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Held by nearly 6,200 nurses and introduced just five years ago, the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN) is trauma nursing’s highest professional credential. Nurses who earn the TCRN must demonstrate advanced clinical knowledge and expertise across the continuum of trauma care from injury prevention to acute care to rehabilitation. Trauma is a major public health issue, and trauma nurses play a leading and highly collaborative role in trauma care. 

“Julie’s phenomenal success in supporting nurses to earn their TCRN trauma certification sets a prime example of how specialty certification contributes to better trauma nursing and better trauma patient care,” said BCEN CEO Janie Schumaker, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, CENP, CPHQ, FABC. “She is a true champion for trauma excellence.” 

Trauma nurse Julie Donnelly, MSN, RN, TCRN won the 2021 BCEN TCRN award.
Trauma nurse Julie Donnelly, MSN, RN, TCRN

Led and spurred by Julie’s work, the certification rate of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital emergency department nurses with at least three years of experience has increased from 38% to 100%, and the certification rates in all of the hospital’s trauma-designated units consistently exceed the average certification rate across all nursing units. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) is an accredited Level I Regional Resource Trauma Center. 

“When the TCRN was introduced, we were so excited to have a certification just for trauma that we could offer to nurses in the trauma bay and in our intermediate and ICU trauma-designated units,” said Donnelly. “I am truly honored to receive this award. I see it as a team award for Jefferson and all of the trauma nurses here, not just me.” 

Read more about Julie in the “Meet the Winner” Q&A at

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“Julie has demonstrated remarkable leadership and been a fierce advocate to improve trauma patient care and advance nurse education. This recognition by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing is an honor that both reflects her talent for elevating nurse professionalism in all the TJUH units involved in the care of trauma patients and supporting our system focus on improving lives,” said Kate FitzPatrick, DNP, RN, ACNP, FAAN, NEA-BC, System Chief Nurse Executive Officer, Jefferson Health. 

Donnelly was recognized via a virtual tribute by BCEN’s Schumaker on Friday, March 26, during TraumaCon 2021, the Society of Trauma Nurses‘ (STN) annual conference. The event is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The winner of this year’s BCEN Distinguished TCRN Award was determined by a selection committee consisting of BCEN board members, staff and volunteer subject matter experts as well as a representative from the Society of Trauma Nurses. 

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