What is the job of an Acute Care Registered Nurse?

Acute care registered nurse

Introduction and job Description

An Acute Care Registered Nurse is a nursing professional, who provides care for patients with sudden and short-term illnesses or injuries, or chronic medical conditions. Acute care nurse practitioners’ scope of work differs from that of a primary nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and other nurse practitioners. They provide care for their patients with acute conditions rather than managing their health over a lifetime. Acute Care Nurses work in emergency settings and inpatient settings, and they can also specialize in adult care, children’s care, or emergency patients.

The role of an Acute care nurse practitioner is to examine, diagnose, and treat patients with serious diseases and trauma. They evaluate patient conditions, educate patients and their relatives about medical options, prescribe drugs and treatments, and perform other duties to support patients. They work together with other physicians and other healthcare practitioners to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care to their patients.

Although the role of an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner differs from that of a Primary Care Physician, they perform similar roles to that of a primary care physician. They diagnose and treat common illnesses, manage chronic medical conditions, and refer patients to other specialists when necessary.

 What is Acute Care?

Acute care is an aspect of health care where patients receive active and short-term treatment for a condition, including treatment for severe injuries, illnesses, emergency medical conditions, or pre-surgical and post-surgical conditions. Acute Care services are also often rendered in trauma wards, Emergency wards, and others. It is always, however, considered short-term; the opposite of Acute care is chronic care. Acute care is carried out in a hospital setting or clinic setting by experienced health practitioners, who can diagnose, care, treat and prescribe medications for a wide range of conditions, diseases, and injuries. An acute care hospital is also one of the major hospitals in the United States healthcare system.

Responsibilities and Key Duties of an Acute Care Nurse 

Just like other Healthcare professions, Acute care nurses also perform several duties and tasks such as:

  • They perform administrative duties and support other medical professionals, such as medical doctors and medical consultants.
  • Evaluate, assess, and monitor patient health conditions.
  • They check for vital signs and arrange and interpret diagnostic tests.
  • They also develop treatment plans, administer intravenous drips, injections, or other types of medication
  • Interact with patients and also their family relatives
  • Teach other health workers or staff members.
  • They perform administrative tasks, such as patient admission, patient transfer, and discharge of patients.
  • Refer patients to other specialists for consultations and treatments.
  • They also manage patients’ pain and observe patients’ responses to treatments.
  • They treat and dress wounds, skin ulcers, and lacerations.
  • Prescribe drugs and observe patients’ responses, and change prescriptions when necessary.
  • They perform blood and blood products transfusion.
Acute care registered nurse

Qualifications and Skills of an Acute Care Nurse

The following are some of the qualifications and skills of an Acute Care Registered Nurse:

  • Bachelor in nursing science
  • Masters in nursing science
  • Doctor of nursing practice
  • A valid practice license

Other skills include:

  • Good Communication Skills
  • Relational Skills
  • Leadership Skills
  • Empathy
  • Physical Endurance And Stamina
  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Observation skills
  • Decision Making Skills
  • Strong Critical Thinking And Reasoning Skills

Where can an Acute Care Nurse Work?

Acute care nurses can work in a wide range of settings. Such as:

  • Medical centers and state teaching hospitals
  • Acute care hospitals settings
  • Emergency care clinics
  • Outpatient surgery centers and clinics
  • Private clinics
  • Long-term acute care hospitals
  • Nursing care homes
  • As home health service providers
  • Government agencies

Within a setting, Acute Care Nurses can work in units or departments depending on their experience, training, and specialization, such as

  • Surgical floors
  • Pre- and postoperative care
  • Progressive care units
  • Step-down units
  • Oncological care
  • Pediatrics
  • Geriatric care
  • Neonatal care
  • Cardiology


According to Indeed, The average salary for a registered Acute Care Nurse is $56.98 per hour in the United States and $11,250 per annum; their salary also depends on their level of experience and working hours.

In Conclusion

Acute Care Nurses are healthcare practitioners who provide short-term treatments for injuries, illnesses, and diseases. Their role is also to evaluate patient conditions, educate patients and their relatives about medical options, prescribe drugs and treatments, and perform other supporting duties. A good Acute Care Nurse has good communication skills, relational skills, observing skills, Reasoning skills, etc. They can work in different settings such as hospitals, home care facilities, clinics, etc. The job of an Acute registered nurse is, however, a highly rewarding one; if you love the job’s description, go for it and become a registered Acute Care Nurse.

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