Skip Navigation
National League for Nursing, American Heart Association, Laerdal and RQI Partners, Resuscitation Quality Improvement, An American Heart Association and Laerdal Program


National League for Nursing Recognizes Nursing Schools and Deans for Helping Transform Standard of Care for Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation

Twelve Schools Celebrated for Commitment to Elevating High-quality CPR Skills and Preparing Future Nurses for Clinical Practice

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2022 — Today, the National League for Nursing recognized 12 U.S. college and university nursing schools for their contributions in helping usher in a new era in health care education. At last year’s NLN Education Summit, the NLN announced a partnership with Laerdal Medical to promote Resuscitation Quality Improvement® (RQI®) program adoption by nursing programs at higher education institutions. RQI is a proven, evidence-based solution to help accelerate the organizations’ shared mission to help save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest.

As “early adopters” of the RQI program, the League celebrated the 12 nursing programs and their deans for being change agents in resuscitation education and helping transform the standard of care for cardiac arrest resuscitation. The schools were honored at the annual Deans and Directors’ Luncheon during the 2022 NLN Education Summit in Las Vegas.

Participation in the program, an innovative, digital approach and curriculum, helps elevate high-quality CPR skills and prepares future nursing professionals to respond to cardiac arrest events competently and confidently — leading to improvement in survival rates. RQI is co-developed by Laerdal Medical, one of the world leaders in medical simulation and resuscitation training, and the American Heart Association®, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to a world of longer, healthier lives for all. The program is delivered by RQI Partners, the partnership between and service provider for the two organizations.

Collectively, the schools have enrolled more than 1,000 students in RQI, being the first higher education institutions to introduce a new academic standard in how faculty teach resuscitation education and students learn. Upon graduation, these students will transition to clinical practice and are destined to have a profound impact on the health outcomes of their patients and the health care systems and communities they serve. 

“We are so encouraged by the enthusiasm these leading academic institutions have expressed for the RQI program. In our nursing program, acceptance has been overwhelming. Our core beliefs are anchored in the value of research, practice, excellence in nursing education, and preparing practitioner-students to create positive change in health care,” said NLN Chair Kathleen Poindexter, Ph.D., RN, CNE, ANEF, interim associate dean of academic affairs at Michigan State University College of Nursing. “RQI program participation affords the opportunity to act on what we say and teach, lead, and serve as role models in implementing cutting-edge practice change informed by research. We are practicing what we teach and positioning our nursing students to deliver competent, confident, and effective resuscitation and patient care in the present and in their future professional careers.”

Introduced in 2015, RQI helps learners achieve sustained mastery of high-quality CPR skills and verified competence through short, quarterly practice and review sessions. Program development was fueled by the groundbreaking research conducted more than a decade ago by nurse educator-scholars Marilyn Oermann, Ph.D., RN, ANEF, FAAN, professor of nursing at Duke University School of Nursing, and Suzan Kardong-Edgren, Ph.D., RN, ANEF, CHSE, FSSH, FAAN, associate professor at MGH Institute of Health Professions.

Their multi-site studies documented the effectiveness of short, quarterly practice — “low-dose, high-frequency” — to improve nurse performance of high-quality, lifesaving CPR, optimize knowledge retention, and eradicate CPR skills decay. The model, utilizing self-directed CPR skills practice on manikins with high-fidelity feedback, helped transform pre-licensure instruction in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), as well as CPR competence among health care providers.

“In January, the National League for Nursing announced 2022 as the Year of the Nurse Educator in recognition of nursing education’s critical role during the pandemic, and in celebration of its historic and continuing inspiration to current and future nurses everywhere,” said NLN President and CEO Beverly Malone, Ph.D., RN, FAAN. “Dr. Oermann and Dr. Kardong-Edgren’s contributions in moving science and research into reality to create RQI are helping us prepare a diverse, culturally competent, and outstanding nursing workforce. We salute them, Laerdal, the American Heart Association, RQI Partners, and most importantly, the 12 nursing programs for the bold steps respectively taken to foster and embrace a culture of resuscitation excellence. Together, we are advancing the health of our nation and the global community.”

The 12 colleges and universities, deemed NLN Change Agents, recognized today include:

  • Anderson University: Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D., RN, CNE, dean, School of Nursing and Kinesiology
  • Michigan State University: Kathleen Poindexter,D., RN, CNE, ANEF, interim associate dean of academic affairs, College of Nursing and chair, National League for Nursing
  • North Carolina Central University: Yolanda Van Riel, Ph.D., RN, MEDSURG-BC, OCN, CNE, ACUE Advanced Credential, ANEF, associate professor and department chair of nursing and governor-at-large, National League for Nursing
  • Purdue University Northwest: Lisa Hopp,D., RN, FAAN, dean and professor, College of Nursing
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Camden: Donna Nickitas, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN, dean, Rutgers University School of Nursing
  • University of Alabama-Huntsville: Karen Frith, D., RN, NEA-BC, CNE, dean and professor, College of Nursing
  • University of Cincinnati College of Nursing: Denise Gormley,D., RN, FNAP, interim dean (recently retired); Gordon Gillespie, Ph.D., DNP, RN, FAEN, FAAN, interim dean and professor; and Robin Wagner, DNP, APRN-CNS, CHSE, associate faculty, director of simulation
  • University of Delaware: Kathleen Speakman, Ed., RN, ANEF, FNAP, FAAN, senior associate dean of nursing, professor, chief academic officer, School of Nursing
  • University of Massachusetts-Boston: Rosemary Samia, MSN, RN, CNS, CHSE, director, Center for Clinical Education & Research, Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Ursuline College: Patricia Sharpnack, DNP, RN, CNE, NEA-BC, ANEF, FAAN, dean and Strawbridge professor, The Breen School of Nursing and Health Professions and chair-elect, National League for Nursing
  • Western Governors University: Janelle Sokolowich, Ph.D., MSN/Ed, RN, academic vice president and dean, College of Health Professions
  • Wichita State University Tech: Pat Plank, associate dean (recently retired); and Denice Klassen, MSN, RN, interim dean and faculty/clinical coordinator, Practical Nurse Program

Since RQI’s launch in 2015, more than 2,400 hospitals and 2 million nurses globally are using Laerdal and American Heart Association co-developed digital resuscitation education programs. More significantly, it is estimated that 20,000 lives have been saved.

For more information about the partnership and the RQI program, visit

About the National League for Nursing

Dedicated to excellence in nursing, the National League for Nursing is the premier organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. The NLN offers professional development, networking opportunities, testing services, nursing research grants, and public policy initiatives to its nearly 45,000 individual and 1,100 institutional members, comprising nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations. Learn more at

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling +1 800-AHA-USA1.

About Laerdal Medical

Laerdal is dedicated to our mission of helping save lives. For more than 60 years, Laerdal has remained a world leader in healthcare education, training and therapy solutions. Laerdal develops products, programs and digital solutions designed to increase survival and improve patient outcomes. By implementing evidence-based solutions within the areas of resuscitation, patient safety and global health, we address the changing needs of healthcare organizations and help build competence of healthcare providers, educators and lay rescuers. Together with our partners, we believe we can help save one million more lives, every year. Laerdal is a global company in 25 countries worldwide with the head office located in Stavanger, Norway. For more information, visit

About RQI Partners LLC

RQI Partners LLC is a partnership between the American Heart Association and Laerdal Medical, positioning the organizations to deliver innovative solutions that accelerate the impact of their lifesaving mission. The company blends the AHA’s leadership in science and resuscitation education with Laerdal’s expertise in technology and implementation to deliver impactful and innovative resuscitation quality improvement programs. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

For Media Inquiries, contact:

National League for Nursing: Mike Keaton; C: 202-909-2544;