March 14, 2019
Nursing professors teaching CPR

The Catholic University of America School of Nursing (SON) has long partnered with the Veterans Administration to provide quality care, important nursing research initiatives, and clinical partnerships that benefit active duty military, veterans, and their families.

“The reach of the SON extends well beyond the campus,” said Dean Patricia McMullen. “Such initiatives truly support the University’s mission to be a center of ‘excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation and the world.’”

Through collaboration between the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the School of Nursing, a “Hands Only CPR” fair was held at the VA Medical Center just before Valentine’s Day to provide veterans and their families life-saving training. According to the American Heart Association, for every 1 minute delay in starting CPR, a victim’s chances of surviving decrease by 10%.

Graduate nursing faculty Marye Dorsey Kellermann and Deirdre Carolan Doerflinger taught this critical skill, which requires no breaths, to almost 200 laypersons entering the lobby of the medical center. Hands on instruction followed the American Heart Association’s “Hands Only CPR” Guidelines. Hands Only CPR was introduced in 2017 to encourage non-medical personnel to provide life-saving assistance.

Man performing CPR on mannequin

Taught to the tune of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” Kellermann’s easy-to-learn approach was successful in teaching groups of six laypersons at a time. She taught each group in 5 to 10 minute sessions.  

Manikins were placed on tables to accommodate the physical needs of disabled veterans. Wearing Catholic University School of Nursing “Leading with our Hearts” T-shirts, Kellermann and Doerflinger sang multiple renditions of “Stayin’ Alive” to help participants master the correct cadence of chest compressions.

“It was one of the most rewarding teaching sessions I have ever done,” Kellermann said.

“To watch veterans do compressions, and see the look on their faces when they realized they could perhaps save a person’s life with this simple, no breath approach to CPR, was unbelievable!” Carolan Doerflinger added.

The success of the event was evident when participants asked, “When are you ladies coming back?”

The Catholic University of America School of Nursing continues to “lead with their hearts,” literally.