Students considering online acute care nurse practitioner programs should note that this advanced nursing degree often requires courses that hone clinical and critical skills. These classes are similar to those offered in the online doctor of nursing, or DNP, programs for adult gerontology and pediatric acute care nurse practitioners.


Accredited acute care nurse practitioner online programs train nurses to develop comprehensive, holistic treatment plans for patients suffering from acute and critical conditions. Whether working in the emergency department, Intensive Care Unit, or telemetry, graduates of these programs have the skills to address the most pressing medical needs and improve patient outcomes.

Students enrolled in an online APRN program generally complete core graduate-level nursing classes and classes specific to their concentration. The core curriculum typically includes advanced human physiology, health care policy, and nursing research methods.

Depending on the degree type, online acute care nurse practitioner programs may require 500-1000 clinical practicum hours in acute care settings like ICUs or emergency departments. These clinical rotations may be completed near the student’s home, provided a qualified preceptor is available. This type of flexibility makes online programs an excellent choice for current RNs who want to step up their careers without leaving the comfort of home or changing their work schedules.

Clinical Experience

Online ACNP programs allow nurses to pursue a graduate degree without significantly changing their lifestyle. These programs typically feature a combination of core nursing classes and coursework specific to the NP specialization, such as advanced human physiology, health care policy, and research methods.

Clinical practicums are also a component of these online nurse practitioner programs. Students complete rotations in emergency departments, critical care units, and other acute care environments to gain experience assessing patients with severe, complex medical issues, administering treatment, and coordinating care.

Suppose you’re not interested in an online ACNP program. In that case, you may consider other specialized master’s in nursing degrees such as online family nurse practitioner (FNP) or online psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs. These advanced nursing degrees focus on a similar mix of clinical and critical skills so that they could be suitable alternatives.


In online acute care nurse practitioner programs, students complete clinical practicum rotations in various medical settings, including hospitals, emergency departments, and the telemetry unit. These experiences may involve working with hemodynamically unstable patients, including children and elderly adults, conducting health assessments, and assisting with specific surgical procedures.

Acute care nurse practitioners educate patients and families about health conditions, treatment options, and post-care instructions. As a result, many students pursue an internship to learn more about this field’s medical and nursing aspects.

Finding an internship is easy through resources that specialize in helping college students and recent graduates find opportunities across industries. In addition, some schools provide online internship programs and work with local healthcare facilities to offer on-the-job experience.


Online acute care nurse practitioner programs provide registered nurses with advanced nursing skills, medical knowledge, and critical thinking abilities to serve various healthcare needs. Unlike family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs offering generalist training, these advanced nursing degrees hone in on specific patient populations. Students who choose online ACNP programs typically enroll in adult gerontology or pediatric tracks.

These programs may require on-campus intensives, where students learn hands-on techniques like central line insertion. However, a significant portion of the coursework takes place in a virtual classroom, which is accessible at any time and can fit around a working registered nurse’s schedule.