Preparation and Evolving Role of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

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Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) are increasingly being employed as members of critical care teams, an outcome driven by increasing demand for intensive care services, a mandated reduction in house officer hours, and evidence supporting the ability of ACNPs to provide high-quality care as collaborative members of critical care teams. Integration of adult ACNPs into critical care teams is most likely to be successful when practitioners have appropriate training, supervision, and mentoring to facilitate their ability to practice efficiently and effectively. Accomplishing this goal requires understanding the educational preparation and skill set potential hires bring to the position as well as the development of an orientation program designed to integrate the practitioner into the critical care team. Pediatric ACNPs are also commonly employed in critical care settings; however, this commentary focuses on the adult ACNP role.

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