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Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

The Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (AC PNP) Specialty is designed to prepare graduates to care for children with complex acute, critical and chronic illness across the entire pediatric age spectrum, from birth to young adulthood, and across the continuum of care settings. These settings include critical care units, emergency departments, inpatient units and ambulatory/specialty based clinics.

We also offer a post-graduate certificate with an acute care pediatric nurse practitioner specialty.​

Plans of Study

The majority of Clinical Placements take place at Children’s Hospital Colorado, a nationally ranked Top 10 Academic Pediatric Tertiary Care Facility.

Q: How long is the Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program?
There is a full-time plan that takes 2.5 years (8 terms) to complete and a part-time plan that takes 3.5 years (11 terms). The part-time plan extends the MS core courses over 2, rather than 1 year.  Once the student begins the AC PNP specialty courses, the program plans are identical.

Q: Are clinical hours required?
A: You must complete a
total of 585 hours (13 credit hours at 45 hours per credit) in approved acute care settings over 5 terms.

Q: Is the program online?
The AC PNP Specialty courses are online except for clinical experiences and approximately two class seminars for each didactic course, and a monthly clinical conference when students are in clinical.

Q: Will this prepare me to sit for acute care certification?
A: Yes, this was designed to allow you to sit for the pediatric acute care certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

Q: When do you accept applications?
A: We only admit students for the fall
 semester each year for this specialty.
​​​Learner Competencies:
  1. Articulate the role of the PACNP as it pertains to scope of practice, reimbursement, legal, regulatory and legislative issues.
  2. Summarize the PACNP role on an interprofessional acute care team as it is related to communication, best practice and patient safety.
  3. Utilize evidence-based practice, research and technology for clinical decision-making in the pediatric acute care environment.
  4. Employ pediatric concepts such as child development, patient- and family-centered care, chronic disease and end-of-life care.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the identification, assessment, and management of acute pain in the pediatric patient.
  6. Distinguish between the pediatric patient with a stable acute condition and one who is
    unstable based on behavior, physiological changes and varied levels of care.
  7. Generate a diagnosis and evidence-based management plan for common acute and life-threatening conditions in pediatric care.