Acute Care Nurses

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Medium Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to 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.

Common job titles of Acute Care Nurses include:

Experience and Education

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

  • 50% said they needed a Associate's Degree.

  • 39.29% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.


    Document data related to patients' care, including assessment results, interventions, medications, patient responses, or treatment changes.

    Perform administrative duties that facilitate admission, transfer, or discharge of patients.

    Discuss illnesses and treatments with patients and family members.

    Obtain specimens or samples for laboratory work.

    Refer patients for specialty consultations or treatments.

    Interpret information obtained from electrocardiograms (EKGs) or radiographs (x-rays).

    Diagnose acute or chronic conditions that could result in rapid physiological deterioration or life-threatening instability.

    Assess the needs of patients' family members or caregivers.

    Collaborate with members of multidisciplinary health care teams to plan, manage, or assess patient treatments.

    Set up, operate, or monitor invasive equipment and devices, such as colostomy or tracheotomy equipment, mechanical ventilators, catheters, gastrointestinal tubes, and central lines.

    Collaborate with patients to plan for future health care needs or to coordinate transitions and referrals.

    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.

    Assess urgent and emergent health conditions, using both physiologically and technologically derived data.

    Manage patients' pain relief and sedation by providing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions, monitoring patients' responses, and changing care plans accordingly.

    Distinguish between normal and abnormal developmental and age-related physiological and behavioral changes in acute, critical, and chronic illness.

    Assist patients in organizing their health care system activities.

    Analyze the indications, contraindications, risk complications, and cost-benefit tradeoffs of therapeutic interventions.

    Order, perform, or interpret the results of diagnostic tests and screening procedures based on assessment results, differential diagnoses, and knowledge about age, gender and health status of clients.

    Prescribe medications and observe patients' reactions, modifying prescriptions as needed.

    Provide formal and informal education to other staff members.

    Treat wounds or superficial lacerations.

    Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in acute care.

    Administer blood and blood product transfusions or intravenous infusions, monitoring patients for adverse reactions.

    Participate in patients' care meetings and conferences.

    Participate in the development of practice protocols.

    Adjust settings on patients' assistive devices, such as temporary pacemakers.

    Perform emergency medical procedures, such as basic cardiac life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and other condition-stabilizing interventions.


Wood’s lamps


Visual acuity charts

Venous Oxygen Saturation SVO2 monitors

Vaginal exam specula

Urine analysis equipment

Urinary catheters

All Tools

Urinalysis test strips

Umbilical catheters

Ultrasound transducers

Transvenous pacemakers

Transport cardiac monitors

Transfer boards

Transcutaneous pacemakers

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment

Traction weights

Tracheotomy sets

Tracheal suctioning equipment


Tongue blades

Thoracentesis trays

Thoracentesis kits

Telemetry monitors

Tablet computers

Swan Ganz artery catheters

Suture removal kits

Surgical staple removers

Surgical scalpels

Surgical razors

Surgical irrigation sets

Straight surgical scissors

Straight hemostats


Specimen collection containers

Specialty patient care beds

Skin staplers


Safety goggles

Ring forceps

Ring cutters

Reflex hammers

Pulse oximeters

Pulmonary artery catheters

Protective medical face masks

Protective gowns

Protective face shields

Pneumatic boots

Pill splitters

Pill crushers

Pericardiocentesis kits

Pediatric crash carts

Patient walkers

Patient restraints

Oxygen flowmeters

Oxygen delivery masks

Oxygen concentrators


Ostomy equipment

Orthopedic splinting equipment

Oral suctioning equipment


Ophthalmic tonometers

Ophthalmic slit lamps

Occlusion clamps

Newborn warming lamps

Nasopharyngeal airways

Nasogastric tubes

Nasal suctioning equipment

Nasal specula

Nasal catheters

Multiple lumen central line catheters

Microscope slides

Medical scales

Medical gurneys

Medical examination protective gloves

Mechanical stethoscopes

Mechanical intermittent positive pressure ventilators

Manual resuscitation bags

Magill forceps

Laptop computers


Laceration repair trays


Intubation sets

Intravenous IV cutdown trays

Intravenous IV administration sets

Intravenous infusion pumps

Intracranial pressure monitors

Incision drainage equipment

Incentive spirometers

Hypodermic syringes

Hyper/hypothermia blankets

Hemodynamic monitors

Handheld nebulizers

Graduated glass laboratory cylinders

Fiberoptic endoscopes

Fetal monitors

Eye lavage kits

Evacuated blood collection tubes

Epidural catheters

Enteral feeding sets

Enema equipment

Endotracheal ET tubes

End tidal carbon dioxide monitors

Electrosurgical cauterization machines

Electronic compressor nebulizers

Electrocardiography EKG machines

Ear curettes

Doppler ultrasound equipment

Digital medical thermometers

Diagnostic tuning forks

Desktop computers


Crash carts

Clinical trapeze traction bars

Chest drains

Cast cutting saws

Cast carts

Cardiac monitors

Bulb syringes


Breast pumps

Blood pressure monitors

Blood glucometers

Blood drawing syringes

Bilevel positive airway pressure BiPAP ventilators



Autotransfusion systems

Automated medicine dispensing equipment

Automated external defibrillators AED

Arterial line catheters

Arterial blood gas testing equipment

Apnea monitors


Alligator forceps


Allscripts Professional EHR

Amkai AmkaiCharts

Bizmatics PrognoCIS EMR

Cerner Millennium

ChartWare EMR

e-MDs software


All Technologies

GE Healthcare Centricity EMR

Medscribbler Enterprise

MicroFour PracticeStudio.NET EMR

NextGen Healthcare Information Systems EMR


StatCom Patient Flow Logistics Enterprise Suite

SynaMed EMR

Texas Medical Software SpringCharts EMR


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.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Teaching others how to do something.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.


Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Operation Monitoring

Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Management of Personnel Resources

Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

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