BCEN Marks 40th Birthday Of Emergency Nursing Certification & The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) Credential

BCEN Marks 40th Birthday Of Emergency Nursing Certification & The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) Credential

OAK BROOK, IL (July 7, 2020) – The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), the benchmark for board certification across the emergency nursing spectrum, is marking the 40th birthday of both emergency nursing specialty certification and the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) credential. Introduced on July 19, 1980, the CEN was the world’s first specialty nursing certification for nurses practicing in emergency care settings. Today, the CEN is held by nearly 40,000 registered nurses (RNs) worldwide and remains the most widely held emergency nursing specialty certification.

“BCEN honors the visionary nurses who turned the dream of emergency nursing specialty certification into a reality, and we celebrate the clinical expertise and professional contributions of CENs and board certified nurses practicing across the emergency spectrum around the clock and around the world,” said BCEN Executive Director Janie Schumaker, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, CENP, CPHQ, FABC. BCEN is also celebrating its 40th anniversary as a certification board throughout 2020.


Major CEN and emergency nursing certification milestones include:

  • 1975: Nurses in the then-Emergency Department Nurses Association embark on the development of the first emergency nursing certification program.
  • September 1979: Emergency medicine officially recognized as a medical specialty.
  • July 19, 1980: BCEN offers the first CEN certification exam in 30 states, with 1,274 RNs earning a passing score on the four-hour, 250-question, paper-and-pencil exam.
  • January 1, 1986: BCEN becomes a fully independent, not-for-profit corporation.
  • February 2002: The CEN is first accredited by ABSNC.
  • February 2009: The CEN earns Magnet-accepted status.
  • September 2017: Nurse supervisors responding to the large-scale Value of CEN Certification Research Study ranked CEN-certified nurses higher than their non-certified peers on all areas of emergency expertise as well as technical performance, accuracy and ethical behavior, with 95% saying the CEN is valuable to the ER nursing profession.
  • April 2020: BCEN introduces BCEN EDvantage to prepare nursing students, recent grads and RNs for a career in ED nursing and eventual CEN or other emergency nursing specialty certification.


Thirteen years after the CEN launched, on July 24, 1993, BCEN introduced a second emergency nursing credential, the Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN). Today, BCEN offers five professional credentials held by emergency, trauma and transport nurses around the world, including the Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN), the Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN) and the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN).

Visit bcen.org for more CEN and emergency nursing certification milestones plus BCEN’s 40th anniversary celebrations.


About BCEN

Throughout 2020, the independent, not-for-profit Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) is celebrating 40 years of robust certification programs fostering empowered nurses across the emergency

spectrum who contribute noticeably to patient care, safety and outcomes. Over 55,000 BCEN board

certifications are currently held by registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in emergency, flight, critical care ground transport, pediatric emergency and trauma nursing. BCEN offers the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®), Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN®), Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN®), Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN®) and Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) certifications. The CEN, CFRN, CPEN, and TCRN certification programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC). Learn more at bcen.org. Follow BCEN on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.