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Post-Graduate Certificate Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) program?
  2. What is the focus of the PGC program?
  3. What does the PGC program curriculum entail?
  4. What are the qualifications for a Preceptor/Mentor?
  5. What are the PGC intensive requirements?
  6. What is an APRN?
  7. What is a PGC?
  8. Why would I choose a PGC?
  9. Can I obtain a PGC while also seeking a DNP academic degree?

What is the Post-Graduate Certificate (PGC) program?

The PGC program provides clinical practice education for those whom have already achieved an MSN, DNP or PhD academic degree and who are seeking board-certification eligibility as a nurse practitioner in a population of focus (i.e., adult-geriatric, family, pediatric, psychiatric mental health, or women's health).

What is the focus of the PGC program?

The PGC is for advanced nurses who are in direct or indirect clinical practice. The focus of the PGC is to provide nurses with additional education in the areas of advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment, clinical diagnostics, and population-specific education and residency experiences. The PGC education provides a graduate level of individual patient care training in the nurse practitioner (NP) role. To obtain the PGC, students must complete a minimum of 18 graduate nursing credit hours and 600 clinical practice hours (residency). Upon completion of the program, the PGC will be eligible to apply for a board-certification examination.

What does the PGC program curriculum entail?

There are six different populations of focus that are available:

  • Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care

In addition to rigorous course work, the PGC is expected to complete at least 600 residency hours at one or more practice sites under the supervision of an experienced preceptor. Students who are already practicing advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) may be eligible for some residency hour credit. The area emphasis coordinator and the PGC/DNP program director will determine any residency hour credit given. Simulation training experiences may not apply towards residency hours as all residency hours must be direct patient care.

UMSL College of Nursing (CON) will assist students in finding residency sites; however, a student may choose to find their own preceptor and site. All preceptors and sites will need approval from the faculty member overseeing the residency.

What are the qualifications for a Preceptor/Mentor?

  • All preceptors must have at least one-year experience in their role.
  • All preceptors must be licensed and credentialed within the state of the practice site
  • At least half of the acquired residency hours must be with an APRN.
  • All preceptors must complete a "Preceptor Agreement" and be approved by the residency faculty, area emphasis coordinator, or PGC/DNP program director.

What are the PGC intensive requirements?

The PGC student must attend intensives associated with certain courses. Intensives are a three-day on-campus training experience using simulation and other training modalities. While all PGC students are invited to attend any or all of the intensive, the minimum requirements are:

  • For PGC students who are already an APRN
    • Wednesday only of Intensive #1 (Orientation)
    • Friday only of Intensive #3 (if taking Clinical Diagnostics course)
    • Friday only of Intensive #4 (Diagnosis and Management 1 course)
    • Friday only of Intensive #5 (Diagnosis and Management 2 course)
  • For PGC students who are not already an APRN
    • Wednesday only of Intensive #1 (Orientation)
    • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of Intensive #2 (Advanced Health Assessment course)
    • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of Intensive #3 (Clinical Diagnostics course)
    • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of Intensive #4 (Diagnosis and Management 1 course)
    • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of Intensive #5 (Diagnosis and Management 2 course)

What is an APRN?

The advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) includes four roles: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist. To become an APRN, one must have an advanced academic degree and have the education and training in one of six populations of focus: adult-geriatric, family, neonatal, pediatric, psychiatric mental health, or gender-related (i.e., women's health). The UMSL CON offers the NP role in five of these populations.

What is a PGC?

A certificate is not an academic degree; rather, it is an official portal for obtaining the necessary advanced education and training for the NP role in a specified population of focus. Upon completion of a PGC, the student is eligible to apply for board-certification as an NP. Depending on your previous academic transcripts, the PGC program generally takes one to two years, part-time to complete. An individualized plan of study (POS) will be created for you.

Why would I choose a PGC?

The PGC is for nurses with an advanced academic degree who are seeking to become an NP or who are already practicing as an APRN, but are seeking an additional certification as an NP in another population of focus. The National Council on the State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) require APRNs to practice only in the populations of focus for which they have been educated and trained; hence, an FNP practicing in a psychiatric practice is not adequately educated and trained in psychiatric mental health issues unless the FNP has also been trained and certified as a PMHNP.

Can I obtain a PGC while also seeking a DNP academic degree?

Yes. The UMSL CON has a plan of study (POS) for those who have an advanced academic degree who are seeking a PGC while completing their doctoral degree. Generally obtaining a PGC with the DNP academic degree will take three years, part-time. The PGC will be obtained prior to completion of the DNP degree allowing the student to apply for the board-certification exam as soon as the necessary course and residency hours are completed (at the end of year two).