The Lento Law Firm is Here to Help if Your Tennessee Nursing Assistant Certification is Threatened

Every day as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you offer support, care, and kindness to countless patients. The job may seem thankless, but the training, education, and work you have put into this profession is truly something to be proud of. Therefore, facing certified nursing assistant disciplinary charges in Tennessee can be stressful, confusing, and even angering. If you are under an investigation or facing formal proceedings

Your nursing assistant certification is crucial to your life; it is your livelihood, and you must take any and every threat to your certification seriously. Disciplinary proceedings have strict procedural requirements that can be difficult to navigate. You cannot afford to have inexperienced counsel in your corner. You need the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team for the best defense of your Tennessee nursing assistant certification.

What Do Tennessee Certified Nursing Assistant Disciplinary Charges Mean?

Hearing you have a disciplinary charge against you can be terrifying, and it should be taken seriously, but keep in mind the charges alone do not make you guilty. Disciplinary charges are only allegations that you have acted in a way that violates your ethical and regulatory obligations to your patients. If you face disciplinary charges, you are not automatically found guilty; as in court, you can present your side of the story, explain your arguments, and provide evidence. You should never go into facing disciplinary charges alone. You want to make sure that you do everything by the book and develop the best strategy to protect your certification, which is where the Lento Law Firm can help. We know the ins and outs of CNA disciplinary actions in Tennessee and can walk you through the process step by step.

Tennessee Department of Health – Health Related Boards Division Disciplinary Proceedings

The Tennessee Department of Health's Health Related Boards Division is the regulatory board that oversees the over 28,000 certified nursing assistants in the state of Tennessee. The Health Related Boards Division handles everything related to CNAs, including their training requirements, administration of certification exams, and disciplinary actions against those with allegations of professional violations. The Health Related Boards Division ensures that the requirements outlined in the Tennessee Nurse Practice Act are employed properly.


When someone suspects you have committed an ethical violation, whether true or baseless, they have the right to file a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health. Anyone can file the complaint; it may be the family or friends of a patient you have cared for, the patient themselves, a colleague, or even your employer.

Investigation and Review by Disciplinary Committee

When the Tennessee Department of Health receives a complaint about a CNA, it will initiate an investigation to determine if there is merit to the allegation against you. If the Department of Health finds evidence to support the allegations against you, the case will be sent to a disciplinary committee for review. The disciplinary committee is made up of members from the Tennessee Department of Health's Health Related Boards Division. The committee will review the information already collected by the Department of Health and decide if it believes the evidence warrants continuing with the case and take disciplinary action against you.

Notice of Charges

If the committee has chosen to take disciplinary action against you, you will be notified in writing of the charges. When you receive notice of the charges, you will be offered the opportunity to respond to the charges and present your case. There are specific timelines you will need to be aware of that are within this notice. Ensuring you are complying with deadlines and required procedures for fighting these allegations can be difficult. Missing a deadline can seem like a small infraction, but this can be the difference between keeping or losing your nursing assistant certification, employment, and financial stability. Because the stakes are so high, you need the help of Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team, who are well versed in all the procedural aspects of fighting the charges against you.


You do not have to accept the results of the committees' investigation or agree with the charges against you. You are entitled to a hearing. At a hearing, you can present your side of the story; this means sharing your arguments and presenting the supporting evidence to discredit the allegations against you. Hearings are similar to a court proceeding; you would never go to court alone and should never go into a hearing alone. You need The Professional License Defense Team to help you best strategize and present your case in a clear and persuasive way.

Disciplinary Actions

After the hearing, the committee will assess your case considering the arguments and evidence you have provided. The committee may decide there is insufficient evidence against you to support any allegation against you; this would mean that, thankfully, there is no impact on your certification. But, depending on the severity of the allegation and the evidence against you, the disciplinary committee has a variety of disciplinary actions they can take against you, including:

  • The committee can let you off with a warning or reprimand.
  • The committee can place you on probation, where you may work while supervised.
  • The committee may suspend your certification for a set period of time or until you have met additional requirements.
  • The committee can revoke your nursing assistant certification.
  • The committee may, in combination with any of the above punishments, issue monetary penalties.

Additionally, the state is required to list and maintain a registry of all individuals, including CNAs, who are found to have abused or neglected an elderly or vulnerable person or misappropriated patient property. If you have been found guilty of these allegations, this will be listed on the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry or the Elderly or Vulnerable Abuse Registry.


If you disagree with the committee's determination, you can appeal the decision. This is a long process and can involve legal action. Filing an appeal and taking any legal action against the Tennessee Department of Health's Health Related Boards Division on your own would be unwise. The Professional License Defense Team has the required experience to help you bring this legal action.

How Disciplinary Action Can Impact Your Career

You Can Be Disqualified for State Nursing Assistant Certification Reciprocity

Every state, including the District of Columbia, provides CNA reciprocity, and more than 20 states in the country offer free CNA reciprocity. This reciprocity allows individuals who hold a nursing assistant certification in Tennessee to become certified in another state without needing to complete additional requirements or potentially paying any additional costs. If you get state reciprocity, you can start working in the state as soon as you arrive. However, if you lose your certification, it not only affects your ability to work as a CNA in Tennessee but also jeopardizes your opportunity to obtain certification and work as a CNA in any other state across the country. Losing your certification can have a significant impact on your ability to find employment regardless of where you live.

Losing Your Certification Can Prohibit a Further Nursing Career

Many CNAs earn their certification with hopes of becoming registered nurses (RN). RNs have more responsibilities and higher pay which is why it can be an appealing career step for CNAs. Many schools in Tennessee offer CNA to RN academic programs. These programs allow CNAs to enroll in RN programs without needing to start at the beginning with basic courses but rather build upon their CNA education. Without having to retake unnecessary basic courses, the CNA to RN program can reduce the additional time it takes to become RN by as much as six months. The time savings in CNA to RN programs also reduces your tuition cost since you will be taking fewer classes. You must retain your nurse assistant certification to participate in a CNA to RN program. Your certification revocation will be publicly recorded in the Tennessee registry; any RN program you would apply to will be able to view the revocation. Losing your certification makes you ineligible for these programs.

When your nursing assistant certification is on the line, you cannot be too careful in handling disciplinary proceedings. Any missteps can cost your career and future opportunities.

What Offense or Allegations Might Put Your Tennessee Nursing Assistant Certification at Risk?

There are three main categories of allegations that pose a risk to your certification: (1) abuse, (2) neglect, and (3) misappropriation of patient property. The Tennessee Department of Health's Health Related Boards Division treats all three allegations with utmost seriousness and conducts thorough investigations in response to any such allegations.


Abuse allegations typically involve actions that can harm a patient, jeopardizing their safety, health, or well-being. Physical abuse, such as physical violence or sexual assault, is commonly thought of when we think of abuse. But abuse by a CNA can also include a variety of forms of mental or emotional mistreatment. Emotional abuse includes verbal insults or derogatory language that consistently belittles the patient, causing emotional distress. Mocking or yelling at the patient based on their appearance, behavior, or physical and mental condition is another form of emotional abuse. Manipulating or gaslighting the patient to make them doubt their judgment or mental state can also inflict emotional abuse, leading to confusion and instability.

Intimidation and threats are other typical forms of emotional abuse. This type of abuse involves making threatening statements, yelling, displaying aggressive body language, and even withholding physical or emotional care. This type of behavior can cause patients to feel controlled, fear, abandonment, and emotional distress.


Neglect occurs when a CNA fails to provide adequate care, attention, or assistance to a patient, resulting in harm or posing a threat to their safety. Neglect can include many situations; for example, it can involve failing to meet the patient's basic needs related to grooming, bathing, and hygiene.

Neglect can also manifest when a CNA fails to administer medications as prescribed or monitor patients after administering medication, leading to health complications. Delaying appropriate medical attention or failing to recognize and report changes in a patient's health condition constitutes medical neglect.

Neglect extends to improper hydration and feeding, resulting in malnutrition, dehydration, or weight loss. Additionally, environmental neglect may arise if a CNA neglects to maintain a safe and clean environment for the patient, including hazards or cleanliness in the patient's room, bedding, or clothing.

Lastly, social and emotional neglect occurs when a CNA fails to provide social interaction, stimulation, or emotional support. Patients experiencing social and emotional neglect often feel lonely, isolated, or depressed. Although you might consider this type of neglect less severe, the Tennessee Department of Heath's Health Related Boards Division treats all neglect allegations with equal seriousness and will investigate claims of emotional neglect to the fullest extent.

Misappropriation of Patient Property

Misappropriation of patient property refers to situations where a CNA inappropriately takes or uses items or assets belonging to a patient under their care. Unfortunately, property misappropriation is a common crime against the elderly and vulnerable populations. Those caring for the elderly or sick can commit acts of misappropriation through deceit or manipulation, ultimately taking advantage of the patient's vulnerability or lack of mental clarity.

When we think of misappropriation, the first thing that comes to mind is old-fashioned theft –the taking of items such as jewelry, electronics, valuables, or money. (Withholding a patient's property or preventing its use also falls under misappropriation of property.)

Even more common now than physical property theft is the unauthorized use of patient property. The unauthorized use of patient property involves utilizing the patient's credit card, personal identification, or identifying information without their consent. This is often accompanied by fraudulent activities like forging the patient's signature or altering financial documents for personal gain.

It's important to recognize that misappropriation of patient property, although not directly causing physical or mental harm from a healthcare perspective, is a significant ethical violation that the Health Related Boards Division will take very seriously.

Areas the Lento Law Firm Serves in Tennessee

The Lento Law Firm and its Professional License Defense Team can provide defense of nursing assistant certification throughout the state of Tennessee. Tennessee has one of the largest communities in the country, and our experience in Tennessee is extensive. We have represented clients working in small towns, but most of our clients live in Tennessee's urban areas, which are home to the largest healthcare hubs in the state. We are mainly able to provide representation in the following Tennessee healthcare hubs.


Nashville, Tennessee, is considered the healthcare services capital of the United States. The Nashville Metropolitan Area (Franklin, Murfreesboro, and Davidson County), with almost two million residents, is a significant employer of Tennessee's CNAs. As of 2021, 7,840 CNAs were employed in this area. Nashville contains four of the ten largest general acute care hospitals in the state.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the largest health system in Nashville, with 1,175 beds. This medical center is nationally ranked in nine adult specialties and ten pediatric specialties and is home to three hospitals.

Nashville also houses TriStar Centennial Medical Center, a 741-bed general medical and surgical facility. On the same medical center campus are the TriStar Centennial Heart and Vascular Center and the TriStar Centennial Women's and Children's Hospital. In addition to having robust medical systems, the Nashville Metropolitan Area has 68 nursing homes caring for the area's elderly population.


Knoxville is Tennessee's third largest city, with a population of over 195,800 residents. The city itself houses seven hospitals, with even more in the surrounding area. The largest hospital in the city is the University of Tennessee Medical Center, with 710 beds. The hospital, which is associated with the University of Tennessee School of Medicine, is a Level 1 trauma center and a comprehensive stroke center and home to a neonatal intensive care unit. Additionally, it is the only dedicated heart hospital in the region.


Memphis is home to three of the state's ten largest general acute care hospitals. It houses Tennessee's second biggest general hospital, Baptists Memorial Hospital – Memphis, which has 927 beds. Located on the same campus are four additional Baptist Memorial hospitals, Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women, Spence and Becky Wilson Baptist Children's Hospital, Baptist Memorial Restorative Care Hospital, and the Baptist Heart Institute.

Also located in Memphis is the flagship hospital of Regional One Health, a non-profit healthcare organization with its headquarters in Memphis. This hospital, Regional One Health Memphis, is a 625-bed general acute care hospital that shares its campus with an extended care hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, and a variety of outpatient clinics that are significant employers of CNAs in the Memphis area.

The Memphis metropolitan area also has 50 nursing homes caring for the local elderly population.

Why You Need a Licensing Defense Attorney in Tennessee

When it comes to defending your Tennessee nursing assistant certification, having the support of the Lento Law Firm's highly qualified Professional License Defense Team is essential. If you are facing disciplinary action, the Tennessee Department of Health and its Health Related Boards Division will conduct a thorough investigation into your case. The government employees working on these cases are dedicated to scrutinizing every detail, leaving no stone unturned. With their expertise and knowledge of the disciplinary process, they know how to build a solid case against you. Going through the disciplinary process without proper guidance is not advisable. It is crucial to have a dedicated team of skilled and experienced Lento Law Firm attorneys on your side to fight for you and protect your nursing assistant certification.

How a Certified Nursing Assistant Defense Attorney Helps in Tennessee

If you have never faced a professional license disciplinary charge before, you may have questions about how the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team. When you meet with our Team will listen to your side of the story and take detailed notes on everything about your case. We want to learn your case in and out to provide you with the best representation possible. After we become well-versed in your case, we will develop strategies, approaches, and options to maximize your chance of success.

An important reason for having the Lento Law Firm on your side is because of our experience working with the Tennessee Department of Health and its Health Related Boards Division. Open and non-hostile communications with these agencies will greatly benefit your case. Good communication fosters cooperation and can lead to an early resolution in your case. Our Team has years of experience negotiating with government agencies and preserving our client's nursing assistant certifications. If early resolution isn't possible, the Professional Defense Team will help you prepare for your hearing, including assisting you in collecting any exonerating or mitigating evidence you will need to present to the disciplinary committee.

If the disciplinary committee's results are inappropriate or if you have already lost your nursing assistant certification prior to finding the Lento Law Firm, our Team can help. We are here to fight for you and your nursing assistant certification in an appeal. Most of all, we are here to make this process as easy as possible for you during this extremely stressful time.

License Defense Team for Certified Nursing Assistant Charges in Tennessee

You must take any threat to your nursing assistant certification with the utmost seriousness; you need to retain the best counsel to ensure the best outcome. Lento Law Firm's highly qualified Professional License Defense Team is here to advocate for you and your hard-earned nursing assistant certification. Call us today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online.


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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