What is an Acute Care Nurse?
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.
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. //Amy Smart