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CEN Certification Linked to Greater Expertise and Better Technical Performance Plus Higher Pay, Job Level, Employability and Career Satisfaction

Emergency nursing expertise, skill set, and career success are significantly and positively linked to the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) certification according to a large-scale study announced today by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). The value of certification study, conducted by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) in late 2016 and early 2017, included responses from over 8,800 certified and non-certified ER nurses and over 1,000 supervisors of ER nurses.

“This major study, which is the first of its kind for the emergency nursing profession, clearly demonstrates both the significance and the value of the CEN. We are grateful to the thousands of nurses across the country who participated in the study and allowed us to hear their voice,” said Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing Interim Director Janie Schumaker, RN, CEN. “The study shows that CEN-certified nurses perform better than their non-certified peers, elevate the practice of nursing, and feel more empowered with their work.”


In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard, causing devastating destruction throughout the city. Virtually nothing was spared from harm - including healthcare facilities.

One such facility was Charity Hospital, which was closed due to damage sustained during the hurricane. In 2015, University Medical Center, a state-of-the-art, Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital, was officially established in its former namesake’s place. During the time the hospital location was in flux, the hospital staff handled trauma and emergency care in various locations, including in tents and shopping centers.

"It was certainly a unique time to be part of New Orleans,” Monique St. Romain, BSN, RN, CEN, said.

St. Romain (right), who earned her Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) certification in 1993, works at UMC in the Trauma Services Department as the Trauma Performance Improvement Coordinator. She recalls that leading up to Katrina and even afterwards, the idea of incorporating an educational component through certification was a wish for many nurses, but funding was too tight to provide the option.

“When you must choose between spending budget dollars to keep basic supplies stocked or professional development for the staff, the choice is clear – the focus on patient care came first,” she said.

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Aimie Greulach, RN, CEN, CFRN
Mobile ICU/Flight nurse
Parkview Regional Medical Center Health
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Mobile ICU/Flight Nurse Aimie Greulach (left) recently made a choice that many experienced nurses who have Associates Degrees in Nursing are also facing: the decision to go back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Greulach has been a nurse for 21 years, spending the first fifteen working in the emergency department at Parkview Regional Medical Health Center and the past six in its Parkview Samaritan flight and ground transport department of the hospital. 

She had always intended to go back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree, but found that her busy schedule working in the emergency department and raising a family made it difficult for her to attend more than a few classes per year. Click on the title for the full article.


Beth Whitehead, MSN, BS, RN, CEN, CPEN
Clinical Resource Nurse
Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health
Abington, PA

When Beth Whitehead MSN, BS, RN, CEN, CPEN, started her career as a nurse in 1992, she never imagined that working in a pediatric setting would bring her such joy. “I really dreaded the pediatric rotation portion of my clinicals,” she said. “Then one day, something clicked and I just fell in love.”
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For the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC), prevention is the best way to treat injury. As the only Level One Adult trauma center in the region, UCMC has a commitment to the community to provide injury prevention.

UCMC’s trauma department believes that the TCRN® certification from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) helps spread that awareness, and in a recent unprecedented move, UCMC’s Director of Trauma Services, Shelley Akin, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, pushed forth an initiative - voted on by the current trauma nurse clinicians - to have all UCMC trauma nurses obtain a specialty certification by 2018. Click on the title of the article for the full story.


Albert and ParkinsKathleen Albert, MSN, RN, CEN, CNS 
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, Massachusetts
Karen Parkins, RN, BSN, CEN
Staff Nurse, Emergency Department
Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, Massachusetts
Both Kathleen Albert, MSN, RN, CEN, CNS, and Karen Parkins, RN, BSN, CEN, have been in the nursing profession for approximately 30 years. Albert has been in education in the Lowell ED for 15 years and has held a CEN for seven years. Her mentoring helped Parkins, who has been at Lowell for 21 years, earn her CEN this past October.
At least 10 years ago Parkins had taken a certification prep class with Albert, but never sat for the exam. Seeing each other every day in the ED, Albert would constantly encourage Parkins, “You CAN do this. You know your stuff!” Even after another prep class, it took her four months to sit for the exam.
“I had test phobia and concerns about testing on a computer,” Parkins admitted. What if, as a senior nurse, she failed the exam? What if she couldn’t review her answers on the computer? Parkins’ concerns are not uncommon.
As a mid-career, senior-level nurse, you process everything so quickly, you don’t realize you’re going through each of the steps that leads to your assessment of the patient and what to do, explained Albert. “As you practice more, it’s easy to forget how you get there,” she commented. It can lead to the fear that you can’t break it down when taking the exam. Read the full story.

Tracey CroteauTracey Croteau, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN
Elliot Hospital, Manchester, New Hampshire

It was as she was tending to a minor scrape on her son Jacob, age 7, that she realized the full effect. “Mom, I’m so lucky because my mom is a Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse.” Tracey Croteau, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, had recently received the 2014 Distinguished CPEN Award. The recognition – and opportunities to educate – rippled out in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

Croteau has worked in the emergency department at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH, for 15 years. She had already been focusing on pediatric emergency nursing when the hospital decided to open a Pediatric Emergency Department in 2009. She was instrumental in the process and has been encouraging specialty certification ever since, which earned her the CPEN Award last year.

She was the second nurse to earn a CPEN in the state of New Hampshire. “I was very excited when I saw the news of the new CPEN certification. I prepared the whole summer before and sat for the exam as soon as it was available.” She continues to encourage her peers to obtain certification; her old review book is still circulating among the nurses. Read the full story.


Yale-New Haven Hospital
Shoreline Medical Center / Saint Raphael Campus / York St.

SMC Campus of YNHHLess than a year ago the staff and management of Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) started a discussion about requiring nursing specialty certifications.  Now their goal is 100% specialty certification within two years for the nursing staff at all three YNHH emergency departments.  “Certification is about raising the bar – raising the expectations of standards, the level of performance and increasing the comfort level of competency and knowledge,” said Mark Sevilla, MS, RN, CENP, Nursing Director of Emergency Services.

The Chief Nursing Officer was immediately supportive of the idea. Sevilla noted, “We are very lucky.  The CNO knows that if you really want to improve, you have to support education. She committed funds towards certification, and YNHH overall has been committed to keeping funds available.”

“It’s really important for the staff to know that management is supportive, that they want people to be successful,” said Diane Rescigno, RN, BSN, CEN, Assistant Patient Services Manager SRC. In early March, YNHH hosted a certification review class that was free to attend, and Rescigno noticed that the staff came back energized.  She has always believed that certification contributes to positive outcomes. Read the full story.


Yonna Heath, BSN, RN, CEN
Project Nurse, Walsh Construction, Ohio River Bridges Project in KY


Yonna Heath, BSN, RN, CEN never envisioned hard hats, steel-toed boots and massive construction machinery would be part of her everyday work as an emergency nurse.  Yet she tends to injuries for more than 750 employees on the Ohio River Bridges Project, one of the largest heavy civil construction projects going on in the US today. Whether it’s a major trauma or crushed fingers, “it’s a trauma situation when it happens,” she noted.

Heath has spent 33 years in a variety of positions in the acute care setting, working in hospital administration before earning her RN in 1991. In 2000, she began putting her emergency nursing knowledge to work outside the ED as the night nurse in a coal burning power plant.

It was the safety manager she worked with at the plant that suggested her for her current full-time job with Walsh Construction.  She’s the first nurse Walsh Construction has hired in this capacity, and it was her presentation to the executive safety managers that helped persuade them.  “There are many benefits to having a nurse on site,” said Heath. “This includes financial benefits. I can manage routine things like tetanus shots and new hire drug testing, and can often save lost work time an employee would normally take to go to the emergency department.” Read the full story.


Roger Casey, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN
Base Chief, Northwest MedStar in Richland, WA

Roger Casey, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN is always striving to take his career to the next level.

  • He went from an Air Force Flight Medic to an emergency department trauma coordinator and is now the base chief for Northwest MedStar critical care transport service.
  • He’s been an emergency nurse for 18 years, has held his CEN credential for 11, and was recently inducted by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) as one of only 120 members of the Academy of Emergency Nursing.
  • He has also volunteered with the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) in growing levels of responsibility, starting out as a CEN Item Writer eight years ago, and now serving on the CEN Exam Construction Review Committee, and on the BCEN Board of Directors.
Earning a CEN “validates the work you do,” said Casey. “It really does set you apart from your peers.  It’s an inner drive – CEN nurses have gone above and beyond, raised the bar and set a new level of excellence.  For the patient, it’s comforting to know they’re being taken care of by a nurse with extra knowledge, someone with those extra letters behind their name.” Read the full story.
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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