During the last semester, students are eligible to apply for licensure by examination (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses – NCLEX-RN). Licensure to practice as a Registered Nurse is granted by the Board of Nursing in the state of intended practice (see Tennessee Board of Nursing Rules & Regulations 1000-01-.01 (Rules and Regulations for Registered Nurses).  All new graduates must submit to the criminal background check process as required by Tennessee Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations when applying for licensure in Tennessee. A graduate may not be provided an Authorization to Test (for the licensure exam) if there are any issues with the criminal background results until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the Board.An applicant who passes the licensing examination and is under investigation for possible violation of the Nurse Practice Act (arrested or convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation) may not be issued a license until the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of the Board. If the charges are substantiated, the license may be denied or sanctioned despite the applicant meeting all other criteria for licensure. The Tennessee Board of Nursing has the right to refuse to grant a registered nurse license to any individual regardless of his/her educational credentials under circumstances of:

  1. Falsification of application for licensure.
  2. Conviction of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.
  3. Other moral and legal violations specified in Tennessee Law.

Passing the examination is one criterion for licensure as a registered nurse. Another important criterion is that the applicant be “of good moral character.” The NCLEX application requires individuals to identify any prior convictions, both misdemeanor and felony.

All applicants should be aware that any felony and/or certain misdemeanor charges, where applicant was convicted or plead guilty or nolo contender, or received a deferred or other qualified adjudication, may prevent the applicant for being eligible for licensure as a registered nurse after completing the nursing program. Each state has different laws and rules regarding licensure eligibility.  Many states have laws that prevent licensure if an individual was terminated for cause from any State Medicare or Medicaid Program.  Applicants with prior charges or convictions should speak to the Dean of the School of Nursing, Health Sciences, and Human Services regarding their individual circumstances prior to enrolling in the nursing program.  Students who do not disclose this information may be at risk of not becoming eligible for licensure once they graduate or could face possible dismissal from the program when they have positive criminal background checks.

NOTE: Nursing program applicants/students who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation may be ineligible for licensure per state law. For more information, contact the Dean of the School of Nursing, Health Sciences and Human Services.  Any arrests and/or convictions MUST BE REPORTED to the Dean of the School at the time they occur while