How to Select the Right Nurse Practitioner Schools for Acute Care

An acute care NP will provide treatment to patients that are suffering from critical or chronic conditions. These nurse practitioners will work as part of a team, with other nurses and physicians, in order to restore a patient’s health and identify and treat different types of conditions. This field is open to RNs with experience. Post MSN-certificate programs and master’s degree programs are available in this field.

How to Select the Right Nurse Practitioner Schools

When looking for the right program, be sure a program of interest is accredited by the NLNAC or the CCNE.

It’s also important to find out if the completion of a program will make you eligible to sit for the certification exam which is administered by the ACNPC. An acute NP will need to be certified in order to practice in this field.

To qualify for enrollment into post-MSN certificate programs a student will need to be a licensed nurse, have a master’s degree in nursing and a significant amount of field experience. To qualify for enrollment into a master’s degree program a student will need to have obtained the bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Potential students should also research the amount of required clinical hours in a program. These clinical rotations can constitute as much as half of the required credits for certificate or degree programs. A potential student will want to ensure that their schedule allows them to


complete these required field hours. An individual may also want to determine whether programs are available part-time or online. Didactic portions of acute NP certificate and degree programs are available online, on weekends or at night. These options can permit a student to continue working during the day while completing their education at a time that best suits their needs.

Master’s Degree Programs for Nurse Practitioners

The masters of Science degree in nursing for the acute care concentration will require the student to complete around forty-five credit hours of classes. This two year program will include subjects such as ethical decision making, psychiatric management, diagnostic methods and research methods. The clinical rotations can also include neurosurgery and oncology. A student will also need to complete comprehensive exams and a thesis and research project.

The post-MSN certificate program with the acute nursing concentration consists of twenty-seven to forty-five credit hours and takes twelve months to complete. A student will learn about how they can accurately assess a patient and the basics for pharmacology and clinical nutrition. The clinical rotation portion of the program will usually be held in rehab facilities, intensive care units or critical care units in a hospital. Some of these programs will also require a student to specialize in specific areas of acute care nursing, such as digestive health or cardiology.

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