Is becoming an acute care nurse practitioner right for me?

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What do acute care nurse practitioners do?
What are acute care nurse practitioners like?

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How to become an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Acute care nurse practitioners are nurse practitioners (NPs) with a specialty in acute care nursing. They must first complete a two- or four-year degree in nursing and be licensed as registered nurses (RNs). Most gain experience as acute care RNs before returning to school to earn an advanced degree and become Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs).

To become an acute care nurse practitioner, you will also need to meet these requirements:

  • You will need to get a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree that includes specialized ACNP coursework. Nursing schools usually offer this degree as a two-year program with about 40 credit hours of coursework, plus hundreds of clinical study hours.
  • If you already have a master's degree in nursing, you may be able to prepare for ACNP certification with a one-year post-master's program.
  • Once you have completed your nursing school training, you must become certified by your State Board of Nursing or receive a national certification from an agency such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.