Acute Care Nurses

Provide advanced nursing care for patients with acute conditions such as heart attacks, respiratory distress syndrome, or shock. May care for pre- and post-operative patients or perform advanced, invasive diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

Median Annual Wage: $66,640

Education: Associate's degree (50%); Bachelor's degree (39%); Master's degree (7%)

Projected Growth: Faster than average (15% to 21%)

Related Job Titles: Clinical Nurse Educator; Nurse Manager; Nursing Director; Progressive Care Unit Registered Nurse; Charge Nurse; Staff Nurse; Charge Nurse, Cardiac Interventional Care; Clinical Educator; Clinical Staff Educator; Preceptor

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Acute Care Nurses.

More Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Careers

  • Manage patients' pain relief and sedation by providing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions, monitoring patients' responses, and changing care plans accordingly.
  • Document data related to patients' care including assessment results, interventions, medications, patient responses, or treatment changes.
  • Assess urgent and emergent health conditions using both physiologically and technologically derived data.
  • Administer blood and blood product transfusions or intravenous infusions, monitoring patients for adverse reactions.
  • Diagnose acute or chronic conditions that could result in rapid physiological deterioration or life-threatening instability.
  • Assess the impact of illnesses or injuries on patients' health, function, growth, development, nutrition, sleep, rest, quality of life, or family, social and educational relationships.
  • Interpret information obtained from electrocardiograms (EKGs) or radiographs (x-rays).
  • Obtain specimens or samples for laboratory work.
  • Collaborate with patients to plan for future health care needs or to coordinate transitions and referrals.
  • Refer patients for specialty consultations or treatments.
  • Set up, operate, or monitor invasive equipment and devices such as colostomy or tracheotomy equipment, mechanical ventilators, catheters, gastrointestinal tubes, and central lines.
  • Discuss illnesses and treatments with patients and family members.
  • Distinguish between normal and abnormal developmental and age-related physiological and behavioral changes in acute, critical, and chronic illness.
  • Collaborate with members of multidisciplinary health care teams to plan, manage, or assess patient treatments.
  • Assess the needs of patients' family members or caregivers.
  • Perform administrative duties that facilitate admission, transfer, or discharge of patients.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in acute care.
  • Provide formal and informal education to other staff members.
  • Treat wounds or superficial lacerations.
  • Participate in patients' care meetings and conferences.
  • Participate in the development of practice protocols.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Acute Care Nurses.

  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Acute Care Nurses.

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