Joliet, Ill. –Being raised in a Catholic family, earning her undergraduate degree at Viterbo University (a Franciscan liberal arts college in La Crosse, Wis.) and now teaching at the University of St. Francis, it is no surprise that the Franciscan value of service flows through Lynnann Murphy, M.N., R.N., a nursing instructor in USF’s Leach College of Nursing. So when she was named a 2021 Nurse Educator Fellow by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), it makes perfect sense that Murphy plans to use the $10,000 fellowship award in ways that will help her to better serve both her students and her peers.

Murphy was one of ten IBHE Nursing Educator Fellows selected through this year’s program. Along with the financial award, Murphy will have an opportunity to share her fellowship plans and activities with other Fellows and members of the IBHE Advisory Board for the Nursing Workforce Center later this year. She is currently considering ways to use the award funds possibly including acquiring useful educational resources for students, exploring advances in technology to enhance nursing education, and obtaining educational teaching tools/equipment for her health assessment course. Murphy plans to attend an educational conference to further enhance her knowledge and skills in teaching. As a faculty mentor, Murphy also hopes to provide needed resources for the nursing faculty.

“As a nurse and as a nurse educator I have had excellent mentors and role models throughout my career, and I know it is because of all of them that I have received this amazing award,” Murphy said.

USF Leach College of Nursing Dean Ebere Ume, Ph.D., MSN, RN, PHN, said the award and recognition being received by Murphy are well deserved.

“We are so pleased with and honored by Lynnann’s dedication to quality education, along with her commitment to our students. In addition to the leadership she provides as an instructor, she provides supportive mentorship for faculty and students. Her teaching abilities are stellar, and students love and gravitate toward her for her compassion, caring, comfort and support,” Ume said.

Murphy said that her passion to serve others was strongly fostered by her undergraduate experience at Viterbo University (known as Viterbo College at the time of her attendance there).

“The campus culture at Viterbo stressed the importance of serving others. I was motivated to be very involved with the student nursing organization there and eventually became the president of the Wisconsin Student Nurses Association,” she said.

Murphy went on to earn her Masters in Nursing (Clinical Nurse Specialist) at the University of Washington, and then began her career at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, followed by a tenure at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. She then joined USF as an adjunct faculty member in 2007 and served as a clinical instructor for fundamental nursing students.

“When I first looked at joining USF as an adjunct instructor, I made it a point to visit campus. I knew it was a good fit right away. I felt the presence of the Franciscan value of service and knew this was where I was called to be,” Murphy said.

Murphy became a full-time faculty member at USF in 2013 and was tabbed as the lead instructor for the Leach College of Nursing’s course on health assessment. She also currently teaches Ministry in Nursing and nursing coaching courses. Murphy, who noted, “It takes a multitude of people to help educate a nursing student,” works closely with the Academic Resource Center, including nursing tutors, supplemental instructors, and students with disabilities.

About the Illinois Board of Higher Education Nurse Educator Fellowship Program

According to, “the purpose of the Nurse Educator Fellowship Program is to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher learning that award degrees in nursing.” Awards are used to supplement the salaries participating honorees. Participation in the program is open to Illinois institutions of higher learning with a nursing program approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Association Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

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The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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