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Nurse Practitioner Zone

Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Certification

In Tennessee, NPs are referred to as APNs. This title also refers to nurse anesthetists, nurse–midwives, and CNS. The Tennessee Board of Nursing regulates NPs and other nurses in the state.

Tennessee NPs provide primary and acute care in ambulatory, acute, and long-term care settings. They may practice as primary providers in areas such as family practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, geriatrics, and Ob/Gyn or women’s health. Nurse Practitioners may diagnose patients and treat those who have already been diagnosed. They may provide care from the outset of illness, including comprehensive care; take medical histories; provide physical exams; order labs and other diagnostic tests and procedures; interpret diagnostic tests; treat patients; and establish management plans for caring for patients with acute and chronic illnesses or diseases. With appropriate qualifications, Tennessee NPs may prescribe medications and devices.

In order to become an NP in Tennessee, you must hold a valid RN license to practice in Tennessee. In addition, you must complete a program designated to prepare you to be an APN in an area of specialty; it must lead to a minimum of a master’s degree. You must complete three one-quarter hours or two semester hours of pharmacology, if you wish to have prescriptive authority. An APN certificate without prescriptive authority may be issued in certain situations for which the NP does not meet the pharmacology qualification.


Some schools in Tennessee that offer accredited master’s degree programs for NPs include: Carson Newman College, East Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technical University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Austin Peay State University, University of Memphis, and Southern Adventist University. Many of these schools and others offer online programs that are NLNAC accredited.

Online programs allow RNs the flexibility of time and location to pursue their MSN degrees, while they continue to work and manage other obligations. Nationally accredited online schools offer similar course content to traditional campus-based schools. Faculty members of online schools arrange clinical sites in geographical areas that are convenient for students, so they can easily fulfill the clinical component of the program.

After you have earned your advanced degree, you must take an exam with a national credentialing body in your NP specialty area. Some of these bodies include the ANCC, AANP, and NBCRNA. If you would like prescriptive authority, you must have completed your pharmacology requirements, register with the DEA, and have a supervising physician. You may then receive eligibility to prescribe in your named nursing clinical specialty area, for which you have earned national certification.

Salaries for Tennessee NPs average $88,000 per year. Salary rates will vary based on location, area of specialization, level of experience, and other factors.

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Last Updated: 05/19/2014