In honor of Nurses Week, thank you for caring spirits, healing hands, and loving hearts. The sacrifice to care for others and miss important dates with your family shows your dedication to our profession. Thanks for all that you are doing!! Stay tuned for giveaways to our members this week.


Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association

The Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association (TNNPA) was established in 2014 as a non-profit organization. Since January 2014, the TNNPA continue to make strides in growth for increased visibility and credibility of nurse practitioners within the healthcare community, at both the national and state levels of government, and with consumers throughout Tennessee.

Why I Chose to Be A Nurse?

Debi Stafford I working in accounting until my middle daughter’s third hospitalization after a medical injury, when I declared I was returning to college to help bring missing healthcare to East Tennessee. Right now, I’m the only provider in East Tennessee (that I know of) working toward MedMaps certification, willing to provide PANS/PANDAS evaluations, and provide the care at a low cost to families. I treat autism as medical, and considering it’s the fastest growing and permanently debilitating childhood condition, I hope other colleagues will join me in trying to stop and heal this disorder.

Chrissy Sanks I was 27 and had worked many jobs. I was finishing up my first degree (English). About half way through that degree I realized my heart was medicine and always had been. I was just intimidated. I had started collecting electives that would be applicable to a
PA application. Around then Dad got sick. I was an only child and my parents were divorced so when the call came to come to the hospital I sat by his bedside alone. That morning was the only time I wasn’t able to hold it together anymore. Tears rolled down my face as I held the hand of my best friend who was being taken away by lung cancer. At that time, a knock came and I could tell the nurse wasn’t ready for my face when I looked up. She had been amazing for 3 weeks, answering phone calls I would put in and showing dad total kindness. She had done all she could do for my father and right then he did not need her. Her eyes held mine and I could see my sorrow reflected in hers. She said something so simple, “can I get you anything? Maybe a sprite?” I knew she didn’t know what else to say but she wanted to be there for me in some capacity. I threw out PA applications and filled out nursing school applications instead. Many times in my career I have found myself in her position. I have repeated that same offer multiple times and the families of my patients have responded much the same way I did. Nursing is an application is science. There is no doubt about that, but what I love about nursing is the compassion it interweaves into science. It gives medicine meaning. Today I am a nurse practitioner but truly I’m a compilation of experiences, patients, tears, laughter, and sorrow that started that day beside my father.

Pamela Jean Smith As a little girl I dreamed of being a Nurse . I worked @ the Pediatric hospital for 21 years. Started out as being a Nursing Assistant, then LPN, followed by RN, now currently FNP. My goal was to retire @ Pediatric hospital but I was told by Nursing Administration I couldn’t work inside the hospital once I finished FNP school because I chose Family track instead of Pediatric track I cried like a baby in distress but I count it all joy because when humans close one door, my GOD opens many more I can truly say I am living out my childhood dream of being a NURSE 

Randy Tidwell Dropped out of high school on my 16th birthday and took off to Texas. Joined the Marine Corps on my 17th birthday and served until my 21st. Worked hard labor for peanuts while getting an Engineering degree and did that all over the country forfew yearsuntil I realized that my daughter from a previous marriage had grown over a foot and I had missed it. She cried on the phone to me about missing her upcoming 5th birthday party, and I got the U Haul the next morning. I made it to her party. I decided that I was going to find a profession that I A. Liked, and B. Let me live where I wanted to live. No internet back then. Only the Sunday papers. Always multiple pages of want ad's for RNs, so I decided to go with it. The instructors at Nursing school had zero faith that a manly Marine could make a good RN. One even told me that I had no business taking a spot that should be going to a more deserving female student. I walked into the dean's office and announced that I was going to carry a tape recorder on my person every day going forward, and that the next instructor that spoke to me like that would be sued. No further problems were experienced. Graduated 4.0. My work ethic always led me to work 5 and 6 12 hour shifts all over the hospitals. Units, ERs, and finally CV recovery. I had a choice... Go to anesthesia school, or Practitioner school. Since I like the unknown more than the routine, practitioner was for me. The day I got my license was the day I opened my own clinic... Something I don't really recommend, but it's been a blast. I wouldn't change a thing.

Heather Akridge Originally I was pre-med right out of high school in 2001. I started in August. My dad had a stroke in September following back surgery. I had to drop out of college because I was working full time and I needed to care for my dad because my mom needed to work. I slept on a mattress on the floor in the living room since my dad needed a hospital bed (it was in the living room because our house was so small). He would have seizures at night and I would wake up to help him through it (Dilantin didn't help much). My dad beat himself up so much that I had to drop out to take care of him. I did it without hesitation. While he was in the hospital on a vent, the nurses were so awesome. They took care of my dad as well as my whole family. I had never seen an MD do that. I decided that when I went back I would go for my nursing degree. I reapplied in the spring of 2002 and was accepted. I signed up to go part time so I could work and care for my dad. School was scheduled to start August 19, 2002. My dad passed away from a massive MI on August 10, 2002 at the age of 42. His funeral was August 15, 2002. I walked into school on the 19th and graduated with my BSN, May 4th, 2007. I only hoped I could be as good as the nurses that took care of my dad. Now as an NP I feel like I still reached my initial goal but with the heart of a nurse.

Melissa Holt I knew I wanted to be in healthcare from a young age. My best friend had a childhood cancer, and I knew, watching her go through treatments, that I wanted to be someone who could help people like her when I grew up. On my 4th grade time capsule questionnaire, when asked “what do you want to do when you grow up?” I wrote, “Save lives.” I was a part of HOSA in school and had an amazing mentor in my high school health science teacher and HOSA advisor. I started my career at 14 years old as a hospital jr. volunteer, full time in the summer months. Those community service hours, spent in the company of wonderful role models were amazingly helpful in my development as a person as well as a health care professional. When I went to college, I worked at a local pharmacy and then as a nursing assistant. I started out pre-med and decided to change my path about halfway through undergrad because I knew I wanted to start a family with my high school sweetheart earlier rather than later. That’s a difficult thing to do during medical school with no financial stability. Moving around for residency was also not an inviting concept for me. So we got married and bought a house during nursing school as I attended the wonderful Austin Peay State University School of Nursing and worked as a nursing assistant. We had our first child 2 weeks before I graduated with my BSN, and I graduated with honors as a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honors Society. I worked as a critical care nurse for 5 years, while also working as a critical care clinical instructor for APSU SON, my beloved alma mater. During those 5 years as a critical care RN, I gained immeasurable experience that I will treasure forever. While working as an RN, my husband and I also had our second child and I earned my MSN. I have now been working as a Family Nurse Practitioner at a private family practice in Fayetteville, TN for almost 2 years. I love what I do and the amazing people I work with. I’m very blessed to have been given the opportunity to take the path I have chosen for my career. I think many of us get that question... “Are you going to become a doctor? Or Why didn’t you go to medical school?” I love to share my story and explain the value of my role and why I chose this path. Patients seem to appreciate that, too.

ANCC Introduces New Exam for Family Nurse Practitioners

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recently published a new blueprint for its family nurse practitioner exam that will significantly change how FNP students prepare for ANCC certification. The blueprint implements new content domains that reflect a move toward more clinical content and significantly less questioning on professional role topics. The new ANCC test content outline for FNPs will take effect May 22, 2019.

When Does the new Exam Blueprint Take Effect?

ANCC FNP exams that follow the 2016 content outline end on May 18, 2019. ANCC will suspend its FNP exams for 4 days in May to allow for exams to be updated. Candidates may test before May 18 under the 2016 blueprint or after May 22 under the 2019 blueprint. ANCC FNP exams administered after May 22, 2019, reflect the content contained in the 2019 exam blueprint.

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