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Are You Considering a Career as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner?

A female NP performs an eyesight test on an older male patient

Take a closer look at the role of an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP).

Are you interested in managing chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and respiratory illnesses? Are you committed to promoting health in your community? Do you have a passion for working with at-risk and culturally diverse adult populations? If you answered yes, you should consider a career as an AGPCNP. AGPCNPs provide advanced health care to adolescents, adults and the elderly.

What Is an AGPCNP?

The role of the AGPCNP is to assess, diagnose and plan for the health needs of all adults, from young adults to seniors. Many AGPCNPs work in long-term care settings, hospital-based clinics and private practices, which may require them to obtain medical histories, perform physical examinations, order screening tests, interpret diagnostic tests and administer age-appropriate pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies. AGPCNPs may also manage transitions between care settings, provide patient and caregiver education and evaluate caregiver competence. When providing care, AGPCNPs consider the environmental, occupational, social and economic background of patients.

Your national NP community, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), is here to help guide you through the stages of your career. As a student member of AANP, you have access to resources created specifically for you — from NPs who have been in your shoes. You can use the NP Program directory to search for NP programs by specialty and geography to find the program that best fits your needs.

Perspectives of a Working AGPCNP

“I started my career in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit [ICU], but it was in my next job as a home health nurse that I fell in love with caring for older adults, and that set the stage for the rest of my career. AGPCNPs have the privilege of developing a long-term relationship with their patients and with the patients’ families. AGPCNPs are prepared to take care of older adolescents through the oldest of old. The advantage of the AGPCNP is the narrower age focus, which offers the opportunity to delve more deeply into the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases that present in this population. AGPCNPs also work in house call practices, college health centers and in specialty clinics, such as rheumatology, cardiology and pulmonary. They may serve as providers in hospice, long-term or palliative care facilities.
During my own career as an AGPCNP, I have worked in the Internal Medicine and Geriatric Clinics at a Veterans Administration Hospital. I helped to develop a geriatric interdisciplinary consult clinic clarifying the role of a nurse practitioner [NP] on the team. Now, I am an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, where I direct the AGPCNP program. I am still in practice in a primary care clinic in an underserved area of Cleveland, Ohio. I have my own panel of patients that range in age from 14 to 97, all living in the community. I’ve followed many of these patients for 10 years; they become like family.
I love the role of primary care and partnering with my patients to care for their health. I think the bond we form as provider and patient is very special. Because the majority of my patients are older adults, I have lost several of them over the years, but I know I helped to improve their quality of their life — and the feedback I receive from the patients and their families confirms that belief. The AGPCNP role means that some of my patients are older adolescents, and it is also rewarding to guide them into healthy patterns of living that will support them throughout their life.”
— Evelyn G. Duffy, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, FAANP, Professor, Director of the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Program, Associate Director of the University Center on Aging and Health, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University

Five Facts You Should Know About AGPCNPs

  1. On average, AGPCNPs have 6.5 years of experience.1
  2. Full-time AGPCNPs have a total median income — which includes base salary, productivity bonuses, incentive payments and more — of $112,000.1
  3. The top clinical focus areas for AGPCNPs are primary care, geriatrics and oncology/hematology.1
  4. The top practice settings for AGPCNPs are hospital outpatient clinic, hospital inpatient unit and private group practice.1
  5. The top diagnoses that AGPCNPs treat are anxiety, abdominal pain and hypertension.1

Career Resources for AGPCNPs

Learn more about job opportunities available to AGPCNPs by visiting the AANP JobCenter. You can filter your search by state, experience level and job type, including full- and part-time positions or internships. You can also upload your resume to the JobCenter and let employers find you!

If you need help navigating the process of finding a job, please check out the JobCenter’s resources. The JobCenter is dedicated to helping you prepare for interviews, negotiate your salary and polish your resume. AANP also offers tips on becoming certified, finding the right practice setting and staying informed on important health issues at every stage of your NP career.

Professional Development Tools From AANP

Next Steps

By now, you may have decided that this career path is right for you. If you are not already a member of AANP, you should consider joining to gain access to:

¹ 2020 AANP National NP Sample Survey: Practice.