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Becoming an RN in Tennessee

If you have the dedication and aptitude to become a professional nurse, Tennessee can use your services. You can become a registered nurse by completing an approved degree program. Usually this is at the associateís or baccalaureate level, though students with a previous degree in another field sometimes do their initial program at the masterís level (Direct-Entry Masterís in Nursing).

As a prospective RN, you will have a number of program options. How do you decide which type of program to apply to? The baccalaureate degree, or BSN, is becoming the preferred degree at the national level. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in fact, has set a goal of having 80% of Nurses prepared at the BSN level by 2020. This is because studies have linked better patient outcomes with higher education.

The ADN, of course, can offer a swifter entry into the workforce. If you are interested in completing a four-year degree, it doesnít necessarily have to be done all at once. The Tennessee Board notes a sharp increase in the percentage of students seeking RN to BSN mobility in recent years.

Whichever degree you seek for initial licensure, you will take the same exam: the NCLEX-RN.

Registered Nursing Education Options in Tennessee

There are additional options for people who already have a degree in another field. One option is the accelerated BSN, or second bachelorís. These programs report a very high retention rate -- higher than for ADN or standard BSN programs. The curriculum may be fast-paced, but second career professionals are used to high demands that donít end in the summer months. Another option for a post-baccalaureate student is the direct-entry masterís. Tennessee boasts three in-state programs.

If you are already licensed as an LPN, you will have the opportunity to taker a shorter bridging program. Here again, you will have a number of different programs to choose from. The Tennessee Board lists 13 LPN to associateís programs and nine LPN to BSN programs (with two more on the way).

Tennessee is just beginning to offer bridging programs for other health professionals. Chattanooga offers a paramedic to RN bridge program. Students complete a seven-unit transition program; this allows them to get credit for two semesters of nursing coursework. They must also take the typical nursing prerequisites such as psychology, anatomy and physiology, and human growth and development.

The Tennessee Board reports that a corpsmen/ medic to RN program is also under development within the state.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook

Nursing is affected, to some degree, by recession. Nurses sometimes have spouses who lose their jobs; for this reason, they may choose to re-enter the workforce or add shifts. However, long term, demographics are a better indicator of the need for new nurses. Nearly 40% of the RN workforce in Tennessee is above 50. That means that many nurses will be retiring in the coming years.

Tennessee is concerned about having an adequate supply of professional nurses. The Center for Nursing reported that in 2008, the RN vacancy rate was approximately 7% in both the hospital and home health sectors. In nursing homes, it was somewhat lower: 4.2%. Even in difficult times, there are jobs to be had.

The Application Process

Tennessee nursing schools are limited with regards to faculty, classroom space, and other resources. The state is working to increase capacity; still, some students who do meet the minimum stated requirements are turned away. Candidates should realize that more ADN programs turn away qualified applicants than either BSN or MSN programs. In the 2008 to 2009 school year, 14 of 15 ADN programs reported turning away qualified applicants while only 13 of 28 BSN programs did. Candidates should be aware that while community colleges may have lower stated requirements, it is often necessary to exceed them to actually get a spot.

University-based programs typically have higher academic standards. In many, though not all, cases, itís enough just to meet them. Do be prepared to write a thoughtful essay or personal statement. In some cases, an interview may be required a well.

ADN Programs in Tennessee

Aquinas College
4210 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
615-297-7545
Chattanooga State Technical Community College
4501 Amnicola Hwy.
Chattanooga, TN 37406
423-493-8740
Cleveland State Community College
3535 Adkisson Drive, P.O. Box 3570
Cleveland, TN 37320-3570
423-472-7141
Columbia State Community College
1665 Hampshire Pike
Columbia, TN 38401
931-540-2600
Dyersburg State Community College
1510 Lake Road
Dyersburg, TN 38024
731- 286-3390
Freed-Hardeman University
158 East Main Street
Henderson, TN 38340
731-989-6965
Jackson State Community College
2046 North Parkway
Jackson, TN 38301-3797
731- 425-2622
Lincoln Memorial University
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
800-325-0900 ext. 6324
Motlow State Community College
6015 Ledford Mills Rd., P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
931-393-1628
Northeast State Technical Community College
2425 Highway 75, P. O. Box 246
Blountville, TN 37617-0246
423-354-5108
Roane State Community College
276 Patton Lane
Harriman, TN 37748
865-882-4605
Southern Adventist University
P.O. Box 370; 5010 University Dr.
Collegedale, TN 37315
423-236-2940
Southwest Tennessee Community College
301 Walnut Street
Memphis, TN 38126
901-333-5425
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
615-963-5251
Walters State Community College
500 S. Davy Crockett Parkway
Morristown, TN 37813
423-585-6981
 

(Source: Tennessee Board of Nursing)

BSN Programs Approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing

Belmont University School of Nursing

Belmont University School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The BSN and MSN programs are approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Programs Offered: BSN, Accelerated BSN, MSN - (Tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator), Post-Master's Certificate - (Options: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator)

  • Click Here to request information from Belmont University School of Nursing.

Belmont University School of Nursing, 1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212-3757

South College - BSN Program

South College is located in Knoxville, TN. They offer a BSN program accredited by the NLNAC and approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

  • Click Here for info about South College's BSN Program
Austin Peay State University
P.O. Box 4658; 681 Summer St.
Clarksville, TN 37040
931-221-7710
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
1003 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
901-575-2468
Belmont University
1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212-3757
615-460-6100
Bethel University
325 Cherry Avenue
McKenzie, TN 38201
731-352-6757
Carson-Newman College
1646 Russell Avenue
Jefferson City, TN 37760
865-471-3425
Cumberland University
One Cumberland Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
615-547-1215
East Tennessee State University
P.O. Box 70617
Johnson City, TN 37614
423-439-7051
Fisk University -
Vanderbilt Partnership Program
1000 17th Avenue North, 319 Dubois Hall
Nashville, TN 37208-3051
615-329-2197
King College
1350 King College Road
Bristol, TN 37620
423-652-4748
Lincoln Memorial University
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
800-325-0900 ext. 6324
Lipscomb University - Vanderbilt Nursing Partnership Program
One University Park Drive
Nashville, TN 37204-3951
615-966-1000
Martin Methodist College
433 West Madison Street
Pulaski, TN 38478
931-424-4663
Middle Tennessee State University
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
615-898-2437
Milligan College
P. O. Box 500
Milligan College, TN 37682
423-461-8655
South College
3904 Lomas Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
865-251-1800
Southern Adventist University
P.O. Box 370; 5010 University Dr.
Collegedale, TN 37315
423-236-2940
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
615-963-5251
Tennessee Technological University
805 Quadrangle Drive
Cookeville, TN 38505
931-372-3203
Tennessee Weslyan College
9821 Cogdill Road, Suite 2
Knoxville, TN 37932
865-777-5100
Trevecca Nazarene University- Belmont Partnership Program
333 Murfreesboro Road
Nashville, TN 37210-2877
615-248-1540
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
731-661-5200
University of Memphis
610 Goodman, Newport 100
Memphis, TN 38152
901-678-2003
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-425-4644
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville
1200 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996
865-974-4151
The University of Tennessee at Martin
538 University Street, Gooch Hall 136
Martin, TN 38238
731- 881-7138
The University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
College of Nursing
877 Madison Avenue, Suite 620
Memphis, TN 38163
901-448-6135
   
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