School of Nursing - LSU Health New Orleans

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Spotlight on Graduates

The purpose of the doctoral curriculum is to educate qualified persons to make dynamic contributions to the discipline of nursing through research and other scholarly activities. The distinctive feature of this program is its emphasis on nursing research with select patient/client groups within and across nursing specialties. Graduates achieve this goal through evaluating forces influencing health, synthesizing knowledge of health needs and problems of select patient/client groups, testing knowledge and applying findings to nursing practice, education, and policy. Here are three examples of our DNS graduate scholars:

Lisa Broussard, DNS, RN, Class of 2006
Assistant Professor of Nursing
University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana

As an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I serve as Coordinator of the Maternity Pediatrics Nursing Course for undergraduate students.  My program(s) of research are twofold.  First, I conduct research on various aspects of school nursing practice.  I have conducted three qualitative studies on empowerment and resilience in school nursing practice, all of which have been presented at national conferences and published in peer reviewed journals.  As a school nurse researcher, I work closely with school nurses throughout the state.

My other area of research is high fidelity simulation and its integration into baccalaureate nursing education. I am presently conducting a qualitative study with senior nursing students on anxiety related to maternal child simulation. I have published articles on simulation in relation to patient safety in the maternal child area, and have been invited to speak to nursing programs to share my experiences in designing a state of the art maternal child lab and implementation of this teaching pedagogy into an undergraduate course.

My interest in school nursing research began while in my doctoral program. My dissertation on “Empowerment in school nursing practice” provided the basis for my program of research.  Both course work and field work completed as a student in the doctoral program at LSU gave me the skills and resources that I needed for a career as a researcher. 

Guidance and direction from my dissertation committee ensured that the product of my dissertation research was one that I could be very proud of and could be presented alongside some of the leading researchers in the U.S. In addition to research, the education that I received at LSU has helped me to excel in program evaluation, curriculum development, and an ability to mentor new faculty as well as those pursuing their own doctoral studies. 


Karen Rice, DNS, APRN, ACNS-B-C, ANP, Class of 2008
Program Director, The Center for Nursing Research at Ochsner Health System
New Orleans, Louisiana

My responsibilities include facilitating EBP and research-related activities for the 8 hospitals and 35 ambulatory clinics in the health system. In 2009, 82 scholarly works (78 oral & poster presentations at national and regional meetings, and 4 publications) were facilitated by the Center for Nursing Research. This role involves:

  • Chairing the System Nursing Research Council
  • Serving in the role of consultant
  • Developing external partnerships with academic institutions and industry to foster EBP projects and research investigations
    • Current academic partnerships include LSUHSC School of Nursing and Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing
  • Mentoring staff nurses in actively participating in clinical investigations as study staff and as investigators

I have continued the program of research that started with my doctoral dissertation, Nurses’ Recognition of Delirium in the Hospitalized Older Adult. In 2009, A Mixed Method Approach to Understanding Nurses’ Clinical Reasoning in Recognizing Delirium in the Hospitalized Older Adult was partially funded with a $4500 grant from Sigma Theta Tau / Southern Nursing Research Society Grant. I was selected in 2010 to participate as 1 of 12 scholars in the Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing Research Scholars Program at New York University to develop a protocol and grant to support the study, A Pilot Study Comparing Nurses’ Mental Status Assessment to Smart Patient Technology in Detecting Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adults.

The value of this particular doctoral degree is complex. I am certain that I would not have been able to be effective in my role in leading the strategic plan for nursing research without the academic preparation I received. The academic assignments are responsible for my success in protocol development and receiving extramural funding. However, it was the journey associated with interacting with faculty and students at all levels, and more importantly the long-lasting mentoring friendships that have resulted from this academic experience. It is these friendships that I continue to use today. These relationships have opened doors to other collaborative relationships across the country and have played a pivotal role in staying current about EBP and research.


Danny G. Willis, DNS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, Class of 2004
Assistant Professor, William F. Connell School of Nursing
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

I have served as an assistant professor of nursing in the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College since completing the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) degree at LSUHSC School of Nursing in 2004. I teach both undergraduate (BSN) and graduate (masters, PhD) courses at Boston College. I have developed a program of research and scholarship focused on healing from trauma and abuse, health promotion, marginalizing and/or traumatic human experiences, qualitative methods, and nursing philosophy of science. I have received internal research funding from Boston College.  In March 2010, I received an ‘outstanding’ score of 20 from the Adult Review Section of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) at NIH for my research proposal entitled, Adult Male Survivors Healing from Childhood Maltreatment.

I published manuscripts in refereed journals including Advances in Nursing Science, Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Nursing Philosophy, and Qualitative Health Research. I served as the national secretary, from 2007-2009, of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. I currently co-chair the Research Council of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and the Theory Development Interest Group of the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS). In September 2008, I co-chaired the 12th International Philosophy of Nursing Society Conference. Based on the excellent papers presented at this conference, I co-edited a special edition of Nursing Philosophy: An International Journal for Healthcare Professionals, published in January 2010.

The DNS degree from LSUHSC School of Nursing has prepared me to be a leader in nursing science, education, and practice. I really cherish the great discussions I had with my professors and peers about nursing practice, nursing science, policy, nursing doctoral education, and healthcare in the classroom and hallways during my time as a doctoral student. I remember my professors telling me to seek out other leaders in the field inside and outside of Louisiana and begin conversations with them. Heeding their advice, I have done that. Upon graduating from the DNS program at LSUHSC, I felt grounded in my identity as a nurse scholar which prompted me to pursue other pathways of personal and professional development, expand my perspectives in nursing philosophy and science, and gain new experiences. I have been very fortunate to be guided by many wonderful mentors who took the time to know me, support me, and gently challenge me during my formative years at LSUHSC School of Nursing and beyond. I cherish the education and the life-long quality relationships that resulted from my education at the LSUHSC School of Nursing.  LSUHSC SON taught me to value my identity as a nurse scholar who could make a difference in the world through leadership in education, practice, policy, and science.