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How long should someone work in Emergency medicine before sitting for the exam? Also, I work in an inner city 22 bed urgent care, do you think urgent care nurses should be able to take the exam? I struggle with whether I am even qualified. Thanks in advance.


Specializes in Emergency Room, Trauma ICU. Has 5 years experience.

It's usually recommended you work a year before taking the exam, but it's not required. If you work in an urgent care and not an ER it may not be relevant to your job.

We don't see nearly as much as the ER but we do get a lot of patients that are inappropriate for the UC. I was thinking of sitting for it so that I could eventually move into an ER position. Also, it would force me to learn more.


Specializes in Emergency Room, Trauma ICU. Has 5 years experience.

The number of pts you see doesn't really matter. Bottom line is there is a huge huge difference between an urgent care and an ER. Anyone can take the test, but please realize it doesn't make you an ER nurse or give you ER experience.

I very much realize it doesn't make me an ER nurse I was just interested in increasing my knowledge in emergency medicine.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU.

It depends more on your knowledge than your experience, I think. I would study a book, like Sheehy's Manual. Having the real world perspective would help but is not necessary. Your ER and location will shape your experience, and it probably won't be well rounded. I took the exam before I had ever worked in the ER, but I had about 10 years paramedic experience at the time. This covered all my trauma and a lot of medical problems, and my nursing training filled in the rest.

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 12 years experience.

You don't have to have any experience, and it's really just a lot of studying. I bought boswell's, some CEN test books and Sheehys.

Good luck to you! :) Hope it helps you score and ER job!


Specializes in Emergency/ICU. Has 4 years experience.

Your urgent care experience will help you a good bit if you are doing splints, basic pediatric conditions, STD's, fractures, and skin conditions. There were several questions about such things. Study the rest. If you are a good studier/test taker, you should do fine.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 13 years experience.

Two years of time is recommended, but not required. I had been an ED RN for 10 months when I took the exam and passed, but I also had nearly 4 years as an ED Tech and had been a paramedic for 6 years. CEN study is a great way to learn. :)