Mar 18, 2018  
Graduate Record 2011-2012 
Graduate Record 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Specialty Certificate Options - Nursing

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Specialty Certificate options provide MSN-prepared nurses with additional knowledge and skills in a defined specialty area. To be eligible for the specialty certificate programs, applicants must have a master’s degree in nursing or be currently enrolled in UVA Masters specialty track or the PhD or DNP program. Students who complete these tracks are eligible to apply for national certification examinations. The following specialty tracks are offered: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner,  Acute and Specialty Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing, and Public Health Nursing Leadership or Health Systems Management.


Applicants must:

  • Have completed a master’s degree in nursing from a nationally accredited school of nursing; or be currently enrolled in a UVA Masters specialty track or in the PhD or DNP.
  • Submit three satisfactory academic/professional recommendations.
  • Submit a clear statement of educational and professional goals.
  • Submit validation of basic health assessment skills; for NP, CNS, or WOCN tracks.
  • Be available for an interview if requested.
  • Possess an unencumbered RN license in Virginia.

Application Deadlines The School utilizes a rolling admissions process. The completed application and the $60 application fee must be received by March 1 for fall admission. Applications received after the deadlines will be considered if space is available.

All correspondence concerning admission should be addressed to the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Finincial Aid, Office of Admissions and Student Services, School of Nursing, P.O. Box 800826, Charlottesville, VA 22908.

Program Course Work The ratio of clinical hours to credits is 4:1. Courses are taught only if there are a sufficient number of students registering for them. Semester schedules published by UREG (Office of the University Registrar) must be consulted for courses to be offered during a given semester.

Acute/Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Certificate

This program prepares MSN-prepared nurses to work in an advanced practice role in the care of adults with acute and chronic conditions and allows students to determine the focus of his/her specialization (i.e.: cardiology, wound/ostomy/continence, neurology or neurosurgery, general surgery, ER/trauma, pulmonary, transplant, diabetes, geriatrics, etc.) and the areas of practice in which they would like to focus their clinical experiences (critical care, acute care, chronic care).  Emphasis is placed on providing students with advanced theoretical knowledge and practice skills needed to care for patients with complex health needs across the care continuum.  The roles of clinician, educator and researcher, as well as clinical consultant and clinical leader are key aspects of this program.  Evidenced-based practice, outcomes management, clinical research, and advanced clinical decision-making are emphasized.  At the completion of the program, students are qualified to sit for the American Nursing Credentialing Center certification examination for either the Adult Health CNS or Critical Care CNS. 

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Certificate

This track reflects recent developments in the field of health care delivery, creating the need for a new role within advanced practice nursing. The ACNP has a scope of practice beyond that of other acute care positions. ACNPs deliver continuous and comprehensive care within a collaborative model involving patients, families, significant others, nurses, physicians, and other health care providers. The purpose of the ACNP is to provide advanced practice care that meets patient needs across the full continuum of acute, critical, and chronic care services. The short term goal for the ACNP is restorative care, stabilization of the patient, minimizing complications, providing physical and psychological care measures for managing chronic conditions, and assurance of a peaceful death.

Students who complete the track are eligible to take the ANCC examination for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner certification.

Public Health Nursing Leadership Track Certificate

This certificate prepares nurses for specialized practice in promoting the health of individuals, families, groups and populations.  Emphasis is on the development of knowledge and expertise to assess the health status and health delivery systems of populations and to design nursing interventions to better manage care in complex settings. Courses provide the required knowledge and expertise needed to plan, implement, and evaluate care in population settings, including public health departments, schools, home health agencies, and nursing clinics. Care management strategies to assure continuity of health service delivery for individuals and groups at the local and global level are emphasized. International learning experiences are available.  The certificate in Public Health Nursing Leadership is also offered for students who do not live in Central Virginia. In this option, students enroll in 2-4 courses per term and complete most of the course requirements via the internet. Classes meet ‘live’ at the University twice per term (at the beginning and end of the semester).  Upon track completion, students are qualified to sit for the American Nursing Credentialing Center (AANC) certification examination for Clinical Specialist in Community Health Nursing.

Acceptance into the post-master’s Public Health Nursing Leadership certificate requires a Master’s degree in Nursing, including a master’s level course in epidemiology. Students who have not had a course in epidemiology may take GNUR 6052 as part of the certificate program. Five additional courses are required for the post-M.S.N. certificate.

For students who have completed the combined PHNL/NP Master’s track, one course is required for sufficient clinical hours to be eligible for the ANCC certification exam for Community Health Nursing.

Health Systems Management Certificate

This certificate is designed for MSN-prepared nurses wanting the skills and knowledge necessary to assume leadership roles in health systems management. This track provides content fundamental to management, emphasizing development of competencies needed to analyze managerial problems and providing resourceful managerial solutions. Students are given special opportunities to acquire the management knowledge and skill necessary to perform effectively at the business and clinical interface of health care delivery organizations. Students who complete this post-master’s track are prepared to work within a dynamic health care delivery system and to assume leadership positions in a variety of health care settings, including public and private sector hospitals, ambulatory care facilitates, and long-term care faculties.

Acceptance into the HSM track requires a Master’s degree in Nursing.

Required Courses

16 credits, 504 clinical hours

The requirement for completion of Administrative Practicum I and II may be waived if documentation is provided that the individual has held a health care management position for two years within the last five years. The application for waiver must be made at time of admission to the certification program.

Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate

The Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate is designed to provide the MSN-prepared nurse with the necessary skills and knowledge to assume the role of a primary health care provider in various clinical facilities. These skills include psychosocial and physical assessment; identification, screening and triage of acute minor illness; nursing and medical management of commonly encountered acute, minor, and chronic illnesses in collaboration and consultation with a physician; knowledge of community needs and resources available for health promotion; health teaching, guidance, and counseling of clients and their families about illness and its prevention; and health promotion, maintenance, and management.

Other areas explored in this track include the changing health care delivery system; the expanded role of the nurse; and nursing issues, particularly as they relate to nurse practitioner practice, reimbursement, and prescriptive authority. Offerings include family or pediatric nurse practitioner tracks.

An essential part of the nurse practitioner program is the 672-hour clinical preceptorship. This preceptorship is concurrent with the nurse practitioner seminar courses and is arranged at a clinical site that reflects the focus of the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. Due to the program’s focus on rural, underserved populations, at least one of the preceptorships takes place outside of Albemarle County.

The practitioner program is approved by the Joint Committee of the Boards of Nursing and Medicine in Virginia. Students who complete the program are eligible to apply for practitioner certification by this joint committee and are also eligible to sit for national certification examinations.

Family or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate

The student must satisfactorily complete the specific nurse practitioner track and the clinical preceptorship, and have a minimum grade average of B. Students who complete the nurse practitioner program are eligible for national certification exams.

Certificates in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Two Certificates are offered in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing for applicants who are enrolled in, or recently graduated from, an MSN graduate program: The Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHNCS) and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). These certificate tracks are also available for applicants who are enrolled in, or recently graduate from, an MSN graduate program in another nursing specialty. These certificates can also be obtained while enrolled in the School of Nursing Specialty Masters, Doctor of Nursing Practice, or PhD in Nursing program.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitoner Certificate

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate is offered for applicants who already possess a MSN or completed a certificate for the Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist and wish to fulfill the requirements for PMHNP certification. The PMHCNS preparation must have included 500 clinical practice hours. Applicants having fewer than 500 clinical practica hours of PMHCNS preparation will need to complete the remainder of the 500 PMHCNH clinical practica hours within the PMHNP certificate program of studies in addition to the 250 PMHNP clinical practica hours.

22 credits, 250 clinical hours (or more as required)

Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing (WOCN) Certificate

Wound, Ostomy & Continence nursing incorporates principles and practices that promote, maintain and restore health for persons with wounds, ostomies and continence problems throughout their lives. WOC nurses specialize in the care of individuals with disorders of the gastrointestinal track, genitourinary and integumentary systems. The WOC Certificate includes two didactic classes and one practicum. The track meets all requirements by the WOCN specialty organization and thus allows graduates to sit for the certification exam.

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