Adult/Gerontology — Acute Care Specialty

Overview and Population of Interest

The Adult/Gerontology – Acute Care Advanced Practice Registered Nurse is educated at the Master's level with expertise in the care of the adult/gerontology population with high intensity nursing and medical needs, including acute, critical, and complex chronic health conditions. The population of interest is adults, from late adolescence through senescence, who have acute, critical and complex chronic health needs. The age and patient status, not the location of the patient, is key; students may care for patients in a variety of settings, including the patient's home, outpatient clinics, medical/surgical wards, critical care units, or emergency/urgent care units.

Nurse Practitioner Role and Preparation

Acute Care Nurse Practitioners provide advanced nursing care across the continuum of healthcare services to meet the specialized physiological and psychological needs of adult/gerontology patients with acute, critical, and complex chronic health conditions. They perform comprehensive health assessments, order and interpret the full spectrum of diagnostic tests and procedures, use differential diagnosis to reach a medical diagnosis, construct and order a plan of care, and evaluate the outcomes of interventions for patients.

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Learning Outcomes

The goal of the UCLA School of Nursing Adult/Gerontology-Acute Care program is to prepare nurses to assume an advanced practice role in the care of adult/gerontology patients with acute illnesses or with exacerbations of chronic illness and with high-intensity nursing and medical needs. While all students are expected to gain proficiency with care of adult/gerontology patients in acute care general medicine settings, students may also select an area of focus within the adult/gerontology population. Students specializing in oncology may select from a variety of oncology settings.

Types of Care provided by the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse:

  • Continuous and comprehensive care in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings
  • Episodic care for acute and critically ill patients
  • Management of chronic conditions or terminal illness
  • Management of long-term care or sub-acute/rehabilitation patients
  • Monitoring and case management of medical and cardiac diseases
  • Multidisciplinary and comprehensive care

Key elements of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner include:

  • Advanced clinical expertise
  • Development of differential diagnoses
  • Use of medical diagnostic reasoning to formulate the plan of care
  • Order and prescription of pharmacologic and other therapeutic therapy
  • Planning and management of patient care across the acute care continuum
  • Utilization and performance of invasive and non-invasive interventions
  • Evidence-based and research-based clinical practice
  • Advocacy or patient agency
  • Clinical leadership
  • Promotion of health

Course Sequence