An acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse that has earned either their MSN or DNP degree and has achieved board certification in the field of acute care.
NP’s who work as ACNP’s have taken post graduate education in the field of acute care.
Classroom study and lectures educates ACNP’s on how to properly assess and provide short-term treatment to patients suffering from severe injuries or illnesses until the patient is stable and able to operate on his/her own.
While ACNP’s provide specialized medical care for patients suffering from injuries or illnesses these types of practitioners focus on short-term health care where a patient is able to operate on their own after a short amount of time and is very different from chronic care which focuses on long-term patient care and treatments.
Because of the extensive amount of education and specialized training acute care nurse practitioners receive they have the ability to diagnose their patients ailments and treat an assortment of injuries and illnesses within the spectrum of their practice.
They can also prescribe special medications, perform screenings exams, provide x-rays, assign patients to rehabilitation programs, open their own clinics and become primary health care providers for their patients.
What are an acute care nurse practitioners responsibilities?
Some of the duties acute care nurse practitioners in charge of include diagnosing and treating their patients medical condition (within their field of speciality), reviewing their patients medical history (to ensure that the patient receives proper medical care and that treatment is safe), prescribing medications (related to their field of expertise), take x-rays, perform screenings, researching the newest and latest medical procedures in order to advance their knowledge, performing physical exams and prescribing rehabilitation therapy to patients in need of rehabilitation as well as other medical related tasks.
Where do acute care nurse practitioners work?
ACNP’s can be found working in a number of health care settings including hospitals, walk in clinics, community clinics, nursing homes, urgent care centers, doctor offices, nurse practitioner offices, health care centers, research facilities and several other health care facilities within the private and public sectors of health care.
How much do acute care practitioners earn?
The amount of income an acute care nurse practitioner is able to earn over the course of a year varies depending factors such as what state the practitioner works in, how any hours the ACNP works, how many patients the ACNP treats, any overtime they have acquired, any benefits and incentives they earned and any agreements that were made between the ACNP and their employer.
One of the most influential factors of determining an ACNP’s salary has to do with what state they operate in.
An ACNP that operates in high metropolis areas such as New York, N.Y. may end up with a salary of $70,000 – $190,000 per year or more, while ACNP’s who work in Wyoming may earn a salary of around $50,000 – $150,00 per year.
These salaries may not account for any additional bonuses that the ACNP has acquired over the course of the year.
While ACNP’s that work in large cities may make more money than ACNP’s that work in smaller states/cities they generally have a higher cost of living so the increase in salary may be used to help offset the higher cost of living higher paid ACNP’s have to compensate for.
How do I become an acute care nurse practitioner?
Those who have decided to specialize in the field of acute care begin their journey by earning their BSN degree and gaining experience in the registered nursing field.
Once you’ve spent a year or 2 working as a registered nurse you’ll want to choose a masters program with a focus on acute care from an accredited nursing institute.
Most ACNP programs are 1 & 1/2 – 2 years long and require students to acquire 600 hours of supervised clinical work in order to earn their masters degree (MSN) before they are able to begin practicing as an ACNP.
Students will receive a number of different training materials that may include textbook material, educational video’s, practice simulations, classroom lectures/seminars and internships/apprenticeships.
At the end of your college program it is important that you maintain both your registered nurse license and ACNP certification in order to begin working as an acute care nurse practitioner.
Tip: Some aspiring NP’s may choose to work as a registered nurse upon earning their BSN (and some NP program may require RN’s to work for 1 or 2 years) in order to gain vital experience and training in the acute care field before deciding to go back to school earn their MSN or DNP and start their career as an acute care nurse practitioner.
By educating yourself about the field ahead of time and gaining work experience you’ll not only have an educational advantage when going back to school for your MSN or DNP, you’ll also have a fundamental understanding of the field and will be able to better determine whether or not becoming a ACNP is right for you.
Note: It is possible that by the year 2015 all NP programs will require students to earn their DNP degree before they can begin working as a licensed nurse practitioner.