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Alumni Q&A: Moving the BSN program’s educational techniques into the future

This alumni spotlight is part of our celebration of the Temple BSN program’s 50th anniversary. Read more stories here.

Many Temple BSN alumni talk about how the program’s commitment to diversity shaped their career. In the case of John Duffy, a male entering the nursing field more than 30 years ago, it impacted him before he even began his education at Temple.

After graduating with his bachelor of science in nursing in 1982, Duffy served in the U.S. Navy during Operation: Desert Storm 1 as a burn nurse, earned his master’s and doctor of nursing practice degrees, and worked in various administrative, managerial, clinical and educational practices.

Duffy also has more than a decade of experience with nursing simulation, where students take part in highly realistic patient-care scenarios in a controlled environment. He became director of the nursing simulation center at the College of Public Health in 2016. The move brought him, full-circle, back to the institution that gave him opportunities other schools wouldn’t offer.

What brought you back to Temple as director of the nursing simulation center?

I was giving a keynote speech at another university. Someone from Temple came up to me with the job description and said, “We’d like you to consider this.” They wanted to build and expand their simulation, and wanted someone to help with that design.

Looking at where the simulation was at the time made it seem like a challenge that would be suited to my talents. And, the thought of coming back was intriguing. It felt like the right time in my career to come back home and make a contribution to my alma mater.

What was your prior experience with simulation?

I started in the U.S. Navy, where they use it a lot to set up real-life situations. Corpsmen could practice how to behave in a certain simulated environment and take that experience into a battlefield.

Now, education in healthcare has really moved toward simulation. The nice thing about it is you may see something you’d never see otherwise. For instance, you might go through a clinical rotation at a hospital and never take care of a patient with a chest tube. We could simulate that to address caring for the chest tube, dressing precautions and knowing when it’s operating properly.

We make sure we emphasize mistakes are ok. You learn so much from them in simulation without any harm to a patient. In the hospital environment, you’re taking that learned experience with you.

What are some of the most meaningful aspects of your education at Temple?

I remember quite clearly: In the 1980s, I took courses at a different school and was just about to enter my nursing education. They told me they’d have to amend certain things because I was a man. Back in the 80s that was rare, and today we are still only ten percent of the profession.

This place was going to individually alter my education because of my gender. I said, “I’m not going for that.”

When I met with the chairperson at Temple, I will never forget what she said: “You will get everything that everyone gets. Nothing will be amended or changed. You will get everything the curriculum has to offer.”

I remember being as busy as I’ve ever been, but really challenged and really accepted for who I was. I left very satisfied with my education.

Posted:  October 3, 2017