School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-4253
M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.


Kathleen Spencer, DNP, RN, MA, ACNS-BC, CNE

Kathleen Spencer
Special Instructor
2036 Human Health Building 


Since 2011, Dr. Spencer has taught students in all programs, most recently Nursing Research and Nursing Informatics in the undergraduate program. Dr. Spencer serves on the advisory board for the Center for   Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the OU taskforce for Veteran Student Services. Dr. Spencer was awarded $20,000 from the Jonas Foundation to support two Jonas Scholars for doctoral study in 2013.  She  mentors both scholars. With a clinical background in Adult Health, Dr. Spencer began volunteering at a homeless facility, providing basic nursing care to the guests. In the Honors College, Dr. Spencer mentors many students with their Honors theses. In 2013, she taught “Health and Illness in Imaginative Literature,”   a course focusing on themes of health and illness, empathy, ethics and professionalism in American poetry,  essays, plays and novels. She is a published essayist, short-fiction writer and poet. She is committed to  enhancing students’ written and verbal communication skills. Her research interests include the use of the humanities in teaching nursing and enhancing nurse empathy towards marginalized patients such as the homeless and substance abusers.

  • Oakland University, DNP
  • Wayne State University, MSN
  • Michigan State University, MA in Journalism 
  • Notre Dame, St Mary's College, BSN
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult Health
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Nursing
  • Post Anesthesia Care Nursing
Past Editor-in-Chief  Plastic Surgical Nursing Journal (Lippincott Elsevier)

Research Area Interests
  • Substance Abuse
  • Collegiate Recovery Communities
  • Nursing and the Humanities
  • Pedagogy
  • Use of Imaginative Literature in Teaching in Health Care
Research / Grants 
  • “Content Analysis: The Image of Nurses on Get Well Greeting Cards” (MA Journalism Thesis)
  • “The Effectiveness of Using Imaginative Literature as a Teaching Strategy to Affect Stated Empathy and Attitudes of Undergraduate Nursing Students Toward Alcoholics” (DNP Capstone)
  • Jonas Scholars Grant, 2014
  • Jonas Scholars Grant, 2016
  • Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Grant, 2012
  • Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Fellowship, 2015-2016

Publications (Refereed Journals)

  • Spencer, K.W.  (2006). Patient simulation to enhance patient safety.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 26(4), 195-197.
  • Spencer, K.W.  (2004).   Isopropyl alcohol inhalation as treatment for nausea and vomiting. Plastic Surgical Nursing, 24(4), 149-154.
  • Spencer, K.W. (1999).  Patient education then and now.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 19(9),88.
  • Spencer, K. W.  (1994).  Patient selection in plastic surgery.  Nursing Clinics of North America, 29(4). 697-710.
  • Spencer, K.W. (1994).   Surgical safari: a preoperative preparation program for children and their parents.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 12(4). 
  • Spencer, K.W.  (1994). Nursing in the spotlight: let’s seize the moment. (editorial)  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 12(2).
  • Walsh, K.C . (1994).  Helping your patient kick the habit.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 12(1).
  • Walsh, K.C. (1993).  Projecting your best professional image. Imprint, 40(2), Feb./March, 26, 28-29.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1993).  Getting nurses in the news. Imprint, 40(2), March 26, 28-29.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1992). Extinguishing burn injuries through public awareness. Plastic Surgical Nursing, 12(4), 164-167.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1992). A changing focus for foreign nurse recruitment.   Recruitment and Retention Reports, 5(11), 4-7.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1992). Updating printed patient education materials.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 12(3), 115-117.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1991).  Guidelines for printing patient education materials. Plastic Surgical Nursing, 11(3), 119-121, 125.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1991).  Breast reconstruction using the latissimus dorsi flap.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 11(2), 43-51
  • Walsh, K.C. (1991). More than child’s play: using dolls for patient education.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 11(2), 78-79.
  • Walsh, K.C. (1991).  Getting Started (with patient education).  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 11(1), 26-27.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1990).   The re-entry nurse: special interview and orientation strategies.  Recruitment & Retention Report, 3(7),4-7.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1990).  Recruiting inactive nurses: offering a gentle re-entry position. 1990, Recruitment & Retention Report, 3(5), 6-8.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1990).  Patient education series debuts in this issue.  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 10(3), 139-141.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1989).  The popular press: required reading for nurses?  Plastic Surgical Nursing, 9(2),56-61.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1989).  Using planned change to implement a pressure sore program. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 21(4), 245-249.
  • Walsh, K.C.  (1986).  Breast augmentation: your patient’s adjustment to a new body image. Today’s OR Nurse, 8(9),20-26. 

Book Chapters

  • Spencer, K.W.  (2009).  Coming home to nursing (without having really left).  In A Call to Nursing: Nurse’s Stories about Challenge and Commitment.  P. Sergi & G. Gorman, eds., pp. 226-236.  New York: Kaplan Publishing.
  • Spencer, K.W.  (2007).  In The Poetry of Nursing: Poems and Commentaries of Leading Nurse-Poets, J. Schaeffer, ed. pp. 157-170.  Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.
Professional Affiliations
  • Association for Recovery in Higher Education
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Michigan Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Sigma Theta Tau, Theta Psi Chapter
  • Kappa Tau Alpha, National Honor Society for Journalism