DNP – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who has completed graduate-level education. All nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed extensive additional education and training in a specialization. A specialization in acute care is the immediate medical care to treat extreme but brief illnesses. Acute care nurse practitioners are qualified to work in a number of facilities and situations. In particular, an acute care nurse practitioner has received national board certification in acute care and is licensed or certified through the state nursing boards.

Overview of a DNP – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program

  • Students learn acute care procedures, which provide direct care to adults who are critically or acutely ill, often for brief periods.
  • Students learn how to apply nursing theory and research, critical thinking, problem solving, and case assessment and management in an acute care environment.
  • Courses teach students about various health conditions and the effects of illness on the lives of the patients and their families.
  • The curriculum prepares students to make prevention, wellness, and patient education priorities and focus on educating patients about their health and encouraging them to make healthy choice.
  • Students also complete clinical work at locations including: specialty clinics, emergency departments, trauma centers, hospital inpatient units, intensive care units, and rehabilitation units.

Steps to Become a DNP Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

  1. Earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
  2. Receive a Registered Nurse Certification.
  3. Enroll and complete a DNP in acute care from an accredited school like Capella University, Georgetown University, Purdue University, South University, or University of Cincinnati.
  4. Obtain DNP certification and proper licensure, which varies by state.

Career Information

The job setting will vary depending on what specific job you get. Private practices, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, hospitals (intensive care unit), neonatal unit, internal medicine clinics, ambulatory care, and family practice offices are all possible options. While it is not often a prerequisite to find a job, membership with a regional or specialty nursing organization can increase your employability. The online community Doctors of Nursing Practice is a great resource for these associations, scholarship and grant information, and other general DNP resources.

The average salary of a DNP varies by location, experience, and the type of employer you have. For more information on your earning potential, please refer to our nursing job outlook page.

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