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What Is an Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner?

An adult-gerontology nurse practitioner (AGNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse specializing in the primary care of adolescent, adult and geriatric patients. Accounting for approximately 8% of all certified NPs, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), adult-gero nurse practitioners have expanded responsibilities and are instrumental in addressing the care gaps created by physician shortages and an aging patient population. Graduation from an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner program prepares RNs for this role.

What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Adult-Gero NP?

Adult-gero nurse practitioners have a wider scope of practice compared to RNs. Focused on primary care, duties and responsibilities typically revolve around disease prevention and health promotion and include:

  • Evaluating patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Diagnosing and triaging acute illnesses and injuries
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic testing, such as labs, x-rays and cardiac panels
  • Developing comprehensive and targeted care plans and adjusting as needed
  • Prescribing medications and therapeutic treatments, including controlled substances and physical therapy
  • Providing education to patients and caregivers regarding the management of a range of diseases and conditions

Where Do Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioners Work?

Adult-gero nurse practitioners work with a broad range of patients — from adolescents through adults and the elderly. They may seek employment in a variety of settings, including physician practices, ambulatory care centers and university clinics. They may also practice in hospitals and nursing homes, with 41.7% of full-time NPs holding hospital privileges and 11.7% with long-term care privileges, per AANP data.

Rural and urban community-based healthcare organizations are common places of employment. These underserved communities increasingly rely on adult-gero nurse practitioners to fill critical primary care gaps, ensure continuity of care and provide vital access to healthcare resources. Demand for NPs’ skillsets is gaining traction, particularly among vulnerable rural populations that are likely to be disproportionately impacted by the physician shortages expected over the next decade. A 2018 Health Affairs study found that the number of rural practices employing nurse practitioners grew from 35% to 45.5% between 2008 and 2016.

How Much Do Adult-Gero NPs Earn?

Although salaries vary depending on the geographic location and practice setting, adult-gero nurse practitioners have the potential to increase their income significantly. According to the AANP, the median base salary for full-time NPs is $110K (2019). For comparison, RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing earn an average salary of $84K, as reported by PayScale (May 2020). Sign-on bonuses and benefit packages may further enhance the earnings difference.

What Are the Education Requirements for Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioners?

Due to the greater autonomy and scope of practice enjoyed by adult-gero nurse practitioners, there are more stringent education and experience expectations. An MSN or higher degree is the entry-level requirement. To enroll in an online MSN program, prospective students must have:

  • A current unencumbered nursing license
  • At least 1,000 clinical hours as a registered nurse
  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program; OR

RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree are often eligible for MSN programs by completing additional undergraduate coursework

Due to flexible scheduling and accelerated courses, RNs can complete an online MSN program in as few as 20 months, often alongside full-time employment and other commitments. Earning a degree through an accredited program positions you to pursue national board certification as well.

Preventive Primary Care

AGNPs care for patients from adolescence through the end of life, work in a variety of settings and enjoy a significantly higher annual salary than registered nurses. With physician shortages and an aging population requiring more complex case management, adult-gero nurse practitioners are likely to be an integral component in the emerging healthcare landscape.

Learn more about NKU’s online MSN Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner program.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners: NP Fact Sheet

American Journal of Managed Care: Nurse Practitioners Play an Increasing Role in Primary Care

Association of American Medical Colleges: New Findings Confirm Predictions on Physician Shortage

Health Affairs: Rural and Nonrural Primary Care Physician Practices Increasingly Rely on Nurse Practitioners

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

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