Experienced nurses can find several highly ranked schools that offer programs that enable them to redirect their careers toward the particular subfield of acute care nursing.
Top 10 Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Schools
According to the 2016 rankings of U.S. News and World Report, these are some of the best acute care nursing schools in the country:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||4-year, Private||$38,060|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||$1,568 per credit|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, MD||4-year, Private||$36,216|
|Rush University||Chicago, IL||4-year, Private||$947 per credit|
|University of Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh, PA||4-year, Public||$37,392 in-state, $43,290 out-of-state|
|Vanderbilt University||Nashville, TN||4-year, Private||$1,219 per credit|
|Columbia University||New York, NY||4-year, Private||$1,408 per credit|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland, OH||4-year, Private||$1,891 per credit|
|University of Maryland--Baltimore||Baltimore, MD||4-year, Public||$682 per credit in-state, $1,252 per credit out-of-state|
|University of California-San Francisco||San Francisco, CA||4-year, Public||$26,803 in-state, $39,048 out-of-state|
Source: *U.S. News and World Report
School Selection Criteria
These are some things to consider as you choose a nursing school that offers programs in acute care nurse practitioner:
- Acute care nurse practitioners must be certified, which can only be obtained by passing the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (ACNPC) examination, so it is important to look for a program that prepares students for this exam.
- Consider the program prerequisites for the different types of program: a post-master's certificate program requires that students be licensed registered nurses, possess a master's degree in nursing and have completed nursing experience of at least one year; a master's degree program requires students to possess a nursing bachelor's degree and have one year of experience.
- Find out what proportion of the coursework is dedicated to clinical work.
- Find a program that fits your schedule. The didactic portions of acute care nursing certificates and degrees are sometimes offered online, at night or on weekends and these alternative schedules may permit students to continue working while completing their classroom studies.
Master of Science in Nursing - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Students in these 2-year programs complete approximately 45-credit hours of courses. Clinical rotations may include oncology and neurosurgery. Students must also complete a comprehensive exam, research project or thesis paper.
Post-master's Certificate in Acute Care Nursing
Consisting of 27-45 credit hours, these programs require a year of study. Clinics are held in emergency rooms, intensive care units and rehab offices. Some programs allow learners to specialize in a specific area of acute nursing such as cardiology or digestive health. Students learn how to assess critically ill patients.
Aspiring acute care nurses can get the necessary training by enrolling in an accredited program that offers strong classroom-based training and hands-on clinical experience.