical ICU, Cardiology, Adult Congenital Cardiology, Urology, Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Hematology, Oncology, and Adult Pain Service
  • Surgical rotations include Thoracic Surgery, Trauma Surgery, and Emergency General Surgery
  • Critical Care rotations include Medical ICU, Neuro ICU, Cardiac ICU, Surgical ICU, and Trauma ICU

I noticed the yearlong "laboratory" class series; what is included in that class series?

These classes are designed to teach students a variety of skills, including procedural skills (central line, endotracheal intubation, etc.), diagnostic skills (12-lead ECG interpretation, intro to ultrasound, and basic radiology), and critical thinking skills (diagnostic reasoning). This series uses various methods, from basic lectures, cadaveric laboratory experiences, partial task trainers (procedural simulators), and high-fidelity simulations.  This course series is a unique feature of the OHSU AGACNP program and represents one of the few programs continually integrating didactic, simulation and clinical education.  Simulation hours do not count toward clinical hours or clinical hour requirements for a degree.

What is your pass rate on NP Board Exams?

We are a relatively new program dating back to 2014, but we have a 100% pass rate on board examination on the first try.

Are interviews required?

Yes. Multiple members of our faculty interview every student who is being considered for admission into the program. Interviews are conducted on campus. We will consider phone interviews for students who cannot come to Portland for interviews due to financial or personal situations.  During the campus visit, students are interviewed, have a mixer with other applicants and current students, and are given a tour of our campus and medical center.

What makes a good candidate for the AGACNP program?

There is no "ideal" profile for an AGACNP candidate. Ultimately, the faculty focuses on finding students who are an excellent fit to the program and are likely to succeed as an AGACNP. Various things are considered, including overall GPA, science GPA, GRE scores, previous experience, program fit, understanding of the AGACNP role, personal attributes, and a student's ability to commit time and energy to this rigorous program.

Do you require previous experience as an RN?

No. There is no minimum experience required for the application.

How many applicants do you accept per year?

Typically, we take anywhere from 8 to 12 students per year.