Of the many future nursing leaders who walk across a stage to receive a cherished diploma from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, few get to make history before they’ve even returned to their seats.

It happened this past winter for seven newly minted graduates of the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program. The entire class, six earning an MSN and one completing the Post MSN Accelerated AG-ACNP option, had participated in pilot testing of the new AG-ACNP exam and–though they didn’t know at the time–had passed with flying colors.

That word came just before the ceremony to Julie Stanik-Hutt, PhD, ACNP, FAAN, who decided to have a little fun with the magical moment. First, students were acknowledged for demonstrating high professionalism by volunteering to participate in the pilot testing. Then Stanik-Hutt went “off-script” and dropped the surprise--reading the test results aloud to screams and applause.

The students were thus among the first of 82 in the nation to ever walk across the graduation stage as nationally board-certified AG-ACNPs. JHUSON had been one of 10 nursing schools in the United States selected to participate in the testing, offered by the Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation.

“For them, and myself, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Stanik-Hutt. “I am so proud to have been part of their success as they walked across the stage for the first time ever as both nurse practitioner graduates and professionals.”

AG-ACNP is an entry-level advanced practice certification for nurses educated at the graduate level, providing managed care of adult patients with acute and chronic health conditions.

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