The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development estimates that the demand for nursing aides in Tennessee will increase by more than 16 percent from 2008 through 2018. Any nurse aide that wishes to work in a long-term care facility in Tennessee that receives funding from Medicare must gain licensing as a certified nursing aide. The Tennessee Department of Health oversees the CNA certification program in the state.
To qualify for CNA certification, prospective nurse aides in Tennessee must complete a state-approved training program. This required training consist of at least 75 hours of training. The curriculum includes 16 hours of training in five core competency areas: communication, residents' rights, independence, emergency procedures and infection control. The training must also feature a clinical internship. As of January 2011, more than 100 programs carried the approval of the Tennessee Department of Health.
The Tennessee Department of Health requires CNA certification candidates to complete a competency examination following the completion of the training program. D&S Diversified Technologies administers the exam on behalf of the state. The first half of the test includes 70 multiple-choice questions based on material covered in the training course. The second portion of the test requires nurse aide candidates to demonstrate patient care skills. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check to qualify for certification.
The Tennessee Department of Health allows certain types of medical professionals to challenge or bypass nurse aide certification training and examination. Currently enrolled practical or registered nurse training program students who have completed a course in basic nursing fundamentals can qualify for exemption. Nurse aides who received military training can also challenge the exam. Tennessee will also accept out-of-state CNA licenses or certifications from every state except Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina. Individuals with a valid nursing license from any other state can petition to receive a Tennessee license without having to complete the training or exam.
Nurse aide certification in Tennessee remains valid for 24 months. During each certification cycle, CNAs must work for at least eight hours to maintain their certification. To verify that they have met the work requirements, aides must provide a paystub, a printout obtained from their employer's payroll department or a notarized attestation form. No additional continuing education coursework or other requirements are necessary in Tennessee to renew certification.
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