Emergency Nursing Expertise and Career Success Linked to CEN Certification in Large-Scale Study

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In the first large-scale study of its kind for the emergency nursing profession, the CEN certification, which is offered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), is linked to greater expertise, better technical performance, and higher pay, job level, employability and career satisfaction.

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This major study, which is the first of its kind for the emergency nursing profession, clearly demonstrates both the significance and the value of the CEN certification.

Emergency nursing expertise, skill set, and career success are significantly and positively linked to the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) certification according to a large-scale study announced today by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). The value of certification study, conducted by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) in late 2016 and early 2017, included responses from over 8,800 certified and non-certified ER nurses and over 1,000 supervisors of ER nurses.

“This major study, which is the first of its kind for the emergency nursing profession, clearly demonstrates both the significance and the value of the CEN. We are grateful to the thousands of nurses across the country who participated in the study and allowed us to hear their voice,” said Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing Interim Director Janie Schumaker, RN, CEN. “The study shows that CEN-certified nurses perform better than their non-certified peers, elevate the practice of nursing, and feel more empowered with their work.”

The study looked at outcomes of value to individual nurses including annual pay, level of career, nursing self-efficacy, empowerment, employability, career satisfaction and benefits of the CEN certification. The study also examined the importance to employers of having CEN-certified nurses and the value of greater nursing expertise and technical performance.

Among outcomes considered valuable to employers, the study found significant positive relationships between CEN certification and multiple aspects of technical performance, accuracy and ethical behavior, such as:

  •     Performs patient care with a high degree of accuracy.
  •     Efficiently and effectively performs the key technical aspects of his/her job within the healthcare team.
  •     Anticipates hazards and promotes safety in patient care.
  •     Remains current on new technical developments related to his/her job.
  •     Exhibits ethical behavior and concern for accuracy and truthfulness of information.

Emergency nurses with a current CEN also received significantly higher ratings from their supervisors than their non-CEN-certified peers on all seven areas of emergency nursing expertise rated: clinical foundations, major trauma, medical and surgical emergencies, disease management, special patient populations, psychiatric and behavioral emergencies, and professional practice.

Among outcomes of value to individual nurses, there was a significant positive relationship – even after controlling for level of education, years of experience, and other certifications – between having a current CEN and:    

  •     Higher annual pay
  •     Job advancement
  •     Employability
  •     Nursing self-efficacy
  •     Career satisfaction

Emergency nurses with a current CEN certification made $1,397 more pay per year, on average, compared to emergency nurses without a CEN. In addition, 90 percent of nurses said having a CEN gave them a feeling of accomplishment and pride, 80 percent said having a CEN means one is more likely to have knowledge needed on the job, and 70 percent said having a CEN makes it easier to find better employment.

When asked direct questions about the benefit, value and importance of the CEN, both supervisors and nurses agreed or strongly agreed that:                    

  • The CEN is valuable to the ER nursing profession (95% of supervisors, 88% of nurses)
  • It’s important to have professional, certified ER nurses in my organization (92% of supervisors, 82% of nurses)
  • It’s important for ER nurses to maintain their certification (93% of supervisors, 86% of nurses)

Nearly three-quarters of supervisors and over two-thirds of nurses said that having a CEN makes it easier to get hired as an ER nurse and advance to higher levels.

“This rigorous study included data from large samples of both nurses and supervisors and went beyond a simple correlational study,” said Gina Medsker, Ph.D, Strategic Human Capital Manager, HumRRO. “Using regression analysis, we found that CEN certification was significantly and positively related to many outcomes of value to ER nurses and their employers regardless of nurses’ education level, years of experience and other certifications.”

All study respondents were registered nurses whose primary job was emergency nursing. Most respondents worked full-time as staff nurses, charge nurses, clinical nurse managers, or higher-level managers in private and public hospitals or free-standing ER centers or federal facilities. Over three-quarters worked in an emergency department, while others worked in pediatric emergency departments, in flight or ground transport, or other types of units.

About BCEN
The nonprofit Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) develops robust certification exams fostering empowered nurses across the emergency spectrum who contribute noticeably to patient care, safety and outcomes. More than 44,000 BCEN certifications are currently held by registered nurses 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 the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) certifications. The CEN, CFRN, and CPEN certifications are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC), the only accrediting body specifically for nursing certifications. Learn more at BCENcertifications.org. Follow BCEN on Facebook.

About HumRRO
The Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) has a long history of providing solutions to a variety of human capital, education, training, measurement, and survey challenges. Through its research, program evaluation work, and development of licensing and certification tests and employee assessments, HumRRO has supported a wide variety of professional associations, corporate and nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.

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Julie Rosenthal
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