Virginia "Chris" Simmons, DNP, CRNA, CHSE-A, FAANA, FAAN joined the School of Nursing faculty in July 2012 as Clinical Education Coordinator (CEC) for DUSON's nurse anesthesia program, a post she held in an interim capacity since November 2011. As CEC, Dr. Simmons managed the nurse anesthesia program's clinical sites and preceptors and our CRNA students' clinical experiences.
After serving on active duty in the United States Air Force, Dr. Simmons earned a BSN at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM). She completed the MSN at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, achieved certification as a CRNA, and joined the staff of Duke Regional Hospital in 2002. At DRH, she held managerial and staff positions and was a clinical preceptor, simulation facilitator, and guest lecturer for Duke University nurse anesthesia students.
Dr. Simmons earned her DNP from the Duke University School of Nursing in 2011 with "Focused Anesthesia Interview Resources (FAIR) to Improve Efficiency and Quality" as her DNP project. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, North Carolina American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Sigma Theta Tau, the American Nurses Association, the North Carolina Nurses Association, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL).
Dr. Simmons earned Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) in 2015 and 2019, becoming the world's first CRNA to earn CHSE-Advanced (CHSE-A) certification. In 2018 Dr. Simmons was named the Assistant Program Director, and in 2019 was appointed Program Director. She has developed and integrated extensive simulation opportunities throughout the nurse anesthesia curriculum since 2012, collaborated on interprofessional simulation within and beyond Duke University, has taught simulation internationally, including in Ghana and Norway, and has been recognized by her peers as a CRNA simulation expert, most recently named the inaugural recipient of INACSL's Spirit of Simulation Leadership Excellence Award. She was also selected as a National League of Nursing (NLN) Simulation Leader, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, an inaugural Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiologists (AANA), a Duke Clinical Leader Fellow, and a Distinguished Alumni at AUM.
Dr. Simmons most enjoys simulation-based teaching for anesthesia principles and crisis management, including teaching cricothyrotomy at the program's annual Difficult Airway Workshop. She works with third-year students to prepare them for peer-to-peer teaching opportunities and encourage their development as future nurse anesthesia educators. Dr. Simmons encourages socialization from Student Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist (SRNA) to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist (CRNA) and inspires students to exceed the personal expectations with which they entered the program. She works diligently to motivate students with didactic, clinical, and DNP project responsibilities such that most students publish their manuscripts and/or provide podium presentations at local, national, or international venues during their time in the program. Dr. Simmons is eager to help transform great nurses into change agents for nurse anesthesiology.