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40 Years of BCEN: Your Story is Our Story

Group of nurses walking

We can’t tell our story without telling yours.

For 40 years, BCEN has been an advocate for certified nursing. We’ve also been a voice for board certified nurses. Now, we’re using that voice to tell the stories of the last four decades — your story, our story. But our story won’t be complete without your chapter. Help us tell the story of certified nursing by clicking above to submit your story.

If at First You Don’t Succeed … A Q&A with CEN Jordan Seifert

Jordan's journey to certification was no walk in the park. Read about the challenges she faced and how she finally overcame the odds to achieve her CEN!

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BCEN EDvantage Program Takes Off with Rick Yadon

BCEN’s first EDvantage certificate holder, Rick Yadon, did not take a “traditional” path to a career in emergency nursing. Read more about his experience in healthcare, his journey to emergency nursing, and his thoughts on the BCEN EDvantage certificate program!

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The Other Side of the Tragedy ...

When you spend every day supervising the Emergency Department, you do what you need to do to get the job done. You never prepare for being on the other side of a tragedy that changes your entire life.

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Chad Garner, CEN

Read how Chad Garner went from a new graduate in his second career to Director of Nursing over the Emergency Department in less than 10 years!

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BCEN History

Check out a brief overview of BCEN's robust history!

BCEN's History

Happy 40th to the CEN® & Emergency Nursing Certification!

July 2020 is a very special month in BCEN’s history and the history of emergency nursing, because it marks the 40th birthday of both the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and emergency nursing specialty certification. Check out the highlights of BCEN's robust history!

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A Q&A with Trauma Manager, Army Reservist and Father of Four, Ray Staggs, RN, TCRN

What has nursing during the pandemic looked like for father of four, 28-year Army Reservist and North Kansas City Hospital trauma program manager Capt. Ray Staggs, RN, TCRN? This Father’s Day, he’s grateful to be home safe and sound with his family after his unit was deployed to a COVID unit at Stamford Health in Stamford, CT. 

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Just Another Day at the Office: A Nurses Perspective of Adapting to a Pandemic

What does “a day at the office” look like for a nurse working during a global pandemic? Cynthia Martinez, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, returns to give us her perspective in BCEN’s most recent story.

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I am a second-generation CEN. My mother has been an Emergency Department RN since the 70s. I became an RN in 1998, with the hopes of becoming an ED RN just like her. In January 2000 my dream came true and I started as an ED RN! I recently got a job outside of the ED, but still work there per diem because I will always be an ED RN at heart.- Katherine Torregrossa, CEN

A Nurse's Perspective with Cynthia Martinez, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN

Cynthia Martinez, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, out of Easton, PA gives us her perspective on the trials and tribulations of being a nurse… and why she could never see herself doing anything else.

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A Q&A with CFRN/CTRN ECRC volunteer Graham Newton, BN, RN, CFRN, CTRN, EMPT-P

Graham is one of our amazing volunteers. He resides in Alberta, Canada and travels to the US to sit on our CFRN/CTRN Exam Construction Review Committee. This committee is responsible for review, revision, and approval of items before they become part of the exam. We wanted to sit down with him to hear his perspective as a BCEN volunteer during National Volunteer Appreciation Week...

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Certified Internationally... Shamsa Al Bulushi BSN, MSN, CEN

Shamsa was the first certified nurse in Oman. Now, her goal is to improve emergency services in her country by helping her colleagues get certified!

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BCEN's Certified Superstars

A few elite nurses hold all 5 BCEN certifications. Read about their stories and why they chose to hold all 5 certifications.

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Louise Hummel... Certified for 40 Years

When Louise Hummel changed positions in the hospital to become an Emergency Department nurse, she had no idea how her life would change.

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Joan Somes, CEN since 1980- Taking the CEN exam was nerve-wracking. Only the sound of pages turning and pencils scratching in the answers. It took several weeks to find out the results. I passed! No matter how hard those questions were, I now could tell people "I can prove I know what I need to know to be an emergency nurse!" I have taken the test every 4 years since, and I proud to know that I still know what I need to know to be an emergency nurse and am proud of it.

A Q&A with one of the original Certified Emergency Nurses

Learn about what it was like to sit for the first CEN exam, why she's maintained it for so many years, and her take on the value of being a certified nurse!

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Top 5 Self-Care Tips for Nurses

Encouraging you to take care of yourself is something we’re passionate about. As nurses, you may often find yourself preaching self-care to your patients and neglecting to do it yourself. Check out these 5 hot tips, specific to you, to ensure you are always at your best!

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Florence Fricke RN, BSN, MSN, MBA, CEN... One of the First Certified Nurses- I have been certified since first exam and remember it was a pencil and paper exam and had to wait for results by mail. I wanted to become certified for many reasons but mostly it was a personal goal. It was a way to review material and to show myself I could still learn from testing. As the years went on it was a recognition by employers that kept me going. Most places I worked did not pay for the exam which didn’t stop me from continuing. I am currently certified till end of 2020 and will be finally be retiring my credentials. At 74 I am grateful for the knowledge gained in reviewing and taking the exam. I have held many positions over the years but my ER time gave me the most satisfaction. Thank you for the opportunities

She swore she'd never date a paramedic ...

and look what happened! Jennifer and Doug's paths had crossed multiple times, but they didn't really know each other. Thanks to the wonderful invention of Facebook, Doug was able to shoot his shot ... and land the ED nurse of his dreams! Check out more amazing stories of love blossoming in the ED.

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How working in the ED led me to my sweetheart
Janet Spellman, Certified Since 1980

Certified for 40 Years...

After 40 years of being a Certified Emergency Nurse, Janet M. Spellman has had quite a career. She was one of the first nurses to sit for the original CEN exam in July 1980 and became an Item Writers shortly after. She has continued to maintain her CEN for 40 years because of the value and knowledge it has brought to her life. Her biggest piece of advice? Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. And once you’ve done that, create your own opportunities. Read the full article to learn more about her career and her advice to new nurses!

Read Janet's Story
“I have been a nurse for 43 years, and I have worked in the same ED in Philadelphia for all 43 years. When I took the first CEN exam that summer of 1980, it was on paper. And I remember a group of us carpooled to the exam. There have been so many changes in nursing over the years. I continue to recertify because I feel the need to while I continue to work in the ED.”- Joan Puzycki, CEN since 1980
Geri Nigro, Certified Since 1980

“Emergency nursing is always changing – you have to stay on top of it to be successful.”

Geri Nigro sat for the very first CEN exam in 1980 and she continues to sit for the exam to recertify her CEN every 4 years. She believes studying for the exam keeps her up-to-date on best practices and relevant topics in her field. Read more about Geri and why she and so many other nurses get recertified.

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“I use both the Support Your Nurse and Nurse Recognition Kit all the time. I love them because I know they provide our nurses with the information, support and encouragement they need to be their best. The entire process is so easy and our nurses have expressed how much they appreciate having all the certification information in one place. The kits encourage and enable our nurses to achieve excellence in their field, demonstrating the proficiency and knowledge our communities and patients depend on daily.”- Jennifer Baldwin, Clinical Administrative Assistant, Life Flight Network