Cen, tcrn, cpen, atcn, atls, ccrn

Specialties Emergency


Hello! I've been an ED room for 6 years now and I feel like it's time I go for these certifications. What would you recommended studying books/materials for each of these certifications? I know it's a lot on my plate but I'm not perusing to take all the tests at once. I have ADD pretty bad, and very back test anxiety, and I need books that teach me the background physiology of why things are (e.g., sequences of body explaining hypovolenic shock) (i.e., books for separate departments like ED and ICU) but I also need additional books to review material needed for testing and practice questions. Any suggestions? I search the internet and each website gives me different answers and shows me books with a lot of fluff. I just want to be the best nurse I can be and feel confident when I take my tests.

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

In terms of prioritization for the board certifications, I would start with the CEN. It is going to give you a great base for everything else. It's been almost 10 years since I took my CEN, but I loved the materials from Jeff Solheim and Mark Boswell. Mark has a lot of stuff on YouTube.

ATCN and ATLS are not board certifications. They are two-day certification courses, so not the same. ATLS is for physicians and providers, so if you take ATCN, you are basically going to receive the same information. You can only audit ATLS anyway. Do you have TNCC?

I would leave the CCRN for last as it is not a typical ED board certification.

Specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

I would make sure that you have the basic ED certifications before worrying about board certifications. For me that would include ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ENPC, and NIHSS. These are all 1-2 day courses, they are neither board certifications nor post-nomial. I personally don't see a lot of value in ATCN/ATLS, I think there are better ways to disseminate trauma education however we do require our docs to take ATLS for our trauma rating.

CEN is the first certification I would take, it is the most entry level/general board cert through BCEN. When I took CEN I did some very basic studying but for the most part isn't very difficult if you have been an ED nurse for even a few years.

CPEN is great if you have pediatric specialty experience, but if you have only worked in general EDs (meaning no attached pediatric hospital to which you directly admit critically ill children) then I don't necessarily see a point. If you have specialty peds experience it also isn't a very difficult certification, ENPC helps a lot. Most of the study guides I've seen for CPEN are pretty good.

TCRN is also a pretty straight forward test, the society of trauma nurses has a great study guide. I took it as a bet between our ED director, trauma director, and myself to see who could pass it first. Unless you are in a large trauma center it doesn't do a whole lot for you.

CCRN isn't really an ED cert. We have a couple of nurses who have their CCRN but they also worked in the units before coming down to the ED. It is my understanding that ED time current counts towards the critical care time required to test for CCRN, but it is more about managing critical care patients over an extended period of time than the initial stabilization that we typically perform in the ED. I would far rather see our nurses test for CEN, CPEN, or TCRN than CCRN if they only have ED experience.

Thank you very much for replying to my post! I currently have BLS, ACLS, TNCC, and ENPC and was fortunate enough to have my first job at a Level II trauma center with cardiac and stroke certifications as well. After about 3 years I left to travel to California to smaller rural hospitals and experienced a very different atmosphere where there were little to no resources. Sometimes we're stuck with very critical ICU patients because transferring hospitals are either full or won't accept a patient and it falls upon me to be an ED nurse as well as a moonlighting ICU nurse. One of the EMS directors mentioned to me that ATLS is more effective and a more in depth process than TNCC, so that's why I am asking about ATCN/ATLS. And with having to hold ICU patients most of the time I was wondering if CCRN would benefit me. Plus, I worry that one day my ASN degree won't be enough anymore even though I've been an ED nurse for 6 years,

There is also a stroke certification that you can get, SCRN, check out About the SCRN Credential | ABNN Certification .

Specializes in ICU, CVICU, E.R..

Wouldn't hurt to take the CCRN. But the topics in Cardio and Pulmonary topics will be more in depth. You would have to memorize many hemodynamic values and understand each values' significance. Pulmonary will be the harder of the 2 topics to understand. CCRN would be over kill for any ED only nurse. You'll never handle Balloon pumps, impellas, fresh hearts (AVR,MVR,CABG,etc), and post-cardiac management.

It would be more reasonable to take ED related certifications.

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