Online MSN: AGACNP Bridge Pathway Emphasis

Bridge (Master of Science in Nursing: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with an Emphasis in Adult-Gerontology)

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions

Pathway offered in select states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.

Study Foundations of Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment for Elderly Populations

For experienced RNs who possess a bachelor’s degree in another field, the Bridge (Master of Science in Nursing: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with an Emphasis in Adult-Gerontology), offered by the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, is a bridge pathway toward completion of the MSN degree program. You will be taught the foundations of assessment, diagnosis and treatment while preparing to position yourself for potential career advancement serving the critically ill adult and geriatric patient populations.

Prepare for MSN Studies Through an AGACNP Bridge Pathway

This bridge pathway can provide you with the background and experience you need to move forward in earning your MSN degree. This online MSN pathway with an adult-gerontology emphasis exposes you to various modes of care. If you are seeking to gain the skills and career opportunities that come with an MSN, but lack a relevant bachelor’s degree, this bridge pathway can provide an alternative.

Focus Your Studies on Adult-Gerontology

These online and in-person courses can prepare you to enter into an MSN program with the background knowledge and APRN skills you need. This MSN bridge pathway includes the following pre-requisite coursework:

  • Foundations of professional nursing
  • Health assessment
  • Applied statistics for healthcare professionals
  • Quantitative and qualitative research
  • Concepts in community and public health
  • Pathophysiology
  • Professional capstone and practicum
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Transition Into an Online MSN: AGACNP Degree Program

Many students who complete the AGACNP bridge pathway may choose to step into MSN degrees. After completing the bridge pathway, you will be qualified to apply for the Master of Science in Nursing: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with an Emphasis in Adult-Gerontology degree. This program combines courses in advanced health assessment, clinical diagnosis and procedural skill acquisition with care management for acute and chronically ill adults. Multiple clinical practicums, labs and correlating pedagogy emphasize the physiological and psychosocial impact of illness on patients and their families as well as the general community.

Study Adult-Gerontology at an Accredited University

Completing your ACAGCP MSN bridge pathway emphasis at GCU means you are being taught course materials from a university that meets the educational standards set by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Institutional accreditation is a direct reflection of the quality of education offered at a university. GCU has been institutionally accredited by the HLC since 1968. To learn more, visit our accreditation page.

MSN Bridge Pathway: Adult-Gerontology Emphasis FAQs

You may have more questions about becoming an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner student at GCU. Learn more by reading through some most frequently asked questions.

Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) care for those who suffer from more serious health conditions. They are able to deliver the critical care that these patients need, often working in fast-paced healthcare environments and providing life-saving measures. These professionals work with all ages and treat various acute health conditions, typically in a hospital setting.1

AGACNPs are a type of specialty ACNP, primarily focusing on caring for the adult and elderly populations. These MSN ACNPs typically work with patients who have complex healthcare requirements. The care they provide is short-term and often immediate. These healthcare professionals must have an advanced understanding of the aging process and be able to develop appropriate treatment plans for ill, critical patients.2

To become an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP), you will first have to earn your nursing degree and complete the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. The next step is to gain additional nursing experience or go right into continuing your nursing education. You will likely need to earn your MSN degree with a focus or emphasis in adult-gerontology. For nurses who are not yet eligible for the MSN program, an AGACNP MSN bridge pathway can provide you with the courses and knowledge you need to make the transition into the MSN program. If completing the online MSN AGACNP bridge pathway, each class is five weeks in length, for a total of 24 credits for completion.

NPs can hold multiple certifications and specialties. They can also choose to switch specialties throughout their careers. Obtaining multiple specialties may require additional training, education and/or successfully passing a certification examination.

If you’re considering transitioning into adult-gerontology nursing through completing a bridge pathway, fill out the form on this page to get in contact with a university counselor.


1 NurseJournal. (2022, Nov. 23). Acute Care NP Career Overview. Retrieved Oct. 13, 2023.

2 Hamlin, K. (2022, May 11). Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP vs. Primary Care NP: What’s the Difference? NurseJournal. Retrieved Oct. 13, 2023.

Total Credits: 24
Online: 5 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Online: $340 per credit [More Info]

Course List

24 credits
Degree Requirements:
24 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education, the role of the professional nurse, and the importance of effective nursing leadership. Standards of practice, differentiated nursing practice, professional accountability, interprofessional collaboration, and quality improvement are emphasized with importance placed on the application of leadership styles and management skills.

Course Description

This course focuses on methods of health history taking, physical examination skills, and documentation. Students integrate assessment skills and clinical judgment/reasoning in identifying actual or potential health problems and needs across the life span. Health promotion strategies are incorporated to provide for the unique needs of the individual, ensuring person-centered care. The course emphasizes the importance of providing compassionate care dealing with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students design plans of care based on evidence-based research and practice.

Course Description

This course focuses on the community as the patient taking into account varying cultures, spiritual values, geographic norms, and economic conditions. The course examines social determinants of health, including social, legal, and political variables impacting individual, community, and population health across the life span. Students use epidemiological data, functional health pattern assessments, and nursing theories to plan and intervene in areas of health promotion and disease prevention across the life span.

Course Description

This course is designed to build upon existing knowledge of the pathophysiological processes of disease as they affect patients across the life span, recognizing the nurse's multidimensional role in health promotion and disease management and prevention, which include biological, environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions. Integration of nutritional and pharmacological concepts encourages critical thinking and application of nursing interventions. Prerequisite: NRS-420.

Course Description

This is an introductory course on concepts of statistics, emphasizing applications to health care professions. The course is designed to prepare learners to understand concepts of statistics and the appropriateness of statistical methods used in published research papers and a variety of settings. Areas of emphasis include an introduction to the statistical analysis concepts of variable/reliability factors; P values; experimental design; descriptive statistics, including mean, median, and mode; sampling methods; and power analysis.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course promotes the use of research findings as a basis for improving clinical practice. Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies are analyzed with an emphasis on the critical review of research studies and their application to clinical practice. Students develop evidence-based practice recommendations from the critical analysis of available literature guided by a PICOT question. Prerequisite: HLT-362V.

Course Description

The final course in the program is writing-intensive. It will integrate the academic and practical knowledge students have acquired throughout the program’s curriculum. Students participate in planned clinical experiences that refine professional competencies at the baccalaureate level and enable them to integrate new knowledge and enhanced skills to advance nursing practice. Clinical practice hours are dedicated to learning objectives in leadership and community health. The evidence-based project provides students an opportunity to identify a clinical nursing practice issue and propose a possible solution. Students, under the guidance of faculty and approved preceptors, identify and analyze a nurse practice issue, develop a change project, and propose an evidence-based solution that reflects synthesis and integration of course content and professional practice. The evidence-based project development is guided by the baccalaureate program learning outcomes. Clinical hours: 100. 50 hours in leadership and 50 hours in community health. Prerequisite: NRS-415, NRS-420, NRS-425, HLT-362V, NRS-445, PHI-413V, NRS-450, NRS-455, NRS-460.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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