One of the best and, sometimes, most confusing characteristics of becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) is the ability to work in many types of jobs. However, knowing where you want to work after school can help you to distinguish what type of NP you want to become. Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNP) can work in a wide array of areas, which are typically related to short-term, serious incidences of illness. While job searching, it is important to note that all hospitals have different educational requirements for NPs, therefore, this post is documenting the “typical” jobs for nurse practitioners.
Nothing defines the term “acute” like emergency medicine (EM). While there are specific certifications in EM for NPs, it is not always necessary to work in the emergency room. ACNPs may see a wide array of patients in EM and perform many procedures. However, it is important to note, that if the NP needs to see pediatric patients for the job, she or he would need a certification as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or acute care pediatric nurse practitioner (ACPNP) as well. Licensing as an acute care nurse practitioner only allows one to treat adult patients.
Inpatient and Outpatient Consult Services
Most of the time when there is an inpatient consult service, there is also outpatient clinic followup. Therefore, an ACNP could work in either or both of those settings, which are typically based in a hospital and the hospital’s associated clinic. Inpatient consult services that may include outpatient clinic are:
- Surgery (general, vascular, otolaryngology, neuro, cardiac, colorectal, ortho, and many more)
- General Medical
- Interventional Radiology
Intensive Care Unit
ACNPs often work in intensive care and almost across all states, it is a requirement to be certified as an ACNP to be considered for employment in an intensive care unit (ICU). ACNPs in intensive care units can assess, diagnose, and provide care to ICU patients. Some common procedures performed include central line placement, arterial line placement, and dialysis catheter placement. A number of other procedures can be performed that are ICU specific as well. For instance, a cardiac ICU ACNP may learn to place pulmonary artery catheters. Types of ICUs include medical, surgical, cardiac surgical, cardiac medical, burn, and trauma.
Skilled Nursing Facilities and Rehab Centers
Many skilled nursing facilities house patients that have just been discharged from the hospital and act as an intermediate step from the hospital to home. ACNPs can work in these facilities as many times, they are an extension of inpatient care and similar to the previous jobs listed. Once again, ACNPs are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, ordering labs and imaging, and directing care for each particular patient.
There are many job opportunities for ACNPs. If any of these jobs sound appealing, this may be a direction you want to take your nursing career. If you are studying for your NP board exam, consider using study question banks from BoardVitals: