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National League for Nursing Leads Nursing Education with Updated Hallmarks of Excellence Standards

Press Contact: Michael Keaton; 202-909-2544
National League for Nursing Leads Nursing Education with Updated Hallmarks of Excellence Standards

National Survey Confirms Hallmarks’ Continued Importance & Shares New Content to Reflect Current Academic & Health Care Realities
Washington, DC — The National League for Nursing has unveiled a revised and updated version of its highly-respected Hallmarks of Excellence© in nursing education. The nearly 30 Hallmarks of Excellence© serve as characteristics or traits that define a level of outstanding performance or service that faculty can use to determine whether their programs are achieving that hallmark. This demonstrates to students that they are engaged in a high-quality program and institution.

The National League for Nursing has taken these Hallmarks of Excellence© to the next level to meet the needs of 21st-century nursing education based on a national survey of its membership and selected thought leaders in nursing education. Among its findings, the survey confirmed the continued relevance of the hallmarks for today’s academic and health care environments but discovered evolving new areas of interest.

These areas—simulation as a teaching pedagogy, civility in nursing education, and interprofessional education—have now been incorporated, along with specific descriptors and benchmarks for faculty and administration to assess their integration into programming and instruction. In addition, the hallmarks have been streamlined, reduced from 10 to eight, each with its own subsets and indicators of achievement:
  • Engaged Students
  • Diverse, Well-Prepared Faculty
  • A Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement
  • Innovative, Evidence-Based Curriculum
  • Innovative, Evidence-Based Approaches to Facilitate and Evaluate Learning
  • Resources to Support Program Goal Attainment
  • Commitment to Pedagogical Scholarship
  • Effective Institutional and Professional Leadership
“The Hallmarks of Excellence is a proprietary National League for Nursing tool to help the nursing education community define a level of outstanding performance in education toward which they strive. Such expectations are relevant for all types of programs and institutions of higher learning,” said NLN President Patricia Yoder-Wise, RN, EdD, NEA-BC, ANEF, FANOL, FAAN, professor and dean emerita at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, editor-in-chief for The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing and the Nursing Forum, and president of the Wise Group.

NLN CEO Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, said, “Designed to stimulate conversation among faculty, deans, and other stakeholders about disciplines or approaches subject to improvement, the hallmarks were due for an update as we consider how to best meet the demands of today’s dynamic, complex health care environment. The National League for Nursing continues to take the lead in offering evidence-based best practices in curriculum and instruction to those responsible for preparing the next generation of nurses to provide patient-centered, culturally sensitive outstanding care to advance the health of the nation and our global community.”

The survey that led to the updated edition of the hallmarks was distributed online in April 2019 to the entire NLN membership; fellows in the NLN Academy of Nursing Education; deans of schools of nursing designated NLN Centers of Excellence; and a Civility Action Group specially convened by the NLN to address the need to increase civility, inclusion, and tolerance in academic and clinical educational settings. A lack of civility and bullying on campus and in the workplace has been identified in recent years as a cause of burnout among nurses and a low rate of retention in the nursing workforce.

The Hallmarks of Excellence may be found on the NLN website.
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 40,000 individual and 1,200 institutional members, comprising nursing education programs across the spectrum of higher education and health care organizations. Learn more at
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