On Sept. 9, BCEN was pleased to announce our 2020 Distinguished CPEN Award winner:
Lisa J. Chambers, MSN, MPS, RN, CEN, TCRN
Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department, CHOC Children’s Hospital
What unique ways does CPEN (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) certification contribute to patient care every day and, in particular, during the pandemic?
Lisa: CPENs are dauntless. Being certified through the pandemic helps us be brave as we care for the most frequently mistriaged population. Certified nurses know they have a body of knowledge underneath them supporting them through every care decision. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certified pediatric nurses have had to of potentially COVID-positive patients and their families.
Emergency nursing has been full of heroes well before COVID. Being certified—striving to achieve a higher standard for our patients—is just one way of showing it. In fact, six of our nurses got certified as soon as the testing centers reopened. We had certification after certification. To me, that just showed they were using their time to push themselves. As the department’s educator, I am thrilled they were so focused when they could have easily been discouraged or overwhelmed by the news of the day. Instead, they were working on becoming better, to bring even better care to kids.
What do you most want other nurses and employers to know about the benefits of being a CPEN?
Lisa: I think being board certified as a CPEN is really the hallmark of someone who cares about demonstrating they have that body of knowledge. By doing so, nurses prove it to themselves, and they prove it to others. Any RN can do this. It is about being willing and knowing that it is possible to attain.
Beyond nurses knowing it, I think employers need to know that it is worth reimbursing their nurses to get certified. Nurses from all emergency departments in our nation need to be certified for pediatrics because children can show up anywhere, at any facility. When you are CPEN-certified, you know you have the knowledge necessary to provide the best care for that child no matter where you work. Hopefully, more emergency nurses will be inspired to move forward, be encouraged that they can do this, and do it for the kids.
What does being the recipient of the BCEN Distinguished CPEN Award mean to you?
Lisa: I am super, super humbled. I really was blown away by the kindness of my coworkers for even nominating me. I know there are many other deserving nurses throughout this nation who recognize the importance of being certified and continue to push other people to succeed and exceed their own dreams.
What factored into your decision to get board certified and earn the CPEN?
Lisa: My first certification was the CEN® (Certified Emergency Nurse), and that was a big milestone for me. After realizing I could earn additional certifications and then moving on to work at a pediatric emergency department, I realized I really needed the CPEN. I think having already accomplished the CEN was a factor. And knowing that I really needed it, especially in my new pediatric-focused environment, I was thrilled I could attain it.
What inspired the ways you encourage and support colleagues to pursue CPEN certification and specialty certification in general?
Lisa: In our department, I get the privilege of being the educator and getting to work alongside amazing clinicians. Our Clinical Practice Committee works really hard to advocate for nurses to get their CPEN. We have an annual “Amazing Race” where nurses compete to be the first 10 or 12 nurses who earn their certifications that year. We all get excited, and everybody is very much cheered on. Our director, Frank Maas, allows his face to be on a pair of socks. If it is your first time getting certified, you get a pair of “Frank” socks. Those socks—and the recognition of being certified—is a badge of honor in our department.
CHOC is a Magnet hospital. As such, part of the requirement for climbing the clinical ladder is being certified. In an emergency department like ours, pediatric emergency certification is your first priority. Right up there with the CPEN is the TCRN® (Trauma Certified Registered Nurse) because we are a trauma center. Next, would be earning your CEN.
Certification really goes hand-in-hand with everything else we do. We expect the nurses to be experts at caring for all the patients who come through our doors. Everything we do is about becoming better.
Read our Meet the Winner Q&A with 2020 Distinguished CEN winner Jude Lark.
In case you missed it, you can read the 2020 BCEN Distinguished CEN and Distinguished CPEN Awards announcement here.