I finally took the CEN (certified emergency nurse) exam Thursday and passed with 89%, which I guess means that if you have an emergency, there's an 89% likelihood that I'll know what to do. Was it hard? Everyone asks that. Apparently not since I passed it with a pretty wide margin, but I also spent a month studying---not because I'm an ignoramus or a bad nurse but because there are a lot of tidbits of ER nursing I haven't experienced, for whatever reason. Tropical creature envenomation is a primo example. Also, the questions are like NCLEX questions, meaning that the potential for overthinking and/or putting the provided pencil through your eye to end the torture is fairly high.
But whatever. It was nerve racking, I studied and put effort into it, and I've got some more letters after my name. What do they really mean? I don't know. If the test is "really easy," as I'm hearing a lot (mostly from people who haven't taken it, for some reason), not much.
I think it shows I care about my profession and my patients. I was "raised" in nursing school to venerate specialty certification as imperative for us as a professional group. Doctors do it. We should too. The way I understand it, certification indicates that you know relatively more than your colleagues who haven't bothered. I think that's true in many cases, if only because I've put butt to chair and learned a lot of esoteric stuff.
CEN = "I care about my job. I bothered."