Acute care pediatric nurse practitioner program

UMSN student working on a mannequinSpecialty appeal

  • Acute care pediatric nurse practitioners are in demand. Hospitals across the nation are looking for ACPNPs who have the education and training to care for their pediatric patients with acute, critical, and chronic illness. 
  • The number of practice settings where ACPNPs work is continually expanding. Potential employment opportunities include: pediatric intensive care units; pediatric cardiac intensive care units; pediatric hospitalist services; inpatient and outpatient specialty services such as pediatric surgery, pediatric hematology/oncology, and pediatric neurosurgery; pediatric emergency departments; homecare settings for children with complex and technology-dependent healthcare needs.
  • Salaries for ACPNPs are highly competitive and rank among the highest for advanced practice nurses.
  • Being an ACPNP is both challenging and rewarding. ACPNPs are experts in the care of children with acute illness and multiple complex problems and work with patients, families, and interdisciplinary colleagues to provide the highest quality care for these patients. Research has shown that ACPNPs contribute to high quality care, improved outcomes, decreased length of stay, and improved patient and family satisfaction.

Education and practice

This program focuses on the care of infant, children and adolescents with complex health problems including acute/critical and chronic illness. It includes a strong foundation in

  • pathophysiology
  • pharmacology
  • health assessment
  • evidence-based management of complex patient problems
  • leadership within the health care system.

Practicum are arranged by U-M faculty and offer rich learning environments for developing expertise in acute care pediatric nursing at an advanced practice level and for developing advanced assessment and clinical decision-making skills.

Graduates are trained to practice as advance practice nurses with children who have complex acute, critical and chronic care needs. Emphasis is placed on advanced assessment, diagnostic reasoning, clinical decision making, therapeutic interventions, and consultation and referral skills. Family-centered care, support for development, and optimizing functioning for children with acute, critical and chronic illness are intrinsic components of ACPNP practice.


See the application requirements for this program.


Listed below are the required courses for the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner program. The acute care pediatric NP curriculum is offered in an on-campus format; however, a few of the core courses may be web-blended (the University of Michigan School of Nursing does not offer a completely on-line curriculum). The program is offered fall term (September) start only, in a 2 year (primarily full-time enrollment, 9 or more credits each fall, winter and spring-summer term of the curriculum) or a 3 year (primarily part-time enrollment, less than 9 credits each fall, winter and spring-summer term of the curriculum) program plan. FIfty-eight total credits and 627.5 clinical hours are required.

Sample plan of study

Core courses:

  • NURS 528: Models, Theories and Methods to Promote Optimal Health Outcomes
  • NURS 527: Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Healthcare Delivery
  • NURS 529: Scientific and Analytic Approaches for Advanced Practice

Specialty courses:

  • NURS 502: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan
  • NURS 503: Advanced Health Assessment for Advanced Practice Nurses
  • NURS 523: Role Transition to APRN
  • NURS 541: CDM I: Wellness and Illness for the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • NURS 550: CDM II: Foundations for Practice: Common Acute Illness for the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner 
  • NURS 637: Acute Care Pediatric Advanced Practice Nursing Clinical Practicum I
  • NURS 638: Acute Care Pediatric Advanced Practice Nursing Clinical Practicum II
  • NURS 639: Acute Care Pediatric Advanced Practice Nursing Clinical Practicum III
  • NURS 551: Pediatric Acute Care Management I
  • NURS 552: Pediatric Acute Care Management II
  • NURS 544: Wellness for ACPNP (clinical only) 
  • NURS 553: Advanced Practice Specialty Procedures and Skills

Required cognates

  • PHR 620: Pharmacotherapeutics I
  • PHR 621: Pharmacotherapeutics II
  • HS 505: Team Based Clinical Decision Making


The ACNPN program provides family-centered and culturally respectful care for pediatric patients with acute, complex, critica, and chronic illness across a variety of care settings. The ACPNP works closely with an inter-professional team to provide the highest level of evidence-based care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and organ dysfunction or failure. The practitioner in this role is responsible for independent and collaborative decision-making with direct accountability for clinical judgment. The ACPNP monitors and ensures the quality of healthcare practice and assists the patient and family in negotiating healthcare delivery systems (Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, 2015a, paragraph 5). 

The University of Michigan School of Nursing acute care pediatric nurse practitioner program meets and surpasses the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner core competencies as outlined by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). Graduates are eligible to pursue certification as an acute care pediatric nurse practitioners (CPNP-AC) through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).