Who is the nurse?
Subject: Registered nurses (Licensing, certification and accreditation)
Health boards (Powers and duties)
Author: Patterson, Lena
Pub Date: 06/22/2012
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Summer, 2012 Source Volume: 75 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 930 Government regulation
Product: Product Code: 8043110 Nurses, Registered NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 293950424
Full Text: Nursing has achieved the distinction of being considered a profession. Along this journey our profession has grown to include nontraditional roles for nurses in a continuously expanding market. This has resulted in blurring of the defining characteristics of a nurse among our peers and the general public. This is especially true of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). If one were to ask the general public who is the nurse, what would be the answer? Is it anyone who enters the room to provide care? Is it the person that works directly with your physician? Is it the person wearing scrubs? Is it all the people caring for you at the bedside? What about our colleagues? Do they have a working knowledge of the different roles and scope of practice of nurses in general and APRNS specifically? If not, we must do a better job of articulating who we are, what we do, and most importantly, our capabilities. We must invite our legislators into these discussions. In the absence of our collective voices, they listen to others who may not know or care about our cause and capabilities. The legislative session is over for this year. Now is the perfect time to contact your legislators and get to know them. Thank them for their service, even if you don't agree with or share their views.

The legislature passes laws that regulate nursing practice. It also authorizes all health related boards, including the Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing has three general functions, licensure, education, and practice. The mission of the Board is "to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring that all who practice nursing within the state are qualified." TNA is the professional nursing association whose primary purpose is advocacy. The mission of TNA is to promote and protect the registered nurse and to advance the practice of nursing in order to assure a healthier Tennessee.

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The Winter Newsletter 2012 from the Board of Nursing reports there are 83,647 RNs, of which 8,656 are also APRNs actively licensed to practice in the state of Tennessee. Advanced practice registered nurses are further divided into four categories: Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) 121 (1%), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) 2382 (20%), Certified Nurse Mid-wife (CNM) 142 (2%), and Nurse Practitioner (NP) 8,760 (69%). The requirements for licensure as an APN in Tennessee is a current registered nurse license, a master's degree in a nursing specialty, national certification, and evidence of specialized practitioner skills. Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners are further subspecialized by the populations that they serve. Additional details about each specialty and scope of practice can be found on the specialty organizations' websites. This many nurses across our state working together means there is no obstacle we cannot overcome.

by Lena Patterson, MSN, RN, APRN, BC, CCNS
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.