Acute Care Nurse

Educate and care for patients during unexpected and serious illnesses.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$44,000 – $95,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Acute Care Nurses do?

Unexpected and serious illnesses—known as acute illnesses—leave patients scared and confused. They might wake up in the hospital after a heart attack, or find themselves in the operating room to have their appendix removed. The Acute Care Nurse on duty watches over and cares for these patients—like a guardian angel—to make their stay as pleasant as possible.

The illnesses suffered by patients of an Acute Care Nurse leave them stressed and upset, which only makes the illness worse. But it doesn’t need to be a life or death situation. As an Acute Care Nurse, your medical knowledge and sense of compassion helps you calm and comfort your patients during their hospital stay. As you make your rounds through the hospital, you run diagnostic tests on patients, administer medications, and—most importantly—make them smile.

While it’s up to the Doctor to make an official diagnosis, you act as the heart and soul of the hospital. Doctors spend their time reviewing information and finding out how to save the patient’s life, but you are the one who explains this to the patient and takes the scare factor out of being in a hospital. You answer their questions about tests or medical procedures, and ensure they understand their at-home treatment plans when they leave. When they get well and go home, they’ll swear they’ve met an angel.

Should I be an Acute Care Nurse?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist

    How to become an Acute Care Nurse

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