Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You

Choosing Quality and Safety as a Career Passion-The Journey of a Nurse Epidemiologist. Meet Denise Murphy

Denise M. Murphy, RN, MPH, CIC
Vice President, Quality and Patient Safety
Main Line Health System
Bryn Mawr, PA


denise-murphyDenise Murphy is Vice-President for Quality and Patient Safety for Main Line Health System in Suburban Philadelphia.

From 2003-2008, she was Chief Safety and Quality Officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis.  Previously, she spent 7 years as Director of Epidemiology and Patient Safety for BJC HealthCare.  Denise went to nursing school in Philadelphia, received her BSN in Portland, Maine and Master of Public Health degree from St. Louis University. She graduated from the first National Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship in 2003.

Denise entered the field of Infection Control in 1981, sitting for the first certification exam (CIC) exam in 1983.  She practiced as an Infection Preventionist in hospitals ranging from 100 – 1200 beds, in rural and urban settings.  Her presentations and publications are numerous on the business case for infection prevention, interventions to eliminate healthcare associated infections, establishment of patient safety and performance improvement programs, and creating a reliable culture of safety.

Denise is a member of the Association for Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), The American Nurses Association, Society of Healthcare Epidemiology (SHEA), Society for Healthcare Risk Managers (ASHRM) and the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Denise was President of APIC’s National Board of Directors, chaired strategic planning and the educational conference committees for both APIC and SHEA.  She also served on the National Quality Forum’s Patient Safety Advisory Committee and CDC’s Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.  Denise was the 2010 winner of the Carole DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award for Infection Prevention.


Denise Murphy covers the national spotlight on quality and patient safety (The Institute of Medicine’s To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm) to what we are mandated to do by the government; how we identify “internally” what we NEED to do to improve the experience for our patients; what  patients need to know and do to be a true partner in their care from a quality and safety point of view.

3 Key Points:

  1. Epidemiologists can be found in many settings , including hospitals.
  2. The study of patient safety and reliability science aims at reducing errors and saving lives.
  3. Some hospital acquired infections are avoidable and some are not. Different circumstances are described.

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