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Volunteer Opportunities

Become an Item Writer 

BCEN® item writers are key to the success of its exam programs. As experts in their respective fields, item writers are responsible for creating test questions for their assigned programs. Content experts who write items for BCEN exams represent various aspects of emergency nursing, emergency transport nursing, and pediatric emergency nursing. BCEN strives to screen applicants to ensure geographic, demographic, and practice diversity. BCEN chooses new item writers for its programs at least every 2 years. No previous item-writing experience is necessary!

Eligibility Requirements

Criteria for participation as a BCEN item writer are as follows:
  • Current certification as a CEN®, CFRN®, CPEN®, CTRN®, or TCRN® 
  • Current experience in emergency nursing, pediatric emergency nursing, flight nursing and/or critical care ground transport, or trauma nursing
  • Minimum of a BSN
View BCEN's policy on Item Writer Selection.

Item-Writing Workshop

Item writers must attend a 2-day item-writing workshop to receive instruction in basic item-writing and item-reviewing principles, including bias and sensitivity training. The workshop includes both didactic and interactive activities in which item structure, the test blueprint, confidentiality, and security issues are presented and discussed. Exam Construction Review Committee (ECRC) members also participate in the workshop and serve as mentors to new writers.

Assignments and Time Commitment

Assignments are made twice a year and are based on areas of each program's content outline. Item writers serve 2-year renewable terms and can expect to write about 20 items a year.

Mentoring and Feedback
Each item writer is part of an item-writing team and is assigned an ECRC mentor who reviews all newly written items. Items are reviewed for accuracy, critical content for the exam, bias and sensitivity issues, and correct classification to their respective content outline. Mentors provide detailed feedback to item writers after every assignment.  

How to Apply
The following information must be submitted to BCEN: 

  • A cover letter expressing your interest in being an item writer 
  • The exam program you wish to write for
  • A brief description of your experience and where you work (eg, rural, urban, teaching hospital)
  • A current curriculum vitae
Once BCEN receives your information and determines that you meet the criteria, you will be sent a brief item-writing exercise. The exercise must be completed in its entirety and returned to BCEN by the stated deadline for you to be considered. ECRC members evaluate the exercises and select new item writers based on item-writing aptitude shown on the exercises as well as the demographic needs of BCEN.

Become an ECRC Member

Item writers who consisitently write high-quality items, meet deadlines, and respond to feedback may have the opportunity to serve on an ECRC as openings occur. ECRC members are responsible for mentoring item writers, reviewing new questions, and assembling exam forms for their respective programs. ECRC members are selected for their knowledge, experience, and content expertise, and strong skills in question development. As with item writer selection, BCEN strives to ensure that the composition of its ECRCs reflects candidate populations in terms of geography, ethnicity, gender, and educational preparation.

BCEN ECRCs meet once or twice a year to assemble exams and participate in BCEN item-writing workshops as mentors. Each BCEN exam program (i.e., CEN
, CFRN/CTRN, CPEN and TCRN) has a separate and distinct ECRC.   

Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification

BCEN's Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®), Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN®) and Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN®) credential have been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association