What Does An Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Do?

Acute care nurse practitioners are classified as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). Acute care nurse practitioners may work in intensive care units, trauma units, cardiology departments, and oncology departments. An acute care nurse practitioner is responsible for interpreting diagnostic patient tests, ordering necessary tests, managing care for critical patients, prescribing medications, and educating patients and family members about acute illnesses.

Acute care nurse practitioners are responsible for working with serious or critical care patients. An acute care nurse practitioner will first sit with a patient or family member of the patient to discuss family health history. A patient with acute health issues will be physically examined by the nurse practitioner and determine if any laboratory testing is necessary. Laboratory tests may include urine tests, blood tests, or imaging tests. These tests are typically ordered to determine if a patient’s overall health condition and concerns.

Acute care nurse practitioners will analyze and interpret the testing results in order to determine a medical diagnosis. As an acute care nurse practitioner, you are able to order laboratory exams for patients and prescribe a patient medication. Acute care nurse practitioners work closely with patients in order to provide them with critical care, while collaborating with doctors to formulate a critical healthcare plan for the patient.

Caring for critically-ill or traumatically injured patients can be difficult for any healthcare individual. It is vital for an acute care nurse practitioner to create a customize critical care plan for their patient, while focusing on a patient’s future. Will they heal from the injuries or traumatic event? What can be done for the patient? Questions like these are always in the mind of an acute care nurse practitioner.

For example, if an acute care nurse practitioner is working within an oncology department, he/she may formulate a medication or dietary plan for patients on chemotherapy or radiation. Referrals and coordination of healthcare services are also part of an acute care nurse practitioner’s job responsibilities. Maintaining health records, providing care to advanced critical or chronic conditions, and education is part of an acute care nurse practitioner’s job responsibilities.

Since an acute care nurse practitioner will be prescribing medications and specialized treatment to a patient, they must be extremely detail oriented and attentive to a patient. It will be an acute care nurse practitioner’s responsibility to notice any changes in a patient’s overall health and well-being. The daily environment of an acute care nurse practitioner can vary, depending on the patient and their individual needs. There are many risks associated with being involved within the health care field, such as high levels of stress, exposure to infectious diseases, and risk of injury, if dealing with a combative patient. Furthermore, an acute care nurse practitioner may work long shifts, throughout the holiday season, or be on-call in case of a patient emergency.

An acute care nurse practitioner will have advanced nursing training within the areas of acute care. An acute care nurse practitioner will understand advanced physiology, anatomy, biology, pharmacology, and medical terminology. Furthermore, an acute care nurse practitioner will have advanced clinical training in the areas of mass casualty care, chronic healthcare management, differential diagnosis, and diseases. Acute care nurse practitioners typically hold a senior leadership position within their specific departments or areas of employment; therefore, it is crucial that they show effective leadership skills and compassion to both patients and co-workers.

Career Spotlight: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

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