As a vanguard for oncology nursing certification and practice excellence, Cynthia Miller Murphy, MSN, RN, CAE, FAAN, executive director for the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC), is a nationally recognized expert in credentialing. Her tenure as ONCC executive director helped nurses achieve more than 100,000 different certifications to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in nursing and patient-centered care. After almost 30 years at ONCC, Miller Murphy is retiring as executive director effective April 8, 2019.
Under Miller Murphy’s direction, ONCC developed eight accredited certification programs and two assessment-based certificate programs that provide nurse credentials at various levels of adult and pediatric oncology care. Her leadership helped create a lifelong learning model for certification maintenance through the Individual Learning Needs Assessment, requiring nurses to periodically assess their learning needs and engage in an individualized learning plan on the way to recertification.
Miller Murphy started her career as a staff nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1977 and eventually became a home care nurse. Following graduate school, she worked at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as an oncology clinical specialist, developing and implementing programs to improve patient and family knowledge and compliance for breast cancer screening and early detection practices. In 1986, she joined ONS as the director of education, then filled a variety of roles, including ONCC’s director of certification, ONCC deputy executive director, and ONS’s executive director of health policy. Miller Murphy was appointed ONCC’s executive director in 1999.
“My work with ONCC and ONS has been rewarding in more ways than I can count. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with so many dedicated oncology nurses and gifted leaders toward the common goal of improving the care of patients with cancer,” Miller Murphy said. “Working within the ONS enterprise has afforded me ongoing support and countless opportunities to learn and grow. Within months of starting work with ONCC, I was crazy in love with certification and knew it was the right fit for me. I found the broader credentialing community to be a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative place where I enjoyed many mutually supportive professional relationships and opportunities to lead. I have sincere appreciation for the colleagues who have helped me along the way—far too many to name—and I am very fortunate to have realized great joy and satisfaction in my career.”
Beyond the oncology specialty, Miller Murphy’s work in certification has influenced national credentialing programs for nurses in all facets of health care and many other professions. She helped establish the American Board of Nursing Specialties as the standard-setting body for certification and served as its president. Miller Murphy was also one of only three nurses to serve as president of the former National Organization for Competency Assurance, leading the organization to expand its service to the credentialing community and stewarding its name change to the Institute of Credentialing Excellence.
Miller Murphy’s contributions to oncology nursing and the greater certification community cannot be understated. Her work in credentialing has elevated all forms of nursing certification to meet the highest standards for qualified, specialty knowledge and nursing excellence and enabled countless nurses to obtain certification as a commitment to their passion for patient care and the nursing profession.
After a rigorous recruitment process, the ONCC Board of Directors announced Tony Ellis, CAE, as ONCC’s next executive director, effective April 8, 2019, prior to ONS’s 44th Annual Congress in Anaheim, CA. Ellis has a Master of Science in education and previously served as the vice president of association services for the National Association of College Stores in Oberlin, OH.