School of Nursing adds new Post Master’s Certificate Program

· · School of Nursing adds new Post Master’s Certificate Program

NATCHITOCHES – A Post Master’s Certificate in Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) at Northwestern State University has been approved by the State Board of Regents.

According to Dr. Dana Clawson, dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health at NSU, Louisiana has a shortage of advanced practice registered nurses who possess specialized nursing knowledge and advanced nursing skills to provide quality health care to adults, older adults and the elderly who are critically or chronically ill, have urgent or emergent conditions, a traumatic injury or are at risk for life-threatening instability or rapid physiologic health deterioration.

“For years NSU has produced the most nurse practitioners of any single state supported university in Louisiana,” said Clawson. “We are so excited to have one of the best AGACNP’s in the state, Dr. Bea Launius, as the primary faculty for our PMC AGACNP program. Dr. Launius has been the coordinator of the AGACNP program for over 10 years with outstanding results.”

Clawson said because people live longer with chronic health conditions such as coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease and other diseases, the need for AGACNPs will continue to escalate.

“Nationally there is a current shortage of adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioners, because of the scarcity of this type of nurse practitioner program,” said Clawson. “In Louisiana, NSU is the only university to offer the post-graduate AGACNP certificate.”

NSU’s MSN program includes concentrations for six Nurse Practitioners (NPs): Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family NP, Primary Care Pediatric NP, Psychiatric Mental Health NP across the Lifespan, and Women’s Health NP. To practice as an adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner in Louisiana, an RN must obtain a minimum of a MSN with a concentration in adult-gerontology acute care. The purpose of the AGACNP PMC is to provide the needed didactic and clinical education for RNs or APRNs who already possess a graduate nursing degree in a concentration other than adult-gerontology acute care, to meet the requirements to become an AGACNP.

“We fully expect there to be many nurse practitioners who are prepared to practice in a single population return for their post master’s certificate in adult gerontology acute care to expand the population for which they can provide care,” said Clawson. ““Many quality nurse practitioners desire this additional post master’s certification to provide care for a broader population of patients than is allowed with their current certification. Nurses have a heart to help as many patients as they can, this degree equips them to do just that.”

According to Clawson, the structure of the certificate program will vary depending upon coursework already completed during the student’s previous graduate work. Based on an individual transcript review and an analysis of the gap between previous master’s learning and the AGACNP requirements, the practicing nurse practitioner could earn the certificate in three to four semesters. To maximize flexibility, most of the courses will be available online, and clinical courses will be hybrid, with some in-class meetings and some online delivery. Students who successfully complete the proposed post-graduate certificate may apply to take a national certification exam. Upon passing the exam, the nurse may apply for advanced practice registered nurse license (APRN) with the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) and practice in the state as an AGACNP.

For more information on Northwestern State’s College of Nursing, go to


About the Author:

Director of Communications at Northwestern State University. I have worked in the University's News Bureau since 1991.