What certifications do you have???


Hi all,

I've officially survived my first year in the ED with good reviews from my supervisor. I'm ready to take the next step in my career. I do ultimately plan to go back to school for NP (I have a BSN now), but finances and other life events say it might be best if I wait a little while for that. In the meantime however, I would like to go after some certifications to broaden my knowledge base as well as make myself more marketable. I have no intention of leaving the ED, even as an NP, so I want to do things that are related. I know the biggest cert for ER RNs is CEN, and I also have my eye on SANE. So my question is, aside from those two, what other certs are out there for ER RNs?? I appreciate any feedback.


74 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

I'm assuming you already have your ACLS certification.

TNCC - Trauma Nursing Core Course

CPEN - Certified Pediatric Emergeny Nurse

CCRN - Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification


135 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 6 years experience.

Yes, I already have ACLS and TNCC. I'm guessing its a myth, but i was told that CCRN was more for ICU/PCU nurses and that CEN was our "version" of that. CPEN, I was sort of avoiding just because I dread working with kids (you either love it or you don't). I'll definitely look into CCRN though.


74 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

Yes, the CCRN is for ICU nurses. I think studying for the test and eventually passing would be beneficial for ER nurses though. It is a goal of mine to pass the test :)


47 Posts

Specializes in emergency, neuroscience and neurosurg.. Has 13 years experience.

The CCRN is designed for critical care nurses. That being said, depending on what type of facility you work in, small community hospital vs. large teaching facility, ED nurses definitely perform critical care nursing. The CEN is not the ED's "version" of the CCRN. The two are distinctly different. I hold my CEN certification and have taken the review for the CCRN and the knowledge base for each is vastly different. Even if you have no intention of sitting for the CCRN, the review course is great for expanded knowledge.

I understand your thoughts on on pediatric patients... It took me a LONG time to become comfortable with caring for them. It is a necessary part of being an ED nurse though, unless you have a peds specific ED at your facility. Even then there may be times when there is a peds patient on the adult side. The more you experience you get with them the more comfortable you will become. And let me just say from terrifying experience (said tongue in cheek) you will look up one day and be the senior nurse on your unit. YOU will be the one that other nurses come to for help and advice. That is a very scary day!!!! At least is was for me. LOL. I kept looking for the nurses that I considered my mentors and had learned from, and guess what, the newer nurses were looking at me with the same expectations. LEARN ALL YOU CAN!!!! Study for CPEN as well as CEN even if you never sit for the certification. It will only enhance your knowledge as a nurse and make you a better patient advocate. I do recommend ENPC (Emergency Nurse Pediatric Core) for all ED nurses. It covers some of the same info as PALS but also medical treatments and trauma for peds population as well. The ENA has a comparison chart on PALS and ENPC on their website if you want more info. They also have a listing for classes nationwide that you can access.

As a final note, you did not mention whether you were a member of the ENA or not. I highly recommend it. The discounts for just one of the courses will pay for a years membership. In addition to that you will receive info and up-to-date EVP that is specific to our specialty. I tell all new nurses if they are serious about ED nursing then they need to join. There are just too many benefits to cover. Glad to see another nurse in love with my specialty and PASSION!!!!! Good luck and keep on learning!!!!!



47 Posts

@EDRN......i am a new nurse and i have been pounding the pavement trying to find a job. i decided to go ahead and get my acls but what other certifications can i get as a new grad? im trying to put as much on my resume as i can since i can't put experience :( and what is SANE?


47 Posts

Specializes in emergency, neuroscience and neurosurg.. Has 13 years experience.


certifications vary depending on what area or specialty you will be working. Basics include BLS, ACLS, and PALS (if working with pediatric patients). ER specific classes include TNCC, ENPC, and eventually CEN. All of these require some experience prior to taking the class. A general arrhythmia or EKG class could help broaden areas you may be considered for. When you do finally find your spot join the professional organization for that specialty. Many times they offer reviews or classes that are specific to the specialty. Whatever you do keep learning, it only makes you more marketable.


11 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience.

Obviously ACLS and PALS are necessary but I had a significant pay increase with TNCC and ENPC. Just saying! (Working on my CEN...)


914 Posts

SANE = sexual assault nurse examiner


561 Posts

Specializes in ER, Trauma, ICU/CCU/NICU, EMS, Transport. Has 18 years experience.

Here's some other talking points about "certifications"....

Professional "Certification"

  • Time-limited recognition and use of a credential to individuals who have demonstrated that they have met predetermined and standardized criteria for required knowledge, skills, or competencies.
  • Primary focus on assessment (as opposed to providing education/ training); independence of the assessment process from any education/training program or provider.
  • Linkage of the assessment to predetermined standards for knowledge, skills, or competencies, rather than to the learning outcomes of a particular education/training program.
  • The ability of certificants to use a credential or letters following their names to indicate they have satisfactorily met the requirements for certification.

...This would be your titles which include the word "CERTIFIED"

(IE: Certified Emergency Nurse [CEN], Certified Flight Registered Nurse [CFRN])

....it also includes those other titles which are recognized (in general) in the nursing community as part of your TITLE (IE: CCRN, RN-C etc)

The key here is that the awarding of this certification is predominately based upon an assesment method (IE: it's just a test - there is no teaching/education given as part of it)

Assessment-Based "Certificate" Programs

  • Provides instruction and training to aid participants in acquiring specific knowledge, skills, and/or competencies associated with intended learning outcomes.
  • Evaluates participants' accomplishment of the intended learning outcomes.
  • Awards a certificate only to those participants who meet the performance, proficiency, or passing standard for the assessment(s) (hence the term, "assessment-based certificate program").

...this is what you are talking about when there is typically a class or educational session given on a "core"/narrowly defined skill set and followed by an assessment of those skills/cognitive processes covered in the educational component... (IE: for ACLS the specific/narrow body of knowledge is Cardiovascular Care and you are tested on that upon course completion. For TNCC it is merely trauma focused with a trauma assessment at the completion)

...these "certifications" are typically not part of your professional nursing credential. They may be part of your educational background, but not core to your nursing licensed status.

...Also it should be said that typically these educational classes wtih an assessment/testing component, have often made the legal statement to the fact that "course completion does not guarantee future performance", in other words, they are assuming no responsibility that the student will behave, act, or practice in a certain way.

Certificate of Attendance or Participation

  • Provided to individuals (participants) who have attended or participated in classes, courses, or other education/training programs or events.
  • Demonstrating accomplishment of the intended learning outcomes by participants is NOT a requirement for receiving the certificate.

...this is usually associated wtih merely attending some type of educational event where no formal assessment/test is part of the completion. It merely documents one attended the event at hand.

Other points

Also know some "certifications" are practice based which means as part of initial application for certification and/or renewal of said certification requires one to meet some type of clinical practice requirement during the immediate period prior to first certification or during the renewal cycle.

Certifications such as CCRN and CPEN (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) require some type of clinical practice to achieve and to maintain. However the CPEN is undergoing some changes now and that clinical requirement is beind modified.

Others (CEN, CFRN for example) do not require a clinical component. So you could, in essence, take the CEN exam and NEVER HAVE TOUCHED a patient - and you can renew it every 4 years by re-testing or by continuing education hours and STILL HAVE NEVER TOUCHED a patient....Interesting.

Specializes in Emergency, Internal Medicine, Sports Med. Has 6 years experience.

I have my BSN, ACLS, TNCC, ENPC, PALS, a triage-specific course my hospital does, and I'm looking into getting SANE as we have SANE nurses in our dept also.

I think the biggest thing (I got my education in Canada, I'm not sure if you have this in the US or not) is my "specialty" certificate- ie more school after your BSN in your area of specialty. I did the Emergency Nursing Specialty, which was quite comprehensive (6 months of actual schooling + 3 months clinical time). Pretty much everything was covered in there- triage, trauma, peds, thermal injuries, hypothermia, mass casualties, pregnancy... etc etc

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nursing. Has 11 years experience.

ACLS/BLS, critical care, TNCC, ENPC, hazmat, and working on CEN