Honorary Degree Recipient Judy Murphy

Judy Murphy getting hooded by Dean Litwack and Chancellor Mark Mone

For over forty years, Judy Murphy has been a leader in nursing informatics. After graduating from nursing school, she worked her way up at Aurora Health Care over 37 years. She served as a staff nurse, an inservice educator, an Information Technology Clinician Analyst, and finally as Vice President of Applications, Information Services.

As part of the inservice education department, her role was to train new nurses as they entered the organization and provide professional development, often training clinicians on new technology. When the hospitals began working with mainframe clinical applications, Ms. Murphy collaborated with the information technology department to create the lab order entry system. As a nurse, she noticed how results were reported by date, not allowing the results to be re-sorted by test in order to evaluate trends over time. It dawned on her that the work she was doing was not supporting clinicians the way they needed and wanted the information.

Her curiosity and tenacity led to her first position within the information technology department as a clinician liaison to impact the way technology and data were used to help clinicians and improve patients’ health. Ms. Murphy shares, “I was doing informatics before anyone else was doing it… I moved into the IT department as a clinician in 1983. When I started, there were only 30 people in the department, and when I left, we had over 600 people.”

After leaving Aurora, Ms. Murphy was named the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy at the United States Department of Health and Human Services. She then went on to serve as Chief Nursing Officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and culminated her career at IBM in the Global Healthcare and Life Sciences division. 


In a nomination letter, Dr. Norma Lang, UWM Professor and Dean Emerita, shared that Ms. Murphy’s “career has influenced, and in many cases, defined clinical work, nursing informatics.” Dr. Lang went on, “Judy is an excellent partner in advancing the vision, concepts, and science of health care information systems in collaborative partnerships between academic, business, and health care organizations. Crossing those traditional divides is one of her major strengths.”

Ms. Murphy has dedicated her time, talent and skill as an international expert in nursing informatics. Her ability to bridge relationships between business, healthcare and academics has resulted in her lasting impact on nursing research, policy and solutions that have improved patient safety as well as nurses’ workload, and patient education related to their own use of electronic health records. Ms. Murphy continues volunteering as an expert on electronic health records, working closely with HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) and with AMIA (American Medicao Informatics Association).  She is also helping the National Health Service (NHS) England to bring U.S. experiences with nursing informatics and electronic health records to other countries. She shared, “I am most proud that I could influence a lot of people through mentorship and by my example. Since I retired so much about my impact on others has been shared with me from new students to experienced colleagues. I was doing the work the entire time thinking of nurses and patients. It’s amazing how one individual can have such an impact without even realizing it!”