SUMMIT, NJ – SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 - A nurse at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center is one of only two certified emergency nurses in the country, and the only one from New Jersey, to receive national recognition from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), the benchmark for board certification across the emergency nursing spectrum.

Jude Lark, BSN, RN, CEN, CCRN, emergency services clinical nurse educator, this week received BCEN’s 2020 Distinguished CEN Award.

“This award brings to light all the resilient and very capable certified nurses that we have developed here at the Overlook ED. Over the past six years, we have increased our certified nurses by 52%. It has made an impact, and I have seen that,” Lark said. “I have always thought that certification represents excellence in your field. I am so honored and extremely proud. I just hope every single day that I can make a difference in one of the team members I work with.”

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BCEN’s Distinguished Awards recognize one top nurse in each emergency nursing specialty who demonstrates clinical and professional excellence while supporting and advocating for others to earn their specialty board credentials. Nurses who earn the CEN and CPEN designations have demonstrated advanced knowledge, expertise and clinical judgment in the mixed/adult and pediatric emergency specialties, respectively. BCEN also recognizes one top trauma and one critical care transport nurse with national awards each year.

“Jude is an extraordinary emergency nurse, and BCEN is proud to honor her commitment to excellence through CEN certification,” said BCEN Executive Director Janie Schumaker, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, CENP, CPHQ, FABC. “As an innovative educator, the nurse residency program Jude spearheaded for Atlantic Health System and the daily encouragement and support she gives her peers and colleagues at Overlook as they strive to earn their emergency nursing board credentials is a master class in how to build a certified emergency nurse workforce.”  

These annual national awards recognize one board certified emergency nurse and one board certified pediatric emergency nurse from among nearly 40,000 Certified Emergency Nurses (CENs) and over 5,200 Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurses (CPENs), respectively.

“There is no greater champion for the certification and training of emergency nurses at Overlook than Jude Lark. From the moment our nurses join us at orientation, Jude sets the goal for them to attain their CEN within a year, and then works diligently to help them achieve it,” said MaryPat Sullivan, MSN, RN, CNS, chief nursing officer for Overlook Medical Center. “She is the consummate emergency department nurse—proficient, professional and compassionate—and is highly deserving of this national recognition.”

To assist all ED professional nurses in obtaining their CEN within a year, Lark has organized as well as facilitated six on-site CEN and CPEN review classes with national speakers, over the past five years and worked to increase the number of nurses attending, resulting in a 35% increase in attendees from the initial class. Lark has also been instrumental in working with the Nursing Education Department in providing tuition reimbursement for all nurses who apply for the CEN or CPEN exam, even if they do not pass on the first attempt. 

“The exemplary nursing care that our patients receive throughout Atlantic Health System are a result of our relentless efforts to help our nurses attain advanced training and certification,” said Trish O’Keefe, RN, Chief Nursing Officer for Atlantic Health System and president of Morristown Medical Center. “So many of these efforts in recent years have been thanks to Jude’s dedication and versatility. She truly stands out among her peers and is highly deserving of this recognition.”

As part of being an innovator this past year, Lark developed the first ED nurse residency program for new graduate RNs across all of Atlantic Health System’s emergency departments.  Lark included all new graduate RNs, as part of their professional development and orientation program, the two-day CEN review course.  Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Lark was able to multi-task and organized the very first virtual CEN review course with 55 nurses in attendance and 39 ED nurses registered.  Atlantic Health’s ED leadership made a collaborative decision to keep the course scheduled since there was such increased interest in course preparation, as well as a highly energized ED team under her facilitation.

Lark has developed a weekly newsletter which includes a CEN or CPEN question with answers provided the following week.  Discussion occurs during daily huddles to keep the team motivated, supported as well as encouraged to maintain their certification.  All certified nurses’ certificates are proudly displayed on our “Wall of Excellence” for all to see.

ED team members are encouraged to attend state ENA as well as national ENA conferences, for which Lark has written abstracts, presented posters, as well as participated on panels.  She has assisted ED team members in this area as well.  ED Leadership, which includes the educational team and the number of certified nurses, as well as educational degrees.

To learn more about Lark, visit this Q&A she participated in with BCEN:

About BCEN’s Annual Nurse and Organizational Awards

Every year, BCEN recognizes individual specialty certified emergency, trauma and transport nurses as well as healthcare facilities and health systems that demonstrate and advance certified nursing excellence and advocate for emergency nurse board certification. Learn more about BCEN’s Distinguished Awards and National Certification Champion Awards at 

About BCEN

Throughout 2020, the independent, not-for-profit Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN®) is celebrating 40 years of robust certification programs fostering empowered nurses across the emergency spectrum who contribute noticeably to patient care, safety and outcomes. Over 55,000 BCEN board certifications are currently held by registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in emergency, flight, critical care ground transport, pediatric emergency and trauma nursing. BCEN offers the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®), Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN®), Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN®), Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN®) and Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) certifications. The CEN, CFRN, CPEN, and TCRN certification programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC). Learn more at Follow BCEN on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

About Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System is at the forefront of medicine, setting standards for quality health care in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New York metropolitan area. Powered by a workforce of almost 17,000 team members and 4,800 affiliated physicians dedicated to building healthier communities, Atlantic Health System serves more than half of the state of New Jersey including 11 counties and 4.9 million people. The system offers more than 400 sites of care, including seven hospitals: Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ, Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, Newton Medical Center in Newton NJ, Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ, Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown, NJ, Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute in Madison, NJ.

Atlantic Medical Group, comprised of 1,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, represents one of the largest multi-specialty practices in New Jersey and joins Atlantic Accountable Care Organization and Optimus Healthcare Partners as part of Atlantic Alliance, a Clinically Integrated Network of more than 2,500 health care providers throughout northern and central NJ.

Atlantic Health System provides care for the full continuum of health care needs through 16 urgent care centers, Atlantic Visiting Nurse and Atlantic Anywhere’s Virtual Visits. Facilitating the connection between these services on both land and air is the transportation fleet of Atlantic Mobile Health.

Atlantic Health System leads the Healthcare Transformation Consortium, a partnership of seven regional hospitals and health systems dedicated to improving access and affordability and is a founding member of the PIER Consortium – Partners in Innovation, Education, and Research – a streamlined clinical trial system that will expand access to groundbreaking research across seven health systems in New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has a medical school affiliation with Thomas Jefferson University and is home to the regional campus of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Morristown and Overlook Medical Centers and is the official health care partner of the New York Jets.


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