Emily Murphy (EMBA ’22) says she never would have been able to help manage care for COVID-19 patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital if she had not pushed to become an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) specialist. The ECMO machine works by pumping and oxygenating blood outside the body, thereby allowing the patient’s lungs and heart to rest. In severe cases of COVID-19, ECMO can support patients by giving their bodies more time to recover. While Murphy says they have been lucky at Children’s not to be overwhelmed by patients, she has been managing life-giving care for the patients they have admitted.
Before Murphy became a key player in the fight against COVID-19, she graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ respiratory care program with a bachelor’s degree in respiratory sciences. She has worked at Children’s for six years, but she has only been an ECMO specialist for two years. Her many years of education and training in respiratory care has culminated in the pandemic, and Murphy said, “It’s been one opportunity I will never forget.”
Now Murphy is adding a new layer of finesse to her medical knowledge by participating in the Executive MBA. The EMBA has equipped Murphy to understand some of what happens behind the scenes at Children’s, including how the hospital markets itself, manages its finances, and engages with its supply chain. Murphy is able to apply her new knowledge of the supply chain to help her understand the shortage of personal protective equipment that occurred at the height of the pandemic.
“There was a lot of confusion for people who don't understand that side of the business,” Murphy said. “One day they had everything they could need, and then the next we were told to conserve and save all PPE for days on end. But for me it started to make a lot of sense. When I was able to understand more, thanks to the classes I was taking, I was then able to help others understand.”
Murphy says she explores her curiosity and develops herself by putting herself in “scary situations” that allow her to stretch her abilities while gaining firsthand experience. This mindset is part of what has propelled her through her career. For her, the upcoming MBA Global Immersion trip is another example of braving a situation she knows she will ultimately empower her, even if it is scary at first. Even though Murphy is driven to help others and continually improve herself, she is motivated first and foremost by creating the life her children deserve.