When students enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, they must choose one area in which to specialize. Most programs include acute care as one of the choices. Acute care is immediate medical care to treat extreme but brief illnesses. Acute care nurses are qualified to work in a number of facilities and situations, including emergency rooms and on ambulances.
Overview of a MSN – Acute Care Program
- Students learn to provide direct patient care to adults with critical and complex illnesses.
- Students learn how to manage patient behavior and how to communicate with family members in highly emotional states.
- Students gain comprehensive knowledge of nursing theory and research, critical thinking, differential diagnosis, problem solving, case analysis and advanced technical skills.
- Most programs require clinical rotations so students learn best care practices and gain hands-on experience.
- Students learn how to integrate the patient’s care across the field of acute care services in association with other health care professionals, families, and patients.
Steps to Become a Acute Care Nurse
- Earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
- Receive a Registered Nurse Certification.
- Enroll and complete a MSN program with a concentration in acute care from an accredited school like Capella University, Georgetown University, Kaplan University, South University, or University of Cincinnati.
- Obtain ACNP certification and proper licensure, which varies by state.
Acute Care Nurse Salary and Career Information
The job setting will vary depending on what specific job you get. Possible options include private practices, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, hospitals (intensive care unit), neonatal unit, internal medicine clinics, ambulatory care, and family practice offices. While it is generally not a prerequisite to find a job, membership with the American Nurses Association (ANA) can increase your employability. Other membership benefits include access to the continuing education library, annual conferences, news updates relevant to the field, savings on ANA books, professional liability insurance, and a vast network to connect with.
The average salary of nurse practitioners 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.