Training to Become an RN in Tennessee
The field of nursing is exciting and challenging. Qualified registered nurses (RN) will find the choice of opportunities great as nursing opportunities expand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing will continue to thrive and grow at a rate of 22% through the year 2020. The growth in this segment of healthcare is due to the aging population exceeding greater years than ever before and the advancement of medical and pharmaceutical technology bringing more healthcare options, including longer home care.
RNs must earn at least an Associate’s degree before taking the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The nursing program must meet the approval of the Tennessee Board of Nursing (TBON) and include class work and clinical training. An Associate’s degree takes about two years to complete. Some RNs will take advantage of the brief study time and earn an Associate’s degree, pass the NCLEX-RN and work as an RN while continuing to earn higher degrees.
The NCLEX-RN is administered by Pearson VUE Testing Services. Applicants to test must first apply to the TBON and then register with Pearson VUE. The application to test includes a criminal background check and fingerprint card, a 2”x2” passport type of photograph taken within six months of application, documentation of the completion of an approved nursing program and degree conferred and the appropriate fee. There is a separate fee due to Pearson VUE to take the exam. The Board will review the application and determine its completeness. The applicant will receive an authorization to test (ATT) when the application is approved be able to schedule an exam date with Pearson VUE. Tennessee is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact and applicants must be a legal residence of the state to take the exam.
Exam results are reported as pass or fail and when the applicant passes the exam an RN license is issued and if the applicant fails, an application to take the test again is sent to the applicant with instructions to apply for retesting. Applicants must wait 45 days before taking the exam again and applicants who fail the exam twice will be subject to additional education and training. Pearson VUE will notify the TBON of all applicant results and the Board will notify applicants of the result. Tennessee no longer issues license hard copies. The TBON website maintains a list of all licensed nurses in the state and the status of each license. Perspective employers may access the website to verify an RN license.
Tennessee RNs are required to renew their license every two years. RNs must provide proof of continuing competency within the two years prior to renewal and full or part time nursing practice. There are 15 ways to prove competency and RNs should refer to the Tennessee Board of Nursing website for more information.
RN salaries depend on several variables and include geographic location, type of facility where employed, years of experience, level of education achieved and area of nursing specialty. Advance nursing practitioners will command a higher salary than an RN and RNs in position of authority and responsibility will also command a higher salary. The average RN salary is $59,000 annually. The average entry level RN salary is $41,000 and advanced nursing and administrative salaries will average between $85,000 and $110,000.
The working shift of an RN will vary depending on the facility where employed. Typical RN duties include monitoring patient care, performing emergency procedures, dressing wounds and changing dressings, dispensing medication according to plan including injections and monitoring the reaction and effects of the medication, monitoring vital signs, preparing treatment and care plans and preparing patients for home or transfer to another healthcare facility.
RNs will find employment in a variety of areas and facilities. In addition to hospitals, nursing homes and assisted care facilities, RNs are employed at rehabilitative care facilities, occupational health centers, seasonal and recreational venues, educational and government facilities, hospice care and visiting nurse organizations, temporary nurse staffing agencies and RN help lines.
Schools With RN Programs in Tennessee
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)