Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Students Successfully Defend Their Projects

Doctor of Nursing Practice Project Defense Event participants and attendees

Article updated on September 2

Two doctoral candidates, Kendra Spaulding, MSN, AGACNP, APRN-Rx, and Sandra Kakiuchi, APRN, MS, GCNS-BC, presented their research at a Friday, Aug. 16 event hosted at the College of Health and Society headquarters at Waterfront Plaza. DNP students from cohorts one, two, and three attended the doctoral presentation event. 

Via Zoom from Florida, Spaulding presented her project titled “Improving the Perceived Self-Efficacy to Quit Smoking in Low Socioeconomic Adults: A Brief Smoking Cessation Intervention for Use in a Free Clinic Setting.” Her DNP Project Defense committee members were Kathleen Burger, PhD, RN, CNE, Chair, and Audrey C. Joiner, MSN, APRN-Rx, ARNP, Content Expert. 

Spaulding worked with patients in need of breast reconstruction surgery who smoked, requiring them to cease smoking before surgery because of the risk nicotine usage poses to successful skin grafting. Spaulding discovered this was a difficult health behavior change, especially for patients of low socioeconomic status (SES). She sought to determine if a brief motivational interviewing intervention would help persons of low SES initiate and sustain smoking cessation. In an eight-week follow up with participants, Spaulding's project results showed positive outcomes on readiness to quit measurements and in the reduction of the number of cigarettes smoked.

Kakiuchi delivered her presentation titled “Improving the Care Management of Delirium in Hospitalized Older Adults: Impact of Education on Hospital Aides in the Role As a Sitter” in person. Her DNP Project Defense committee members were Kathleen Burger, PhD, RN, CNE, Chair, and gerontologist with Kaiser Permanente Serena Lo, M.D., Content Expert. 

Hospital aides (HAs) at Kaiser Permanente, where Kakiuchi has worked for the past 19 years, often mentioned feeling inadequately prepared to provide care for patients with delirium. It was evident to Kakiuchi that HAs were underutilized as contributing members of the interdisciplinary care team. Her positive project outcomes have led to consideration by Kaiser Moanalua to include delirium education content modeled from Kakiuchi’s work to the orientation training for their newly hired HAs.     

“The quality work and presentations were remarkable and truly distinguished HPU’s doctoral program as outstanding,” said Pamela Smith, EdD, APRN-Rx, FNP-BC, Chief Nurse Administrator and Nursing Department Chair. 

Mahalo to the dedicated faculty and administrators who paved the way for HPU’s first Doctors of Nursing Practice:  

Dr. Kathleen Burger served as the DNP Nursing Advisor, guiding the doctoral students and keeping them on track. The successful August 16 DNP Defense event was led and executed by Dr. Sandra Bourgette-Henry, DNP Coordinator. 

The DNP Committee/Faculty members include Dr. Patricia Burrell, Elizabeth Torres (Librarian), Dr. Hua He, Dr. Augustine Manuzak, Dr. Kathleen Burger, Dr. Jayne Smitten (Associate Dean), Dr. Pamela Smith (Chief Nurse Administrator), Dr. Michelle Higgins-Mahe, and Dr. Han Nee Chong.       

Pictured are DNP committee members and students: Dr. Hua He, Elizabeth Torres, Dr. Kathleen Burger, Dr. Augustina Manuzak, Sandra Kakiuchi, Janelle Jinbo, Trandrea Jackson, Chie Nishimura, Donna Bernhard, Jennifer Baumstark, Dr. Pamela Smith, Dr. Sandra Bourgette-Henry, Jo Wakayama, Dr. Patricia Burrell. On-screen: Kendra Spaulding

 For more information on the HPU Doctor of Nursing Practice program, click here.