Jump to content

How impossible is CEN for a new grad?

I graduated in December, took boards in January, and got hired in the ED in Febrary. I've worked 10 shifts thus far and am wondering how impossible CEN would be for me. Is this one of those things where it doesn't really matter "how smart you are" and is more about experience? I don't know what to expect but if it's doable for the average person I'd like to go ahead and become certified.


Specializes in Cath/EP lab, CCU, Cardiac stepdown. Has 3 years experience.

I don't know but if it's like the ccrn or pccn you need to have a certain amount of hours worked in that speciality in order to qualify to sit for the exam I believe.


Specializes in Family practice, emergency. Has 10 years experience.

You do not need to have a set number of hours, but there are a recommended number of hours. I have seen some new grads take it and rock it, and experienced nurses fail. If you are a good test taker, you can manage it, especially if you are in a good residency program- our RN residents took TNCC, ENPC, BLS, ACLS, PALS, NRP along with EKG interpretation and other critical care courses at minimum. So, you have recently been over many core ED concepts. It'd be a great "final exam."

Personally, I do think one should put in a year first, but since the BCEN doesn't make that a requirement, shoot for the moon.

Edited by bebbercorn

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 12 years experience.

I passed the CEN on my first attempt when I had been an ED RN for 10 months. I went straight to the ED as a new grad, but I was an ED tech for 3.5 years and a paramedic for 5, so I did have a pretty solid foundation. :)

Lev, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency - CEN. Has 7 years experience.

One of the new grads in my ED passed CEN after her orientation. She took a CEN review class offered by the ED, did some practice tests, and passed. She said that she passed by a few points. She does seem like that book smart type though. My ED is also fairly high acuity (not trauma, but still large volumes and many ESI 2s and 1s).


Specializes in ER. Has 1 years experience.

I just passed the CEN a week ago, and I am at exactly 10 months for my ER time (my first RN job). I took every available course I could get my hands on as soon as I had passed the NCLEX, including extra training offered by my hospital (TNCC, ATLS/ATCN, CATN, ACLS and PALS of course). I know the high acuity level and prevalency of cardiac, respiratory and neurological complaints of my ER (we are a Level II trauma center, certified stroke center and certified chest pain center) was a key element in solidifying the book knowledge with the practical knowledge. The true test before the test for me was doing practice questions, and being able to relate those questions to actual cases I had seen and cared for. I casually studied for it the CEN itself for about 6 months (VERY casually...like maybe a few hours a week), then I took a week off before my exam date and just lived and breathed Jeff Solheim and Mark Boswell videos/workbooks. I passed with a 93%. Even better than that, I was answering many of the test questions with a level of confidence I never had in nursing school, and it was a great feeling! So pick an exam date, and aim high!!

Medic/Nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Flight, ER, Transport, ICU/Critical Care.

I passed the NCLEX in April 03 & the CEN in September 03.

I had been a medic for 9 years and completed my ASN via Excelsior in late Feburary 03 that year. I was a new grad in a 12 hour a week benefited position in a 35K visit ER. I had a 6 week orientation. I can't say that I did anything special study wise. I passed above 90%. I had audited TNCC/ENPC as a medic a couple years earlier and had just taken both again as a NURSE. I was also an instructor in ACLS/PALS.

I think everyone has a different "reality" coming into the test. Just like PixieRN having a medic and ER tech background helped me a lot. It's not a bad test. I actually retest every 4 years instead of tracking CEU's.

Only you know your test readiness. It is just confirmation of test knowledge. If you feel like you are at a level of mastery of emergency nursing — I say go for it.

I believe in the value of certification. However, just be aware that certification without requisite justification doesn't accomplish much and in some cases could hurt you. I've seen folks have critical care and flight certifications and ZERO experience and then proudly display those "certs" in the job search/interview process. Do not do this. Please.