Section 515.750  Trauma Nurse Specialist


a)         TNS Education Sites


1)         TNS courses shall be conducted only at hospitals that have been designated by the Department as TNS education sites.


2)         The Department shall designate TNS education sites based upon regional needs, the educational capabilities of interested hospitals to provide advanced trauma education to nurses, and participation in an EMS System.


3)         The TNS Program Plan (see Section 515.760) shall serve as a standard TNS program plan.  The Department will approve program plans based on compliance with Section 515.760.


4)         The Chief Executive Officer of the hospital designated as a TNS education site shall appoint, and endorse in writing to the Department, a TNSCC to plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate the TNS course and TNS program activities, who meets the following requirements:


A)        Is an RN with an unencumbered license in the state in which he or she practices;


B)        Is employed by the TNS education site;


C)        Has at least three years of experience as an RN in an emergency department or critical care setting in a trauma center;


D)        Holds a certificate of TNS course completion issued by the Department as provided in this Section; and


E)        Has a minimum of 50 hours of teaching experience in emergency/critical care nursing courses.


b)         The TNSCC shall admit to the TNS course only those individuals who have met the following requirements:


1)         Are currently licensed as an RN in the state in which they are practicing, as verified by the submission of a photocopy of the official license showing the license number and expiration date; and


2)         Have at least 1500 hours of clinical care experience in an emergency department or critical care unit (preferred) as an RN, with successful completion of a unit orientation.


c)         The TNS course shall reflect evidence-based content as created by the TNSCC and approved by the Department as being in compliance with the TNS program (see Section 515.760).


d)         Testing


1)         A standardized practical examination shall be administered.  The practical examination shall include an assessment station at which the student will evaluate and stabilize a simulated critically injured trauma patient.


A)        The student shall have a maximum of 10 minutes to evaluate and stabilize the patient.


B)        The TNSCC shall develop the passing criteria, which shall be included in the program plan developed in accordance with Section 515.760.


C)        A student shall be given three attempts to successfully complete the practical examination. 


2)         A student who has successfully completed course requirements per procedure and paid all fees shall be eligible to take the final written examination. The TNSCC shall develop the final examination and shall provide the examination to the Department.  The TNSCC shall develop passing criteria, which shall be included in the Program Plan developed in accordance with Section 515.760.


A)        A student shall be given three attempts to successfully complete the final written examination.


B)        The candidate shall successfully achieve a passing score on the State examination within 12 months after completing the education program. 


3)         Examination Application


A)        Candidates for the TNS examination shall apply to take the examination using the Department form. Information is available on the Department's website:  http://www.continentaltesting.net/ProfDetail.aspx?Entity=5&ProfID=73.


B)        A roster of examination candidates from each TNS education site is created by the TNSCC who approves the candidate's application and is submitted to the Department.


C)        The candidate shall submit a fee for each written examination attempt (see Section 515.460).


e)         Failure to appear for the examination on the scheduled date, at the time and place specified, shall result in forfeiture of the examination fee.


f)         If a candidate does not achieve a passing grade on the written examination, the fee for the re-test is the same as for initial examination.


g)         All fees submitted for licensure examination are nonrefundable.


h)         Testing Option − Challenge

Any individual who has met the admission requirements provided in subsection (b) has the option of taking the TNS practical examination and final examination without having completed the didactic sessions (referred to as "challenging" the examination). The individual shall file a request to challenge the examination with the TNS education site at least 30 days prior to the scheduled practical examination.  Candidates who elect to challenge the examination will have only one attempt to successfully complete the written and practical examinations to demonstrate proficiency.


i)          Licensure as a TNS


1)         The Department will license a student or candidate after the student or candidate has achieved a passing score on the final written and practical examinations and has paid any required fees (see Section 515.460).


2)         Licensure is effective for four years.


j)          TNS Relicensure


1)         A TNS may be relicensed by either submitting approved trauma-specific CE or taking the current TNS final written examination as provided in this Section.


2)         A TNS may apply for relicensure by submitting the following to a TNSCC at least 40 days, but no more than 90 days, prior to license expiration:


A)        Documentation of 64 hours of approved trauma-specific CE/activities for nursing or CME acquired over four years, using the TNS CE Summary Submission form.  CE approval will be granted, provided that the application is complete and the content of the program educational activity is based on topics listed in the TNS program in place at the time the CE is acquired;


B)        Completed Child Support form supplied by the Department; and


C)        Relicensure fee (see Section 515.460).


3)         The TNS final written examination is an alternative option for relicensure.  A total of three attempts are allowed for the relicensure candidate to achieve a successful examination score prior to the lapse date.  The process used in subsection (d)(3) is used for the application, assignment to an examination site, and fee submission.


4)         The candidate applying for license renewal is responsible for his/her record keeping and timely submission of CE documentation.


5)         The license of a TNS who has failed to file an application for recertification or an application for an extension prior to the lapse date shall terminate on the day following the expiration date shown on the certificate.


k)         Inactive Status


1)         Prior to the expiration of the current license, a TNS may request to be placed on inactive status.  The request shall be in writing, on a form prescribed by the Department, and shall contain the following information:


A)        Name of individual;


B)        Date of certification;


C)        Circumstances requiring inactive status; and


D)        A statement that relicensure requirements have been met by the date of the application for inactive status. CE hours shall be current at the prorated rate of 1.3 hours per month for the current licensure period.


2)         The Department will review requests for inactive status.  The Department will notify the individual TNS in writing of its decision based on subsection (k)(1).


3)         To return to active status, the TNS shall apply in writing within 36 months after being placed on inactive status. The application shall include a current unencumbered RN license and a fee (see Section 515.460).


4)         Inactive status is valid for only 36 months.  If status is not reactivated, the individual shall successfully complete the examination or retake the course (see subsection (h)).


5)         During inactive status, the individual shall not function as a TNS.


l)          A TNS whose license has expired may, within 60 days after expiration, submit all relicensure material required by this Section and a fee (see Section 515.460), in the form of an organization's payment, a certified check, or a money order (cash or personal check will not be accepted).  If the application for license renewal meets the requirements of this Section and there is no disciplinary action pending against the TNS, the Department will renew the TNS license.


m)        A TNS shall notify the Department within 30 days after any change in name or address.  Notification may be in person or by mail, phone, fax or electronic mail. Addresses may be changed through the Department's online system: https://emslicensing.dph.illinois.gov/Clients/ILDOHEMS/Private/AddressChange/AddressLogin.aspx. Name and gender changes require legal documents, i.e., marriage licenses or court documents.


n)         The Department shall have the authority and responsibility to suspend, revoke or renew the license of a TNS, after an opportunity for hearing by the Department, if findings show that the TNS has failed to maintain proficiency in the level of skills for which the TNS is licensed or has failed to comply with relicensure requirements.  (Section 3.75(b)(8) of the Act)  Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with Practice and Procedure in Administrative Hearings.


(Source:  Amended at 42 Ill. Reg. 17632, effective September 20, 2018)