Virginia "Chris" Simmons, DNP, CRNA, CHSE-A, FAANA, FAAN is Assistant Dean, Professor, and Program Director for the Duke University Nurse Anesthesia Program. Dr. Simmons joined School of Nursing faculty in November 2011 as the Clinical Education Coordinator (CEC) for DUSON's nurse anesthesia program.
After serving on active duty in the United States Air Force, Dr. Simmons earned a BSN at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM), completed a MSN at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was certified 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. She earned Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) in 2015 and in 2019, became 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 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, and has been recognized by her peers as a CRNA simulation expert, most recently named the 2023 recipient of INACSL's Spirit of Simulation Leadership Excellence Award. She was also selected as a 2014 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 Distinguished Alumni at AUM. Dr. Simmons serves as journal reviewer for multiple peer-reviewed journals, is an active member of multiple professional organizations, and has held elected and volunteer positions within these organizations.
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 their personal expectations. 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.