We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Become an Acute Care Nurse?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The title of "acute care nurse" may refer to several different things. This type of nurse can work in acute care settings, often short term settings like hospitals where they give nursing care as needed for injured or very ill patients. The term could be mean acute care nurse practitioner, which requires much greater training and might be geared toward a specific population, like pediatrics. The steps to become an acute care nurse are different depending on what is meant, though most nurses in this field will begin down the same path.

The person who would like to become an acute care nurse attends nursing school or a university that offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing. While it is true that licensed practical or vocational nurses (LPN or LVN) work in acute care settings, they normally are not referred to as acute care nurses. They might be considered LPNs or LVNs working in a department that offers acute care, but less training means they can perform fewer procedures and are supervised.

As stated, the initial step is nursing school, and nurses have opportunities while in school to train in the different areas of nursing. Many decide which area they like best, and depending on training, grades and job availability, once they receive an RN, they may get work in acute care. A lot of nurses stay at this level of degree and provide wonderful healthcare interventions for people who are acutely, as opposed to chronically, ill. Though hospitals might be one area someone who wants to become an acute care nurse could work, other areas could include doctor’s offices, where many of the day’s cases are people who have suddenly become ill with a transient condition. In a doctor’s office setting, there can be some blurring of the lines between chronic and acute care, since even family doctors may treat patients with chronic conditions.

If a nurse decides to become an acute care nurse practitioner (NP), she/he will have more ability to make medical decisions about the acutely ill. These could include diagnosing illnesses, determining a treatment course, performing more complex surgical procedures, or prescribing medications. Typically, after a few years’ work as a nurse, though this isn’t always necessary, nurses will go back to school and obtain either a master’s or doctorate in nurse practitioner training. Many schools specifically offer NP training in acute care and some schools have programs specializing in pediatric acute care.

With a completed graduate school education, the acute care NP also has to choices as to where to pursue work. He/she may do work in acute care or hospital settings or might work in doctor’s offices, medical clinics, or other places, depending on interest. Mostly this work would involve treatment of serious/acute illnesses that can be resolved with NP care, but sometimes people with this designation, especially in pediatrics, may work with patients in hospitals that are chronically ill, and in danger of acute fluctuations in illness.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.