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About the Board of Nursing

The Board of Nursing was created in 1911 by an act of the State Legislature and signed into law by former Governor Ben W. Hooper. The board’s mission is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring that all who practice nursing within this state are qualified and licensed to practice.

Board responsibilities center around three broad functions—licensure, education and practice. The board grants licenses to licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses (certificate) who meet the requirements of the statutes and rules. Only graduates of approved schools of nursing are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is required for licensure.

 Legislation passed in 2009 authorized the board to issue a Medication Aide Certificate to nurse aides with additional training in a board approved medication administration program.  Medication Aides must successfully complete the Medication Aid Certification Examination (MACE) for licensure.

Registered and practical nurses may be licensed by examination or endorsement from another state. Once licensed, nurses renew their licenses every two years. Renewal notices are mailed from the administrative office forty-five days prior to expiration of the license to the current address on file. Licensees are responsible for renewing on time and keeping the board apprised of current information. Licenses may be renewed online up to one hundred and twenty days prior to expiration at Click on the "License Renewal" link and follow the prompts. It is a violation of the law and of the board’s rules to practice on an expired license.

The board is further authorized to issue an advanced practice nurse (APN) certificate with or without a certificate to prescribe to registered nurses in four roles: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. Qualifications include current registered nurse licensure, a master’s degree in a nursing specialty area, three quarter hours of pharmacology, national certification and evidence of specialized practitioner skills. An advanced practice nurse certificate without prescriptive authority is issued when the nurse does not meet the pharmacology qualification and for applicants meeting certain “grandfathering” provisions.

The board prescribes the minimum curriculum for all nursing programs on ground, online, distance or via other electronic means and annually approves schools of nursing meeting board standards. New schools undergo an approval process including a survey of the program. Schools not meeting standards are investigated and the board is authorized to place the school on conditional approval or close the program if standards are not met.

The board interprets the statutes and administrative rules to determine the appropriate standards of practice in an effort to ensure the highest professional conduct. The board issues private advisory opinions to licensees on request. The board causes the investigation of nurses alleged to have violated the law and rules and is responsible to discipline the license of and/or imposes civil penalties on those found guilty.

The Tennessee Nurses Foundation, under contract with the department, provides professional assistance to nurses with physical, mental, emotional and/or chemical dependency issues. The monitoring and referral program, supported by licensure and renewal fees, provides a valuable service to protect the public and assist in the rehabilitation of nurses.

To assist in the discharge of its duties, the board employs a registered nurse executive director. The professional and administrative staff of the board and Division of Health Related Boards supports the board by issuing licenses to those who meet the requirements of the law and rules.

The board consists of eleven members appointed by the Governor for four year terms or until their successors are appointed. Legislation passed in 2012 will transition the composition of the board to the following: nine registered nurse or advanced practice nurses, one licensed practical nurse, and one consumer member who is not a nurse and is not commercially or professionally associated with the health care industry. Members may be selected from lists of nominees submitted by their respective organizations for each appointment

The board meets quarterly for regular meetings and as needed for special or called meetings. A quorum of six members is required to conduct business. Meetings are open to the public.

Contact the Board of Nursing

To contact this board, call (615) 532-5166 local or 1-800-778-4123 nationwide
or write
Tennessee Board of Nursing
665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243


Board Members

Board Members Position Representation Term Expires
Brent Earwood Board Member Advanced Practice Nurse/Registered Nurse 05-31-2016
Lisa A Heaton Board Member Registered Nurse 03-31-2014
Mark Allen Young Board Member Advanced Practice Nurse 05-31-2016
Martha M. Buckner Board Member Registered Nurse 09-30-2017
Leslie Nelson Akins Board Member Advanced Practice Nurse 05-31-2016
Lee Ann Stearnes Board Member Advanced Practice Nurse 05-31-2016
Kathleen Harkey Board Member Public Member 09-30-2013
Marietha O. Silvers Board Member Registered Nurse 05-31-2016
Juanita Turnipseed Board Member Advanced Practice Nurse 09-30-2017
Arthur L. Thompson Board Member Licensed Practical Nurse 09-30-2013
Janell Rae Cecil Board Member Registered Nurse 09-30-2017

Meeting Schedule

Meeting Schedule

Public Notices will remain online until the minutes are ratified and posted on the Meeting Minutes tab. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at 665 Mainstream Drive, MetroCenter.

Board of Nursing Meeting Schedule
Date Time Event and Location Public Notice
February 18-19, 2015 8:30am-5:00pm Iris and Poplar Rooms
665 Mainstream Dr, Metrocenter
Public Notice
May 13-15, 2015 8:30am-5:00pm Iris and Poplar Rooms
665 Mainstream Dr, Metrocenter
Public Notice
August 5-6, 2015 8:30am-5:00pm Iris and Poplar Rooms
665 Mainstream Dr, Metrocenter
November 18-19, 2015 8:30am-5:00pm Iris and Poplar Rooms
665 Mainstream Dr, Metrocenter

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes

Copies of all minutes are maintained in the official record section of the administrative office. Please contact the board administrator to make arrangements to review minutes of meetings held prior to 2004.

Practitioner Profiles

Information Required to be Reported on Practitioner Profiles

To view your current profile, please go to and enter your license number and profession, then click on the Practitioner Profile link.

To make changes to your profile, go to and fill in the changes, print the document and mail to the appropriate board.  APNs: use Notice and Formulary for supervising physician changes.

To add or change a supervising physician, please go to  print the document, make changes and mail to the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

The professions required to submit and maintain a practitioner profile questionnaire are:

Advanced Practice Nurses
Alcohol and Drug Counselors
Chiropractic Physicians
Clinical Pastoral Therapists
Dispensing Opticians
Licensed Registered Respiratory Therapists
Licensed Certified Respiratory Therapists
Licensed Laboratory Personnel
Marital & Family Therapists
Massage Therapists
Medical Doctors

Nursing Home Administrators
Occupational Therapists
Orthopedic Physician Assistants
Osteopathic Physicians
Physician Assistants
Physical Therapists
Professional Counselors
Respiratory Care Assistants
Social Workers
Speech Language Pathologists

Tennessee Code Annotated Title 63 Chapter 51 requires the following information to be reported to the Board for dissemination to the public on practitioner profiles:

  • The location of the licensee's primary practice setting;
  • A description of any criminal convictions for felonies and, as determined by the board, serious misdemeanors, within the most recent ten (10) years. For the purposes of this subsection (a), a person shall be deemed to be convicted of a crime if such person was found or adjudged guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Misdemeanor convictions later expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be stricken from the provider's profile;
  • A description of any final board disciplinary actions within the most recent ten (10) years, which actions shall include final board action as defined by § 4-5-314, and reprimand action taken pursuant to a board practice act;
  • A description of any final disciplinary actions of licensing boards in other states within the most recent ten (10) years;
  • A description of revocation or involuntary restrictions of hospital privileges for reasons related to competence or character that has been taken by the hospital’s governing body or any other official action of the hospital after procedural due process has been afforded, or the resignation from or nonrenewal of medical staff membership or the restriction orf privileges as a hospital taken in lieu of or in settlement or a pending disciplinary case related to competence or character in that hospital, all as taken pursuant to procedures promulgated by the board for licensing health care facilities. Only cases that have occurred within the most recent ten (10) years shall be disclosed by the department to the public;
  • All medical malpractice court judgments, all medical malpractice arbitration awards in which a payment is awarded to a complaining party and all settlements of medical malpractice claims in which a payment is made to a complaining party beginning with reports for 1998 and each subsequent year; provided, such reports shall not be disseminated beyond the most recent ten-year period, but shall include the most recent ten-year period for which reports have been filed. Each provider licensing board shall set by rule adopted pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, a threshold amount below which judgments or settlements shall not be reportable; provided, such threshold shall, for chapter 6 or 9 of this title licensees, be set at seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000), for doctors of chiropractic, regulated pursuant to chapter 4 of this title, be set at fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), for dentists, regulated pursuant to chapter 5 of this title, be set at twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), and for all other licensees under this title be set at ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Dispositions of paid claims shall be reported in a minimum of three (3) graduated categories indicating the level of significance of the award or settlement. Information concerning paid medical malpractice claims shall be put in context by comparing an individual licensee's medical malpractice judgment awards and settlements to the experience of other providers within the same specialty. Information concerning the existence of a court-sealed settlement shall be reported in cases involving such a settlement. Information concerning all settlements shall be accompanied by the following statement: “Settlement of a claim may occur for a variety of reasons which do not necessarily reflect negatively on the professional competence or conduct of the provider. A payment in settlement of a medical malpractice action or claim should not be construed as creating a presumption that medical malpractice has occurred.” (Pending malpractice claims shall not be disclosed by a board to the public.);
  • Names of medical schools or professional and training schools and dates of graduation;
  • Graduate medical education or other graduate-level training;
  • Specialty board certification as determined by the relevant board;
  • Names of the hospitals where the licensee has privileges;
  • The location of the licensee's primary practice setting;
  • The identification of any translating services that may be available at the licensee's primary practice location;
  • An indication of which managed care plans in which the licensee participates;
  • An indication of TennCare plans in which the licensee participates;
  • Appointments to medical school faculties and indication as to whether a licensee has a responsibility for graduate medical education within the most recent ten (10) years; (optional)
  • Information regarding publications in peer-reviewed medical literature; (optional) and
  • Information regarding professional or community service associations, activities and awards; (optional)

National Organization

National Organizations of State Boards

Information on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing may be obtained by phone, fax, Internet, or writing to:

National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.
111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Phone: 312-525-3600
Fax: 312-279-1032