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​​Judy Murphy (right), visiting associate professor of nursing, with Tania Rico, a sophomore nursing major, examining a mannequin inside a simulation lab on campus.

​​​Judy Murphy, visiting associate professor of nursing at RIC, has earned the prestigious Veterans Affairs Undersecretary of Health’s Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research Practice Award. 

This award honors a medical practitioner who has been actively engaged in the direct provision of clinical simulation training, education and research at a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care facility and whose practice has had national impact. It also recognizes the recipient’s advancement of communication through presentations for both VHA and non-VHA audiences.

Murphy said, “I’m honored by this award because only a couple of people a year receive it: one for leadership and the other for teaching and practice. I’ve been nominated for the award a couple of times in prior years. I believe I’m receiving it now because of my work to create interprofessional environments in simulation. The best way we learn together is to talk to one another.’’

RIC’s School of Nursing has a partnership with the Providence VA where recent grads may complete their post baccalaureate residency at the VA. Murphy is a faculty member of the VA Nursing Academy as well as the simulation coordinator/fellowship co-director/resuscitation education initiative co-director. Aside from teaching at RIC for nine years, Murphy is also an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island’s School of Nursing and an assistant director of clinical medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

Murphy works closely with the VA’s Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network or SimLEARN, a national program designed to improve the quality of health-care services for veterans through the application of simulation-based learning strategies.

She’s tasked with distributing information, such as the latest techniques for programming mannequins, to other simulation experts working in VA centers across New England. 

“We’ve developed a Sharepoint site, where I distribute a lot of our simulation scenarios from the Providence VA fellows whom I teach,’’ Murphy said about her work with SimLEARN. “It’s been invaluable that I’ve had more opportunities at professional development in my position here at RIC and the Providence VA than I did in the earlier part of my career.’’

Simulation laboratories recreate clinical scenarios in which nursing students must react in real time. Standing in for patients are realistic mannequins with lifelike pulses. In simulation courses she teaches at RIC, Murphy said she conducts pre-briefings with students during which she encourages teamwork.

“My motto to my students is to check their egos at the door, because it’s not about being a super doctor or a super nurse,’’ Murphy said. “It’s about being a super team, with the patient at the center of that team being given the best care possible.’’

She also urges students to feel empowered.

“I tell my students this is an opportunity for learning and it’s not punitive,’’ she said. “I would much rather they make mistakes here in class. You can read hundreds of books about congestive heart failure but if you never see a patient who has heart failure, then you know nothing. That’s the great thing about simulations.’’ 

RIC and Yale are the only two institutions in New England with simulation centers accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
RIC Dean of the School of Nursing Jane Williams said Murphy has contributed in extraordinary ways to the development of simulation in nursing education and practice.

“She has led the creation of simulation facilities at RIC and the Providence VA and designed curriculum to benefit students and clinicians,’’ Williams said. “Her leadership is a major reason why we have made such amazing progress and are able to deliver high quality simulation learning experiences for current and future health professionals in Rhode Island.’’