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What Is a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

An Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse who focuses on the primary care of adolescent and adult patients. Depending on specific state regulations, an AGPCNP can provide direct care services to these patients, including diagnostics and treatment of chronic illnesses, medical assessments, health education, disease prevention, and more. Continue reading to learn more about what these Nurse Practitioners do and how you can become one.

 

Primary Care Vs. Acute Care Practitioners?

When considering a career as an Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, there are different educational and certification paths you can choose from. Two of the most common routes include certification as a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. While both primary and acute care practitioners work directly with patients to provide patient care, there are differences between the two.

Acute care Nurse Practitioners focus on addressing the short-term health needs of patients, primarily those within a hospital setting. Acute Care AGNPs work in hospital locations to address severe injuries like broken bones, serious medical conditions such as heart attacks or strokes, and advanced monitoring of patients in recovery following surgical procedures.

Primary Care Nurse Practitioners focus more on preventative healthcare and long-term approaches to managing health throughout the patient’s lifespan. Often located in private practices or clinics, AGPCNPs work closely with patients from adolescence through adulthood to create specific care plans that address their health needs and promote a healthier life. For Nurse Practitioners interested in pursuing care of a particular population, specialties such as pediatric, family, adult, and geriatric care are available for Primary Care Nurse Practitioners.

While there is no one correct path to pursue, it is important for interested registered nurses and those considering a career as an NP to understand the differences in the level of care each provides. Depending on whether an RN chooses acute or Primary care will affect the day-to-day tasks of the practitioner, the workplace setting, and available specializations and population.

 

What Does An AGPCNP Do?

Nurse Practitioners who pursue primary care will work with patients differently. Depending on which state the NP is registered, their responsibilities or duties may be expanded or limited based on regulations specifying the type of care NPs can deliver. Generally speaking, AGPCNPs work alongside physicians to help patients to address specific healthcare needs. While Physicians and Nurse Practitioners provide many of the same services to patients, there are important differences in the scope of their practice and their educational/certification credentials. Generally, NP skills include but aren’t limited to:

  • Assessing a patient’s general health
  • Performing diagnostics on sick patients
  • Charting care plans for specific health diagnoses
  • Working with patients on identifying and implementing preventative care measures
  • Connect patients with healthcare specialists if required.

 

Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioners generally work with a specific population. Typically, AGPCNPs work with those in adolescence (as young as 13) through adulthood and into the geriatric age. In addition to specializations and certification paths for working with specific age populations, certifications, and education paths also exist for different care practices. Certificates are available for working in psychiatric health, neonatal care, women’s health, gastroenterology, and more.

 

How Do You Become A Primary Care Nurse Practitioner?

Becoming a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner requires currently practicing RNs to receive a graduate-level degree and licensure as an NP following graduation. Those interested in becoming an AGPCNP should consider the following educational steps to become a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner:

  1. Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse.
  3. Gain experience working as a registered nurse.
  4. Choose an MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program
  5. Secure licensure through a certifying board.

 

Certifications & Licensures

Once a student graduates from an MSN program, an aspiring AGPCNP must obtain certification to practice as an APRN within their given scope of practice. Graduates can choose between two different certifying organizations to pursue – the American Nursing Credential Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). A student must pass one of these exams to become a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and receive the correct licensure. Additional certifications are also available.

 

AGPCNP Program At The University of Providence

The University of Providence offers a Master of Science in Nursing, Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. This 24-month degree program prepares licensed registered nurses to pursue a career as a Primary Care Nurse practitioner not working in acute care settings.

Graduates of our program are prepared to test for and secure certification as a Primary Care Nurse Practitioners by building on the skills and knowledge students have as registered nurses. Students apply evidence-based practices through online-asynchronous courses and in-person practicums – giving them the skills they need to deliver quality, professional nursing care.

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