Tennessee Board Of Nursing

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The Tennessee board of nursing was conceived in 1911 by virtue of an Act by the State Legislature.  The goal for the establishment of the board is to ensure that the health, safety, and welfare of nurses in the State are safeguarded properly.  It also aims to make sure that practicing nurses in the State of Tennessee are qualified and properly licensed. 

By law, they are bound to investigate all violations of existing prohibitions as well as issuing disciplinary action to those found guilty.  Some of the common questions associated with the performance of the board are:

  1. How does the board benefit licensed nurses?

Aside from the ability to interpret any existing laws that will determine the appropriate standards for the practice of nursing in the State and causing the investigation of allegations of violations of nurses and imposition of possible civil penalties, the Tennessee board of nursing is also responsible for coordinating with the Tennessee Nurses Foundation.

The goal is to be able to provide professional help for licensed nurses suffering from mental, physical, emotional, or chemical dependency problems.  This allows the nurses to take advantage of monitoring and referral programs to help them tackle their specific dependencies.  This rehabilitation of nurses is made possible by the collection of licensure and renewal fees.

  1. What are the responsibilities of the board?

The main responsibilities of the board center on three main functions, licensure, practice, and education.  This means the board has the power to grant a license to practical nurses, registered nurses, as well as advanced practice nurses.  This is normally done by ensuring that the minimum curriculum for established nursing programs has been met by the candidates. 

It is important to understand that only graduates coming from approved nursing schools will be qualified to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) requirement. The educational responsibility of the board relates to the setting of the minimum curriculum requirements for all programs for nurses. 

This forms the basis for any nursing school to achieve an approval status which will ensure that their graduates will have the chance to take the licensure exams and have a successful career path.  This is done to ensure that the quality of nursing education will be kept at acceptable standards.

In relation to practice, the board of nursing makes sure that the law is equally and fairly implemented to all concerned.  This not only ensures that the standard of practice is kept, but also gives all nurses equal footing in the eyes of the law regardless of their actual position in the healthcare industry.  The spirit is to ensure that equal protection is accorded every licensed nurse in the State of Tennessee.

  1. How many members does the Tennessee board of nursing have?

The current membership of the board of nursing is eleven.  All of the members have to be appointed by the Governor of the State and are bound to serve for a minimum of four years or until a successor has been appointed in their place.  Among the membership, five are registered nurses, three are licensed practical nurses, two are advanced practice nurses, and one is considered as a consumer member.

The consumer member of the board is not a nurse and is likewise not part of the healthcare or medical industry.  The membership of the board can be nominated by the various organizations of the field during their regular meetings.

  1. What are the targets of the board of nursing?

The target of the board of nursing should be viewed from the point of its vision for a safe nursing practice.  Although it is true that many may not care for the vision and mission of the board, and believe that it stands only for the needs and protection of nursing professionals, the truth is that this is extremely false.

It should be understood that the establishment of the board of nursing is a worthwhile endeavor of the Department of Health of the State of Tennessee to ensure that nursing education becomes obligated.  This means, the existence of the board is meant to benefit all residents of the State, every nursing applicant, working professionals, parents, and most especially people who require healthcare services.

  1. Can the board of nursing issue and advanced practice nurse certification?

The mandate of the board allows it to issue and advanced practice nurse certification regardless whether it is with or without an actual certificate.  This covers not only a nurse practitioner, but also a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and clinical nurse specialist.

The primary qualification to receive this type of certification is the current registered nurse license along with a Master’s Degree for the area of the nursing specialty.  The candidate must also possess three quarter hours of pharmacology, proof of specialized practitioner skills, and national certification.  In case one of these requirements is not met, the advanced practice nurse certificate can be issued even without recommended authority.

  1. How does the Tennessee board of nursing discharge its duties?

To be efficient in the discharge of its duties, the board employs a registered nurse as its executive director along with two nurse consultants who are tasked to oversee the different activities of the board.  These nurses form part of the administrative staff of the board of nursing and assist in the issuance of licenses for all qualified applicants based on prevailing laws and guidelines.

Any practical or registered nurse can be licensed via an examination or endorsement issued by another State.  The prescribed renewal period imposed by the board for all licenses is two years with the mailing of renewal reminders being part of the duties of the administration office. 

The proper discharge of their duty includes reminders being sent out within forty five days before the expiration date of the licenses.  It should be understood though that the responsibility to renew license on time and updated remains with the nurses holding them.

  1. What are the categories of discipline and its scope parameters?

The Tennessee board of nursing provides the following guidelines when it comes to the categories of discipline that it issues to any violations of existing laws and procedures:

  • Informal resolution, letter of concern, or letter of warning
  • Letter of reprimand with the possibility of Type C civil penalty
  • Probation or suspension with corresponding remedial conditions as well as the possibility for civil penalty
  • Revocation of license and the potential for civil penalty

These disciplinary categories are meted out based on the scope parameters of:

  • Isolated – this means a single incident or group of incidents that occur for a limited number of times
  • Pattern or multiple – single or several violations happening for a limited number of times
  • Widespread – refers to an act that happens repeatedly and regularly
  • Significant – incidence of gross malpractice, violation of board order, falsification or fraud, conviction that involves moral turpitude

These are important questions that can help you better understand the functions of the Tennessee board of nursing as well as how its existence can benefit you.

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