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.

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!

Read Her Story

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.

Read Their Stories

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.

Read Her Story
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