The importance of board certification was a key theme when two clinical nurse educators—one from California, the other from New Jersey—received this year’s BCEN 2020 Distinguished Awards. Each year, the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) honors an emergency nurse and a pediatric ED nurse for combining outstanding clinical work with successful advocacy on behalf of specialized board certification, and Lisa Chambers and Jude Lark do indeed stand out.

Board certification pays off: BCEN 2020 award winner Lisa Chambers
CPEN Lisa Chambers

The 2020 Distinguished CPEN Award winner is Lisa Chambers, MSN, MPS, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, an emergency services/trauma clinical educator, and clinical nurse III at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, California. Described as “One of CHOC Children’s finest,” who “passionately guides frontline staff in integrating knowledge, skill, and behaviors to improve nursing practice and patient care” by Melanie Patterson, DNP , MHA, RN, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at CHOC Children’s, Chambers is proud of her staff’s determination to become board-certified during the pandemic. Far from being slowed down by COVID-19, she notes that “In fact, six of our nurses got certified as soon as the testing centers reopened. We had certification after certification. To me, that just showed they were using their time to push themselves.”

Board certification pays off: BCEN 2020 award winner Jude Lark
CEN Jude Lark

The 2020 Distinguished CEN Award winner is Jude Lark, BSN, RN, CEN, CCRN, an emergency services clinical nurse educator at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey. Lark is “the consummate emergency department nurse—proficient, professional and compassionate—and is highly deserving of this national recognition,” said MaryPat Sullivan, MSN, RN, CNS, the chief nursing officer for Overlook Medical Center. Lark’s team was an inspiration during this eventful year: “In 42 years of critical care nursing, I have never seen anything like what we experienced in the emergency department and critical care units across New Jersey. Our board-certified nurses used their knowledge of best practices and the most updated skills to help facilitate and drive the innovative practices and adaptations we had to quickly develop for our COVID patients, and for each other, too.” She added, “Over the past six years, we have increased our certified nurses by 52%!”

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Lark also remarked upon the way board-certified nurses took the lead during the pandemic, noting that “board-certified nurses really helped with that advanced level of thinking and effective utilization of CDC guidelines and ENA current COVID practice and trends, and in collaborating with our other sites. I actually have chills, because I think of all the emergency nurses and what they went through, while also taking care of each other.”

The BCEN site includes full interviews with Lisa Chambers and Jude Lark.

ED nurses seeking information on becoming board-certified should visit the BCEN site. Details on preparing for emergency nurse certification and other nursing certifications are available at Nurses Get Certified.

Koren Thomas
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