A Registered Nurse in Acute care falls under the broader category of secondary care – the stage after primary care (when a patient makes first contact with medical professionals). Acute care involves the treatment of patients diagnosed with short term but serious conditions – and might take place in a number of clinical settings like Accident & Emergency, Intensive Care and Neonatal Care. Typical medical conditions an acute care nurse may be called upon to treat range from severe injury and chronic illness, to strokes and infectious diseases.
Like other nursing roles, acute nurses work with patients, perform administrative tasks and assist other medical professionals, like doctors and consultants. A typical day might include:
- The assessment and monitoring of patient conditions
- Checking symptoms and vital signs and arranging diagnostic tests
- Developing on-going care plans
- Administering intravenous drips or different types of medication
- Checking and using specialised equipment such as monitors and ventilators
As an acute nurse working in hospital wards, no two days will ever be the same – and you should expect surprises. Acute nurses may be first on the scene when a patient’s condition changes – for better or worse – and should be prepared to administer emergency first aid. Conversely, acute nurses deal frequently with patients whose conditions are improving – which could mean contacting family members and support services or arranging transfer to different facilities.