female nurse working with elderly patient

Recognizing Nurses With a Focus on Acute Care

In 1990, The American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors established a week-long recognition of nurses, declaring May 6–12 as National Nurses Week! Registered Nurses are essential to our society, and we celebrate them every day for the tireless work they perform 365 days a year.

As part of the week-long celebration, we're focusing on an online nursing degree that's offered at the University of Arizona Online and is gaining popularity: Doctor of Nursing Practice with a specialization in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (​​AGACNP).

What Is an Acute Care Practitioner?

Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) focus on patients who require unique and individualized care, often based on the patient’s health, age, and other factors or needs. The type of critical care an ACNP provides can include palliative, restorative, rehabilitative, supportive, and end-of-life care.

The Online NP Acute Care program is intended for registered nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Master of Science (MS) in Nursing and want to work with patients who have critical conditions and acute illnesses. Acute Care Nurse Practitioners typically work in emergency rooms, nursing homes, and inpatient units.

Meet an AGACNP Graduate

Amanda Katherine Zeagler was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. Amanda graduated with a BS in Nursing from Northern Arizona University in 2016, and immediately started her nursing career at Banner University Medical Center in the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit. 

Amanda decided to earn her AGACNP with the University of Arizona Online because, as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Amanda knew she would have the opportunity to contribute to society, patient care, education, and research. 

“Acute Care Nurse Practitioners work in collaboration and are a part of multi-disciplinary teams that focus on meaningful patient-centered outcomes. The opportunity to be a part of scientific discovery, education, and clinical excellence is truly amazing and rewarding!” says Amanda. 

Amanda Zeagler Banner Health Portrait

Amanda Katherine Zeagler

The University of Arizona College of Nursing was highly recommended to Amanda, and it was important to her to enroll in an online program that is accredited and nationally recognized.

Amanda graduated in December 2021 and joined the Pulmonary Critical Care Team at Banner University Medical Center. 

Amanda Zeagler working photo collage

Amanda Katherine Zeagler gaining hands-on experience in the AGACNP program.

What is the difference between a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)?

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioners provide care to patients experiencing chronic, complex, or critical illnesses that are physiologically unstable or technologically dependent. 
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioners provide long-term relationship care with their patients. Primary Care Nurse Practitioners screen, diagnose, and treat common acute and chronic medical diseases and conditions.

Each nurse practitioner is educated, certified, and licensed in their respective specialty.

AGACNP Career Outcomes

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nurse practitioners is projected to grow 45% from 2020 to 2030. Combine this career field trajectory with the size of the baby boomer generation – ages 76 and older – reshaping America’s older population, and acute care in gerontology is on track to become a robust and in-demand specialty.

The AGACNP program is elite! The faculty are committed to the success of the students.

The faculty listen and are always focused on making the program better to ensure we have the knowledge and skills necessary to be competent and safe providers,” articulates Amanda.

Arizona Online congratulates Amanda on graduating, and we wish her and all our dedicated nursing students a Happy National Nurses Week!

Amanda Zeagler in Graduation Regalia

Amanda Katherine Zeagler at her University of Arizona convocation.