What do ER and Acute Care NP's Do?

Specialties NP


Hello all,

I am currently a Junior undergrad (Psych. major) and have only recently decided to go to nursing school after graduation. I am looking at two types of programs- accelerated BSN and Direct-Entry MSN. I am currently and EMT and have a strong passion for emergency medicine. Can anyone tell me if it is possible for NP's to work in an ER? Where do Acute Care NP's usually work? What can ER and Acute Care NP's do in terms of assesment and treatment of pt's (compared to RN's and MD's)? Any information would be greatly appreciated.



204 Posts

Correction: I am currently an EMT...sorry about the grammer


273 Posts

hi, i am not sure there is an actual program for er np's.

acute care np usually are hospital based. i work as the house officer.

in my role i do everything (and that is not always a good thing).

the most advanced thing that i do routinely is intuabtion and central line insertion. the most advanced thing i've done with supervision is chest tube insertion/swan ganz.

my job in the hospital is a lot of fun but it can be unpredicatable and because people don't always understand the role you are called for everything.

good luck


22 Posts

There are two ER NP programs that I know of. One is in Houston and the other one in Chicago.


629 Posts

I am an ACNP as well as a FNP.

Doc and I see pts in the office, and should they need admitted, doc or myself will follow them in the hospital.

We both, also come into ER and treat our pts should one arrive with a problem.

Additionally, he and I both (on the same night/day...never apart) work ER giving 12hrs coverage 1 weekend per month. We're also starting to work a few 8hr shifts during the week, after office hours.

As far as skills, I do anything and everything. Intubate, C-line, swanz, chest tube, and various centesis.

I do this without any supervision.

Well, correction. I would be permitted to do this w/o supervision. I do not perform peri-cardiocentesis, and rarely any other centesis w/o having doc there.

Even MD Terminator has something that freakes HIM out :)

David Adams, ARNP


Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

We have 2 FNP's working at our community clinic. They have no hospital privileges at all. Is this common?


629 Posts


Depending on where you are, NPs may not get privilages, may have to be supervised, or may be able to function ind.


Specializes in CCU (Coronary Care); Clinical Research.

Along the same lines--are there any NPs that are "specialized" to work in a critical care area?? We have PA and RN first assist that work in our unit...if I were an NP would I just have to find a group of intensivists to work with? Are there any specialized programs? I currently work in an cardiac critical care unit, medical and surgical. After I get a few more years of experience under my belt, I would like to continue my education, however the thought of office hours/population doesn't seem like what I want to do. ER would be interesting too, it actually sounds a little more what I am looking for...Any thoughts/suggestions or ideas for experience prior to schooling?

Specializes in Critical Care, ER.
Originally posted by MD Terminator


Depending on where you are, NPs may not get privilages, may have to be supervised, or may be able to function ind.


So where are the places where NPs in ERs have a maximum amount of support/ powers (for lack of a better word at this exact moment)?

kc ccurn

243 Posts

I have been a ICU RN for almost 12 years now and am going back to school for MSN/FNP. My plans after graduation are to work for our pulmonary group that works in our ICU to round on their ICU patients. It is a pretty new position in our hospital that is just now starting to figure out how NP's fit into the scheme of things. I am excited about this new role!

My question is this, does anyone know if it is possible to sit for both the FNP and ACNP certification exams if my MSN program had only a FNP emphasis?

Thanks, any advice is very much appreciated!



446 Posts

It was possible in the past to write the ACNP exam when you did the FNP tract. No longer....to sit for ACNP cert, one must have taken the ACNP educational tract. Similarly, an ACNP could not sit for the FNP cert without the FNP education.


62 Posts

In my hospital we have a NP in the ER. I work OB so I never see her but I've heard she sees pts just like the md. A nurse I work with said her mom saw her for a laceration and the NP sutured her.

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