If you have committed to a career in emergency room nursing, you may want to improve your skills and prove your dedication to your field with an additional certification. One of the best ways to do that is with a certification specifically geared to your daily work and knowledge level. The Certified Emergency Nurse Examination may be the perfect option for you.

What Is the CEN Test?

CEN stands for Certified Emergency Nurse. This test is open to any registered nurse who holds a current and unrestricted licensure in his or her state. Nurses who apply for this may have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees or may have diplomas in nursing. In addition, they should ideally have a minimum of two years of emergency room experience before applying for the examination. Many nurses prefer to wait even longer than this so that they have the experience necessary to do well on the test.

Why Should You Take the CEN Test?

If you are considering this certification for yourself, you may be wondering what it could do for your career. While it is certainly not mandatory that all emergency room nurses hold this certification, it could benefit you personally as well as professionally.

CEN certification may provide the following benefits.

  • It demonstrates your advanced knowledge level.
  • It is the capstone on your years of nursing experience.
  • It can differentiate you from other job candidates.
  • It can prepare you for a leadership role on your unit.
  • It may help you get an hourly raise.
  • It helps to ensure that your knowledge is up-to-date.

How Hard Is the CEN Test?

Keep in mind that this is a certification, which should not be confused with a certificate program. When you participate in a certificate program, you are first taught the information you will need to know for the examination. However, with a certification, you are only called upon to validate the knowledge and skills that you already have. This is why it is recommended that you be an experienced emergency room nurse.

This is a rigorous examination covering all areas of emergency nursing. If you do not routinely care for certain types of patients, such as trauma patients or pediatric patients, you may find that certain areas of the examination are quite difficult if not impossible to pass without a thorough review of the topic.

Why Should You Complete a CEN Review?

Because of the difficulty level of the CEN examination, you will certainly want to review for a minimum of several weeks before your testing date. You could study on your own with a review book, but you will want to ensure that you are using the most up-to-date version available because medical practices can change rapidly.

For this reason, an in-person review course is typically the best option for most nurses. These courses will give you all of the latest emergency nursing protocols, give you a chance to ask questions and let you check your knowledge against that of your peers.

Consider the CEN Review Test Prep Course from Project Heartbeat, which is ideal for first-time testers as well as for those seeking to improve their scores. This two-day course includes videos, in-person lectures and plenty of practice questions on all of the areas that will be covered on your examination.