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

Headshot: Woman in red jacket smiling at camera.
Special Instructor
2036 Human Health Building 
[email protected] 

Dr. Kathleen Spencer has been a faculty member at Oakland University since 2011 and is a board-certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in adult health. She spent the majority of her clinical nursing career in the areas of plastic and reconstructive surgical nursing and perioperative nursing. She serves on the Honors College Council and is President of the Theta Psi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau and the International Honor Society of Nursing. Dr. Spencer is the faculty mentor for Students for Recovery, an Oakland University student group which supports students in recovery from substance use disorders, and their allies. In addition, she is also working on developing the Collegiate Recovery Program at OU. Dr. Spencer teaches primarily online and is a nominee for the 2019 Excellence in Online Teaching award. With backgrounds in journalism and creative writing, 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.


  • DNP – Oakland University
  • MSN in Medical Surgical Nursing – Wayne State University
  • MA in Journalism – Michigan State University
  • BSN – Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame
  • BA in Creative Writing – Oakland University

Research Area Interests

  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Collegiate Recovery Communities
  • Nursing and the Humanities, Patient Narratives
  • Pedagogy
  • Use of Imaginative Literature in Teaching in Health Care


  • 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, 2016.
    • Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Fellowship, 2015-2016.
    • Jonas Scholars Grant, 2014.
    • Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Grant, 2012.
  • Scholarly Presentations
    • Spencer, K.W. (2018). Nightingale on razor wire: Teaching creative writing in prison. Poster Presentation. Lilly Conference: Advancing Teaching and Learning. Traverse City, MI.
    • Spencer, K.W. (2018). Tug of war: Poetry of nurses in conflict. Podium Presentation. American Studies Conference, Oakland University.
    • Carver, C., Ferrari, T., Jostock, C., Spencer, K.W. (2018). Supporting students’ emotional health by building a faculty learning community. Closing the Gap:  2018 Great Lakes Regional Student Success Conference. Detroit, MI.
    • Jostock, C., Wallace, E. & Spencer, K.W. (2018). Establishing a Faculty Learning Community for Emotional Health of Students.  Poster Presentation. Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Instructional Fair, Oakland University.
    • Spencer, K.W. (2018). Building a Collegiate Recovery Community. Poster Presentation. Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Instructional Fair, Oakland University.
    • Spencer, K.W., Buch, C., Holka, K., Poly-Droulard. (2017). On the fast track: A community of practice to meet student needs. University of Windsor – Oakland University Teaching Learning Conference. May 4, 2017. 
  • Publications (Refereed)
    • Spencer, K.W. (2019). What I Hear (essay). The Examined Life. Literary Journal of the Raymond Carver School of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City.
    • 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).
    • 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.  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,  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, International Nursing Society for Nursing, Theta Psi Chapter
  • Kappa Tau Alpha, National Honor Society for Journalism
  • Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, Alpha Iota Eta Chapter

School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 364-8733

M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.