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I’m studying for my Nursing class and need an explanation.

A Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) are both individuals who have been educated, licensed and now take care of patients within their respective scopes of practice. The difference between the two is the Acute Care Nurse Practitioners are licensed to take care of persons who are critically ill, medically unstable with complex diseases and who are highly vulnerable to complications. According to Haut and Madden (2015), ACNPs provide nursing care across the continuum of acute care services to patients who are acutely and critically ill with a focus on stabilization of acute medical problems, prevention, and management of complications, comprehensive management of injury and/ or illness, and restoration to maximum health. Primary Care Nurse Practitioners are licensed to provide care to persons with acute or chronic illnesses over a period of time. Primary Care Practitioners deal with assessing, diagnosing and treating individuals while promoting screenings and educating their patients. I believe the biggest difference is not in the care they provide, but the population they provide the care to. According to Fraser and Melillo (2018), expanding the scope of practice for Primary Care Practitioners would benefit the patient, public, local business communities, and states. Studies have revealed states may benefit greatly by increasing coverage and maintaining quality of care while reducing costs by millions. This is important to know as we move from being an RN to NP because there is a shift in the role. As an NP, we take on more responsibilities and utilize the specialized knowledge and clinical competencies learned into these new roles. There is a growing need for NPs and Kraus, DuBois, and DuBois (2017) stated NPs are the future of nursing. NPs can provide about 90% of primary care services which normally are provided by physicians, with at least comparable outcomes, and at a lower cost.


Fraser, M. A., & Melillo, C. (2018). Expanding the scope of practice of APRNs: A systematic review of the cost analyses used. Nursing Economic$, 36(1), 23–28. Retrieved from

Haut, C., & Madden, M. (2015). Hiring appropriate providers for different populations: Acute care nurse practitioners. Critical Care Nurse, 35(3), e1-8.

Kraus, E., DuBois, J., & DuBois, J. M. (2017). Knowing your limits: A qualitative study of physician and nurse practitioner perspectives on NP independence in primary care. JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine, 32(3), 284–290.

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