Mary Breckinridge was a nurse midwife who was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1881. She founded the Frontier Nursing Service, which was a public health organization that provided nurses on horseback to reach families who would otherwise not be able to receive care.

Breckinridge helped develop American nurse midwifery and emphasized the importance of bringing nursing care to rural areas. Today, there are nurses that work in rural areas of Tennessee as well as other parts of the state. They can be found enjoying rewarding careers in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, and patients homes.

Best Nursing Schools in Tennessee

There are X schools that offer nursing degree programs in Tennessee. NursingDegrees.com has made it easy for prospective nurses to select the right school for them by creating two separate rankings of the best nursing schools in the state. While one ranking is for undergraduates, the other one is for graduates. Our rankings allow prospective nurses to compare the acceptance rates, tuition and fees, number of online programs offered, and other factors of nursing schools in Tennessee.

We used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDS to create these rankings. To learn more about our ranking methodology, we encourage you to visit the bottom of this page. Our undergraduate and graduate rankings for nursing schools in Tennessee include:

01
Southern Adventist University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Undergraduate tuition
$20,300
Undergraduate graduation rate
61%
Undergraduate retention rate
80%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
02
Lincoln Memorial University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$20,520
Undergraduate graduation rate
64%
Undergraduate retention rate
70%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
03
Union University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$29,320
Undergraduate graduation rate
68%
Undergraduate retention rate
85%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
04
Lipscomb University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$27,472
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
85%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
98%
05
Baptist Memorial College of Health Scien...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$9,864
Undergraduate graduation rate
72%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
06
Carson-Newman University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$25,200
Undergraduate graduation rate
49%
Undergraduate retention rate
70%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
07
University of Memphis
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,488
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
80%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
08
Tennessee State University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,216
Undergraduate graduation rate
34%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
09
East Tennessee State University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,672
Undergraduate graduation rate
40%
Undergraduate retention rate
71%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
10
The University of Tennessee-Martin
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,680
Undergraduate graduation rate
50%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
01
Union University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
9
Graduate Tuition
$6,870
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
02
Vanderbilt University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
15
Graduate Tuition
$44,496
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
03
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$11,044
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
04
East Tennessee State University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$7,992
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
05
Southern Adventist University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$11,070
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
06
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$8,100
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
07
Carson-Newman University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$8,580
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
08
Tennessee Technological University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$9,200
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
09
University of Memphis
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$8,820
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
10
King University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$9,024
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1

Nursing Accreditation in Tennessee

It is important for prospective nurses in Tennessee to attend an accredited nursing school. By doing so, they may transfer credits from one nursing school to another and be eligible to apply for financial aid. They may also appear more competitive in the job market. The major nursing school accreditation agencies in Tennessee are:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (ACME)

Tennessee Nursing Licensure

To become a licensed practical nurse or LPN in Tennessee, students are required to earn a degree or certificate from an LPN program that is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. These programs typically take 12 to 18 months to complete. Once a student has obtained an LPN degree or certificate, they must sit and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Registered nurses in Tennessee need to earn an associate’s degree in nursing or an ADN or a bachelor’s of science in nursing or BSN from a program that is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. They are also required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Nurse practitioners or NPs in Tennessee must complete a graduate nursing program and pass the national NP certification exam.

5 hours of continuing education every two years is required for LPNs and RNs in Tennessee. NPs must participate in 2 hours of continuing education on prescribing controlled substances on a biannual basis. For up-to-date continuing education requirements for nurses in Tennessee, check out this resource.

Tennessee Nursing Organizations

Nursing students as well as working nurses in Tennessee may benefit from joining one or a few professional nursing organizations that are unique to the state. Here is a brief overview of some of these organizations:

  • Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA):

    The mission of TNA, which began in 1905, is to promote and protect registered nurses and advance the practice of nursing to assure a healthier Tennessee.

  • Tennessee Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE):

    TONE was designed to advance and further develop effective nursing leadership and facilitate quality nursing care. It is for professionals who have an organizational role of administration or management.

  • Northeast Tennessee Nurse Practitioners Association (NETNPA):

    NETNPA’s main mission is to provide education, encourage involvement in legislative affairs, and promote advanced practice nursing throughout the state.

  • Middle Tennessee Advanced Practice Nurses (MTAPN):

    MTAPN is an organization of nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. It also strives to promote advanced practice nursing in Tennessee.

Hospitals in Tennessee

There are several hospitals in Tennessee that can provide entry-level nurses with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience. The three largest hospitals in the state are as follows:

  1. Methodist University Hospital (Memphis): Methodist University Hospital is known as the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Methodist Healthcare System. It is equipped with 617 beds and situated in the heart of the Memphis Medical Center.
  2. Vanderbilt University Hospital (Nashville): Vanderbilt University Hospital has been recognized for its innovation and positive patient outcomes by a number of organizations including U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics, Becker’s Hospital Review, American Hospital Association, and Nashville Business Journal.
  3. Baptist Memorial Hospital – Memphis (Memphis): Baptist Memorial Hospital features an 80 acre campus that is home to Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, the Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children’s Hospital, Baptist Memorial Restorative Care Hospital, Baptist Heart Institute, Baptist Women’s Health Center and five physicians’ office buildings.
Sources & Methodology
  1. American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  2. Mary Breckinridge, The Truth About Nursing, Accessed August 2018, https://www.truthaboutnursing.org/press/pioneers/breckinridge.html
  3. Board of Nursing, Tennessee Department of Health, Accessed August 2018, https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/nursing-board/nursing-board/continuing-education.html
  4. Tennessee Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://www.tnaonline.org/
  5. Tennessee Organization of Nurse Executives, Tennessee Hospital Association, Accessed August 2018, https://tha.com/tennessee-organization-of-nurse-executives-tone/
  6. Northeast Tennessee Nurse Practitioners Association, Accessed August 2018, https://netnpa.enpnetwork.com/
  7. Middle Tennessee Advanced Practice Nurses, Accessed August 2018, http://www.mtapn.org
  8. Methodist University Hospital, Methodist Healthcare, Accessed August 2018, http://www.methodisthealth.org/locations/methodist-university-hospital/
  9. Vanderbilt Health, Accessed August 2018, https://vanderbilthealth.com/
  10. Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, Baptist, Accessed August 2018, https://www.baptistonline.org/locations/memphis

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