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Acute Care Nurse Salary Information

Career News August 14, 2013

The median Acute Care Nurse Salary in the United States is $95,441. The average Registered Nurse without the additional training, education and advanced degrees required to become a nurse practitioner earns, on average, over $25,000 fewer.

This information comes from for Nurse Practitioner – Specialty Care, and the website notes that ninety percent of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) earns more than $78,966, while the top ten percent earn over $112,720. The actual pay depends on a number of factors, including location, type of health care facility and level of nurse experience.

What is Acute Care?

ABC News describes acute care as, “A pattern of health care in which a patient is treated for an episode of immediate and severe illness or disability such as the treatment of injuries after an accident or other trauma, or during recovery from surgery. Unlike chronic care, acute care is often short-term.”

Therefore, an ACNP often acts in a similar capacity of a doctor, and often work in collaboration with a physician when treating patients according to

“An Acute Care Nurse Practitioner provides advanced nursing care to patients suffering brief, but severe illnesses, typically in an emergency department, ambulatory care clinic or other short term stay facility,” reports the website.

What Type of Education is required for ACNPs?

An Acute Care Nurse Practitioner is a nurse practitioner that also earns an ACNP-BC certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To become a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse must obtain a master’s degree or a doctorate degree, and the ANCC website provides additional requirements to be met before a nurse is eligible to take the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam.

  • “Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country.
  • Hold a master, post-graduate, or doctorate degree from an acute care nurse practitioner program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours must be included in your acute care nurse practitioner program. The ACNP graduate program must include three separate courses in:
    • Advanced physical/health assessment
    • Advanced pharmacology
    • Advanced pathophysiology
  • AND content in
    • Health promotion and disease prevention, and
    • Differential diagnosis and disease management”

Recertification is required every five years after the ACNP-BC certificate is awarded.

The Future of Acute Care Nurse Practitioners also reports that ACNPs are becoming more and more in demand as additional patients in the U.S. are seeking treatments in emergency rooms or other acute care setting rather than undergoing preventative care. The demand is due to the cost of ACNP care being lower than that of physicians.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the states with the top average salaries for all registered nurses are, in order, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Alaska and Nevada. The BLS does not specify the average acute care nurse salary for each state.

However, it does point the top five states with the highest percentage of registered nurses per thousand jobs. These are South Dakota, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Finally, the BLS lists the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of registered nurses. They are Rochester, Minnesota; Gainesville, Florida; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Morgantown, West Virginia; Jackson, Tennessee; Lima, Ohio; Florence, South Carolina; Cape Girardeau, Montana and Durham, North Carolina.

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