Today in the chart

Nursing Certification: My Journey to Certification and the Unexpected Support I Found Along the Way

Attempting a certification, whether successful or not, takes drive and dedication.

When I started as a nurse in 2015, I knew I wanted to be a critical care nurse, and I always knew I wanted to become a certified nurse eventually. My emergency department preceptors, John Luke Toner and Nicolette Kenton were certified nurses; to me, their certifications meant a lot. It recognized the work they had done to become experts in their specialty and was a commitment to both the specialty they worked in and the patients and staff they worked with. They also gave back to others through knowledge sharing and encouraging others to seek certification. So in 2019, I started thinking about and studying for certification exams, and in February 2021, I took the CCRN and passed.

I knew I would return to the same test center for my next exam, but I didn’t expect support from the staff during my certification journey. CCRN was my first certification, and I shared with the staff that I had more scheduled in April at the same test center. I explained all the certifications and why I wanted to obtain them, and the staff seemed interested in my journey to certification. In April 2021, I obtained four more certifications (CTRN: Certified Transport RN, CFRN: Certified Flight RN, TCRN: Trauma Certified RN, and CEN: Certified Emergency Nurse.) Each time the staff cheered me on as I went to take another exam and even researched the certifications to know the acronyms. After passing, the staff asked when I would attempt the last exam. I decided to take some time, and in August 2021, I successfully passed the CPEN (Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse) examination at the same test center with the same staff. Still, something was different when I came out of the exam room. There were a lot of people at the testing center. When I received my printout, all the staff congratulated me as I became the 85th nurse ever to obtain all five certifications from the BCEN (Board of Certification in Emergency Nursing). They had a small cake and a card from everyone who worked at the center. Everyone was rooting for me to pass the whole time but also had a “you’ll get it next time” cake and card waiting if I wasn’t successful.

Attempting a certification, whether successful or not, takes drive and dedication. I never really thought that my goal to show my dedication to my specialty and career in nursing would lead to support from so many people. The support of the staff at the test center was so unexpected and wonderful. The interesting thing about certification is its impact on not just the person obtaining them but everyone around them. In taking my exams, I saw so many people leaving successfully passing their exams and adding more not only to themselves but also to the people that will benefit from their certification and dedication to their career and specialty.

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