Acute Care Nurses


Salary Median (2017)


Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)

+14.8% (faster than the average)

Most Common Level of Education

Associate's Degree


What Acute Care Nurses Do

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.

Other Job Titles Acute Care Nurses May Have

Charge Nurse, Charge Nurse, Cardiac Interventional Care, Clinical Educator, Clinical Nurse Educator, Clinical Staff Educator, Nurse Manager, Nursing Director, Preceptor, Progressive Care Unit Registered Nurse, Staff Nurse

How Leaders Describe a Typical Day at Work

Acute Care Nurse ,

Orange Coast Memorial Hospital

I look at the surgery schedule and patient profile then I contact the patient to confirm their identity. I write up a brief medical history and enter the information into the computer, then I review their chart and make a note of any medications they’re on or illnesses they have. After I collect all this data, I check for abnormalities and it's my job to contact the surgeon or anesthesiologist if there are any concerns.

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • Analyze the indications, contraindications, risk complications, and cost-benefit tradeoffs of therapeutic interventions.
  • Diagnose acute or chronic conditions that could result in rapid physiological deterioration or life-threatening instability.
  • Distinguish between normal and abnormal developmental and age-related physiological and behavioral changes in acute, critical, and chronic illness.
  • Manage patients' pain relief and sedation by providing pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions, monitoring patients' responses, and changing care plans accordingly.
  • Interpret information obtained from electrocardiograms (EKGs) or radiographs (x-rays).

This page includes information from theO*NET 25.0 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.