201 Careers in NursingIn this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

BASIC DESCRIPTION:

Acute care nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who specialize in providing care for acutely ill patients in a variety of settings. The environment in which acute care nurse practitioners function is very intense and dramatic. Some of the characteristics of an acute care nurse practitioner’s work include coordinating patient care, assessing the patient’s health history, ordering diagnostic tests, performing therapeutic procedures, and prescribing medications. Possibilities to work exist in:

  • Emergency rooms
  • Operating rooms
  • Critical care units
  • Transplant units

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

Master of Science in Nursing with advanced practice certification as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner is required. Graduate programs are generally 2 years in length. The number of schools that offer this specialty is limited; therefore, entry into these programs is competitive. Certification is available from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED:

  • Technical competency involving use of complex and computerized equipment
  • Regulating ventilators
  • Hemodynamic monitoring
  • Obtaining blood samples from central IV lines
  • Interpersonal competency dealing with patients and their families in life-threatening situations
  • Ability to work with interdisciplinary teams
  • Extensive experience and expertise in assessing and managing acutely ill patients

RELATED WEB SITES AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: