Caring for Body, Mind, and Settlements
Audrey Murphy, BSN ’82, MSN ’87, JD ’92, knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s why she went to Pace for nursing, starting in the associate program, then completing both a bachelor’s and master’s. “It was a great program,” says Murphy. “The school prepared me to get a job as a nurse and to immediately feel comfortable in that role.” And Murphy did.
When she was at Mt. Sinai in the 80s working as a Clinical Specialist, Murphy realized she could do even more for her patients. “I saw there were not a lot of services for them. It was a hard time for that population of patients. So I decided to go back to Pace at night for a law degree,” she says. “That way I’d still be helping people, just in a different way.”
Murphy found that Pace’s hands-on brand of education applied to the Law School as well, where she attended the health law program—one of the few in the region at the time. There, the faculty provided her with more critical real-world skills. “A lot of schools are very theoretical. At Pace, when material was presented the professors used practical examples,” says Murphy. “Professor Vanessa Merton ran the Health Law Clinic at Pace University like a law firm. The students were assigned to work on different cases. We would then meet with clients, and occasionally we were given the opportunity to appear in court.”
The experience paid off. Today Murphy serves as Executive Vice President/Chief Legal Officer at HackensackUMC, home to more than 8,000 employees including a number of Pace nursing graduates and other alumni. Her department handles all the legal and regulatory issues, insurance, risk management, medical malpractice, contracts, transactions, and more. But Murphy still keeps her fingers on the pulse of the organization. “Having been a nurse, I’ve always liked the operations side of the business,” says Murphy, who has found her background “invaluable” to her current position. “My law degree was just the next phase.”