The purpose of this study was to explore aspects of the acute-care nurse practitioner (ACNP) role. The first certification examination: for ACNPs was administered in December 1995. In January 1996, all applicants were mailed a study questionnaire about their practice. Responses were received from 125 of the 136 applicants (93% response rate). Work settings included hospital-based specialty and unit-based areas, urgent-care centers, and multipractice clinics. Predominant rote components were conducting histories and physical examinations, prescribing treatments and performing therapeutic procedures. All though long hours, resistance and uncertainty about the role, and perceived low salary exist, advantages identified reflect the role’s autonomy, broad scope of practice, and contributions to collaborative care. Further exploration of roles, practice issues, and outcomes of care will provide additional information about this new practitioner in advanced practice nursing.

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