Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (PNP-AC)


The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care (PNP-AC) provides family-centered care to meet the specialized needs of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with unstable chronic, complex acute, and critical health conditions. PNP-ACs care for pediatric patients with that require complex monitoring and ongoing management of intensive therapies in a variety of settings with a focus on restorative care during rapidly changing clinical conditions. They can be found working closely with interprofessional teams to provide high quality, evidence-based care in areas such as hospital-based pediatric acute care areas, pediatric intensive care units, pediatric cardiac intensive care units, emergency departments, and pediatric specialty practices that manage acutely ill patients across the spectrum of care settings from outpatient, to inpatient, and through discharge.

The PNP-AC specialty prepares clinicians that are responsible leaders in the care of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with chronic, acute, complex, and critical health conditions. Emphasis is placed on developing PNP-AC students’ expertise and accountability in the clinical management of acutely ill pediatric patients in a wide variety of acute care clinical environments where they will work with interprofessional teams to make independent and collaborative decisions in the care of diverse, vulnerable, and underserved children. The UCSF PNP-AC specialty strives to develop students to provide care that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable with the goals of reducing health disparities and improving health care access during pediatric illness.

Graduates of this specialty are leaders in pediatric health care in the Bay Area and beyond. The PNP-AC specialty is the only one of its kind in California.

Certifications and Licenses

Graduates of the PNP-AC specialty are eligible for state licensure and to take the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care (CPNP-AC) national certification examination offered by the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).


Current students can visit the Master of Science program's Collaborative Learning Environment site to access the curriculum (MyAccess credentials required).

For individuals applying for admission for fall 2024, the sample curriculum for the BSN Entry to DNP — Advanced Nursing Focus pathway can be viewed on our Curriculum webpage.

Practice Experience Requirement

Applicants to the UCSF PNP-AC specialty are required to have a minimum of two years of clinical practice in an acute pediatric setting. Review our Application Requirements webpage for a full list of admissions requirements.

Post-Master's Certificate Program

The number of quarters required for the post-graduate PNP-AC specialty varies based on prior graduate preparation and generally requires 3 to 7 quarters of study. Contact the specialty coordinator for consultation on an individualized post-master's curriculum.


Brittany Christiansen, PhD, DNP, CPNP-PC/AC, associate professor - Specialty Coordinator
Mary E. Lynch, DNP, MPH, FAAN, professor
Rebecca Silvers, DNP, CPNP-AC, CCRN
Molly Szuminiski, MS, RN, CPNP
Sandra L. Staveski, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC, associate professor

Contact Us

Specialty Coordinator: Brittany Christiansen, PhD, DNP, CPNP-PC/AC
[email protected]

Administrative Assistant: Griselda Thomas
[email protected]