Having an advanced certification in your specialty is a high accomplishment, and it probably took you quite a bit of studying, nail-biting, and nervous diarrhea to get through the exam. Don’t be a silly goose and wait until the eleventh hour to try to scrape together your CEUs to recertify, or worse, force yourself into having to re-test.
BCEN certifications (CEN, CFRN, CPEN, CTRN, and TCRN) are valid for four years, and recertifying is quite simple. Your certification must still be valid (not past the expiration date), you must hold a current, unrestricted nursing license, and you must have 100 contact hours completed between the date of issue on your current BCEN certification and the date you apply for recertification.
The rest is simple. Here are the instructions from BCEN.org:
BCEN will audit 10% of applications for renewal to check on those continuing education hours, so be sure you have proof of each hour. There are several rules about what counts for hours, such as at least 75 hours must be clinically-based and pertinent to your area of specialty, and at least 50 hours must be through accredited sources (ASTNA, CAPCE, ENA, ANCC, AACN, etc). You can easily find the complete rules on the BCEN website under the “Recertify” tab.
Personally, I keep a binder with page protectors in it and each time I earn a CEU, I slide it in the next page protector. I also keep my most recent BLS, ACLS, TNCC, ITLS, PALS, NRP, NSFW (ha! Just checking to see if you’re still with me) in there, along with my vaccine records and anything I might need related to healthcare employment. I keep this with me at home, never at work, so that I always have access to the records I might need. Keeping an updated collection of your current CEUs will prevent you from having to scramble to take a bunch of classes a month before your certification expires.
Finally, not to go full Mom on you, but put effort into your continuing education. Don’t just take the easiest or cheapest contact hours you can find. Nursing is far more than a job, it’s a calling. Making yourself a stronger nurse should be among your top career priorities, so do some self-evaluation, identify your weaknesses, and turn them into your strengths. Engage in high-quality classes or conferences, join education committees, read articles, and listen to the podcasts. Remember to care for not just your skills and your brain, but also your soul, your heart, your why. Sending love, my fellow nurses. This has been a crap-tastic year and I’m proud of you for hanging in there!
*submits blog and heads to the kitchen to do a line of Double Stuf Oreos*