Adult NP vs Acute Care NP

Specialties NP


Specializes in ICU.

How exactly are they different? Can't seem to find the answer online. Are Adult NPs eligible for certification as Acute Care NP? Which NP is allowed to specialize (ie cardiology, nephro, etc)? :confused: :uhoh3: :confused:

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Adult NPs take the adult NP exam, ACNPs take the ACNP exam - they are two different exams and they aren't interchangeable.

Both types of NPs can specialize.

Specializes in L&D, QI, Public Health.

My understanding is that ACNPs would not be able to do primary care.

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

That is dependent on your states BON. I live in IL and ACNPs can do primary care.

ACNP is Adult Acute Care

ANP is Adult Primary Care

Specializes in ER, HH, CTICU, corrections, cardiology, hospice.

I am an ANP. I can work as an ACNP if the institution is inclined to take me on in that role without certification. When I was getting ready to graduate ANP I was talking to Duke about working in their ICU. I did not follow through though. But they were willing to train me for the position.

Specializes in ACNP-BC, CCRN-CMC (critical care).

ANP and ACNP are not interchangeable in the educational or certification senses. As someone above mentioned, different educational programs, different exams. My understanding is that technically speaking, ACNPs "shouldn't" be doing primary care, nor should ANPs be doing acute care. As an ACNP you are not trained as a primary care provider, and vice versa (or so I understand of ANP programs; my institution titles its ANP clinicals 'Primary Care Residency'). However, as others have mentioned there will be positions that either 'require' or 'prefer' one type of NP or the other who will train the opposite type for their position. I asked this question of the program director of an ACNP program with regard to ACNP vs FNP, ACNP vs ANP, etc. and his answer was simple... one word - liability. Just another angle to consider.

Specializes in Anesthesia, Pain, Emergency Medicine.


The initials do not mean much. If you can show you have the education and/or training you can do it.

Why can't a ACNP not do primary care? Of course they can. The same with an FNP doing acute care or ER, they can and do.

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