Acute Care Nurse Practitioners and Primary Care Nurse Practitioners Differences

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 1
Words: 225
Reading time:
< 1 min
Study level: Master

ACNPs and PCNPCs differences

Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) and primary care nurse practitioners (PCNPs) differ in their scope of practice, training, and practice settings. PCNPs aims at providing continuous care with particular emphasis put on health promotion, treating chronic conditions, and creating long-term relationships with patients and their families (Buerhaus, DesRoches, Dittus, & Donelan, 2015). ACNP’s interventions are often limited to the treatment of exacerbation of chronic diseases or acute traumatic events (Grabenkort, Meissen, Gregg, & Coopersmith, 2017). Training and certificates also differ according to the population the nurse practitioners (NPs) are serving.

ACNPs provide care to patients, who are psychologically unstable, technologically dependent, or critically ill, while PCNPs serve all patients with no emergency health needs (Adell, 2016). Finally, ACNPs usually work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, surgical units, nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities (Grabenkort et al., 2017), while PCNPs work in public health clinics, jail health, rural healthcare facilities, and underserved community health centers.


It is vital to appreciate the difference between the professions to identify the career path. Future NPs need to decide where they prefer to work and whom they want to serve. Depending on this decision, NPs are to select a suitable education program and apply for receiving appropriate certificates. Extensive information about ACNPs and PCNPs will enable nurses to understand their future role and mission.


Adell, D. (2016). Acute care versus primary care nurse practitioners. Web.

Buerhaus, P. I., DesRoches, C. M., Dittus, R., & Donelan, K. (2015). Practice characteristics of primary care nurse practitioners and physicians. Nursing Outlook, 63(2), 144–153. Web.

Grabenkort, W. R., Meissen, H. H., Gregg, S. R., & Coopersmith, C. M. (2017). Acute care nurse practitioners and physician assistants in critical care. Critical Care Medicine, 45(7), 1111–1114. Web.