What Is Acute Nursing Care?


Acute nursing care is short-term nursing care for medical patients with acute or chronic diseases and for surgical patients requiring operations.


  • An acute care nurse may be employed to care for patients sorted by type of treatment (such as those undergoing surgery), a specific health condition (such as cancer), a body system (such as the heart and circulatory system) or a well-defined population, such as older adults.


  • An acute care nurse might work on a general unit known as a "med-surg floor" (the "g" is pronounced like "j") or on a specialty med-surg unit, such as neurosurgery.


  • Regardless of where he is assigned, an acute care nurse will assess his patient to find out what's wrong (e.g., vomiting from influenza), make a nursing diagnosis (e.g., deficient fluid volume), plan care (e.g., encourage oral and IV fluids), provide care (e.g., administer IV) and evaluate the outcome (e.g., normal fluid volume).


  • While medical-surgical nursing units have long been considered a training ground for other nursing specialties, many nurses choose to spend their entire careers as acute care nurses.


  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2006, acute care nurses in the U.S. earned an average salary of $58,550 a year.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of tracy ducasse
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