Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (PNP-AC) specialty prepares graduates for the advanced practice role of providing complex, comprehensive care to infants, children, adolescent and young adults. With a foundation in primary care and the study of more complex acute or chronic health conditions, there is an emphasis on integrating current evidence-based research, family-centered care, and cultural humility into clinical practice.

Yale School of Nursing announces a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care Specialty designed especially for registered nurses beginning in the fall of 2021. 

Applicants must be a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor’s Degree to be eligible for the Master’s Degree in Nursing or a Registered Nurse with a Master’s Degree in Nursing (PNP primary care, Pediatric CNS, Neonatal NP) to be eligible for a Post Master’s Certificate.

Students cannot enter as part of YSN’s Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program.

The Academic Experience


Students may elect full time or part time study to meet the needs of the individual student to balance work, school and home. A Post-Master’s Certificate program of study is also available for nurse practitioners who have already completed a master’s degree in another specialty. Graduates will have a gap analysis performed to determine their initial plan of study.

Students typically attend classes two days a week in the first year of the program and Thursdays in the second year, but this is subject to change as needed.  Clinical assignments are scheduled throughout the week and vary depending on proximity, preceptor availability and didactic courses.

Didactic Coursework

Core courses: Students participate in several core didactic courses with their peers from all the other YSN Specialties.  These courses include Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Community Health, Statistics and Research for Evidence-Based Practice, and Transitions to Professional Practice.  Several courses also include students from other specialties who will provide care to pediatric and adolescent patients and their families. 

Specialty courses:  Pediatric specific didactic and clinical courses begin in the first specialty year and continue throughout the four semesters.  Clinical placements are intended to augment what is taught in the classroom.  Students also participate in clinical conferences to discuss current practice issues and their clinical encounters.  

Concentrations:  YSN offers students additional training in concentrations.  Current concentrations include Diabetes Care, Oncology, Gender and Sexuality Health Justice, and Research.  Students must apply during their first specialty year to participate in one of these concentrations.

YSN students are also encouraged to participate in additional courses offered at YSN and across Yale campus to augment the Yale educational experience. In the recent past, students have taken courses offered at the School of Public Health, Divinity School, Law School and Medical School. Language courses are also a popular option for students.

Specifics of the program course of study:

  • Students may elect for full or part-time course of study
  • Students cannot enter as part of YSN’s Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program.
  • Students may choose this program as a Post-Master’s Certificate

The Clinical Experience

Each student, throughout the two years, provides acute, complex and chronic illness health care for infants through adolescence in a variety of care setting including pediatric intensive care units, inpatient settings, neonatal intensive care unit, specialty clinics, and emergency departments. Clinical practice experiences occur at a variety of hospitals in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Students may also elect to complete clinical experiences, in their final semester, outside the area, if clinical sites are available. All PNP-AC students complete a minimum of 604.5 pediatric clinical practice hours in addition to observational experiences, clinical case discussions, simulation experiences, and physical assessment laboratory hours. The PNP Preceptor Liaison and Clinical Site Coordinator, in conjunction with the faculty, arrange all the clinical experiences to best meet the needs of each student.

Who Should Apply?

Who is the ideal candidate? What do we look for in applications?

Applicants should have a strong interest in providing acute, complex, and chronic illness health care for infants through adolescence. This specialty is designed for entering RN students who also hold a baccalaureate degree in any field and have one to two years of acute pediatric inpatient experience, preferably in the emergency department or intensive care unit.

Can I work as an RN while I am in the PNP-AC Specialty? 

Students may elect to work as a RN part-time or per diem throughout the program.

What do students typically do the summer between the 1st and 2nd specialty years?

PNP-AC students often work full-time as a RN during the summer at a camp or health care agency. Students may also elect to complete acute care clinical experiences during the summer.

Volunteer opportunities

•      YSN Student Government Organization (SGO)

•      Have Bones Will Travel

•      HAVEN Free Clinic

•      Neighborhood Health Project (NHP)

•      Poverty Alleviation through Washing Soles (PAWS)

•      Planned Parenthood

•      Yale Day of Service

What are the differences in the role of a PNP-PC versus PNP-AC?

As a pediatric nurse practitioner, there are two tracks of study: acute care and primary care. Primary care providers focus on health promotion and prevention, providing well visits, management of acute illnesses and chronic health problems. Primary care providers can work in private practice, community health centers, urgent clinics, or outpatient clinics. Acute care providers focus on caring for complex chronic and critical illnesses. Acute care PNPs can work in the ED, ICU, inpatient or outpatient specialty practices.



The PNP-AC curriculum is intended to prepare students to apply for Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certification in acute care through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).

Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, 9605 Medical Center Drive, Suite 250, Rockville, Maryland 20850. Phone: (301) 330-2921, 888-641-2767, Fax: 301-330-1504

Yale University is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission to conduct practice experiences in the state of Washington for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Master’s program.


The master’s degree program in nursing at Yale School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

PNPAC - Faculty

specialty director: 

Nancy Cantey Banasiak, DNP, PNP, PPCNP-BC, APRN

faculty who teach in the acute care pediatric nurse practitioner specialty

Lauren Flagg, DNP, MSN, APRN, CPNP-AC

Alison Moriarty Daley, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAAN