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How Much Can an Acute Care Nurse Earn?

Career News July 24, 2013

Acute care nurses are nurse practitioners. The nurse practitioner was ranked fourth place out of fifty in 2009 on a high profile economy site. Practitioners cite general job and intellectual satisfaction, as well as a sense of fairness in work versus pay.

Acute care nurses perform duties related to post-surgery follow-up on an in-patient or out-patient basis. These are short-term duties that require diagnostic interpretation of patients progress after the initial work is done by a physician. They can perform most procedures up to, but not including surgical procedures. The job of an acute care nurse can be challenging, but the compensation can support a sturdy and healthy standard of living.

Education Requirements

Acute care nurses have to fulfill the general requirements of a registered nurse and then continue on to a master’s program that has clinical hours for acute care. Upon completion, the nurse goes from RN (registered nurse) to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing). The six-digit surgical nurse salary starts with the proper education.

Cost of Nursing Programs

The cost for a Master’s of Science in Nursing program will range anywhere from $10,000 for the most economical programs to $50,000 for the most comprehensive or prestigious programs. Some programs are specific to one area of concentration or specialty; for example, acute care or midwifery. Other programs offer the full gambit of programs.

Gauging the Investment against the Pay-out

Studying to become an acute care nurse is a great monetary investment because of the pay out. An MSN with a concentration in acute care will pay for itself after one to two years. Because acute care nurses are nurse practitioners, the acute care nurse or surgical nurse salary range in the upper ten percent of what nurses will make in the course of a year.

Surgical Nurse Salary

Acute care nurses are classified as nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are the highest paid of all nurses. Average earnings for an acute care nurse land at approximately $90,000 annually. The acute care nurse can expect to start out in the low $70,000’s in regard to pay. But, like other career, nurse practitioners can earn upwards of $100,000 per year.

Shift Hours and Work Environment

Acute care nurses, unlike other nurse practitioners will work on rotating shifts and work on call. They will work on-site in hospitals as their responsibilities will begin while the patients are still in the hands of the doctor. For some, this can be rewarding as it gives them the opportunity work more as a first responder in regard to the moment of emergency for the patient.

Acute care nurses can also work as highly qualified health educators. They can also offer dietary advice, advise on levels activities and changes in schedules for health reasons. Since the acute care nurses have training and advanced degrees, they will work in a number of educational and research settings. The acute care or surgical nurse salary makes great compensation for a rewarding and demanding job.

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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