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DNP Alumni Accomplishments

Alumni - Share Your Story

Your importance to the Southern California CSU DNP doesn't diminish after graduation.

We'd love to be able to share your story with the CSU DNP alumni family and prospective students. Let us know where your journey has taken you since you received your doctorate! Email

Articles Published by Southern California CSU DNP Alumni

A CSU DNP Nurse has a passion for patients, for gathering and sharing knowledge, and for excellence that is recognized throughout the world.

View Published Journal Manuscripts

Dr. Leslie Martinez, Class of 2022

Martinez_LeslieLeslie Martinez, DNP, MSN-Ed, RN, CPHQ is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and has a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Nursing in Education degree. Her bachelor's degree in nursing included a minor in Eastern Philosophy of Medicine and Religion. She has practiced nursing at the LAC+USC Medical Center for 23 years with a current position of Assistant Nursing Director in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. Her experience leading up to becoming a Quality Improvement Coach was in Labor and Delivery, OR, ER/Trauma, a Nursing Instructor at the LA County College of Nursing, and a volunteer for the Flying Samaritans as an interpreter and nurse. As a nursing instructor she taught clinical for Pediatrics, OB/Postpartum, Ambulatory Care, Med/Surg, hi-fidelity simulation, was the BRN certified OB content expert, and theory across the curriculum. During her 10 years as a Nursing Instructor, she was the Curriculum Committee Chair, Leadership Advisor, and currently serves as the Ombudsman to advocate for student rights.

Her doctoral project focused on her passion of patient equity and patient family engagement through the creation and evaluation of a Patient Family Advisory Council. Through her project three novel evaluation tools were created with a dashboard to evaluate and measure the impact and outcomes for patients and the surrounding marginalized community. Since graduating in May 2022, she has spoken at the New Mexico Hospital Association annual conference on Patient Family Engagement, the International Patient Family Partners conference, and has provided consulting services to 16 healthcare systems across the United States. She has two upcoming podium presentations and a poster presentation to spread her tools to evaluate the impact of patient engagement in quality improvement, research, access, and language services equity on a healthcare system.

Through the DNP program she reconnected with her love for academics and mentoring from her inspiring professors and newly found techniques of teaching in a hybrid setting. She is currently teaching the CSUF DNP program Curriculum Development course and will begin teaching Leadership in June 2023. She is grateful for the doors CSUF has opened to expand her nursing experience and platforms to share with the future of advanced practice nurses. Her upcoming goals are to publish her doctoral work in 2024, take the NEA-BC and CPPS certifications and expand her online teaching engagement skills and creativity. The best memories of her DNP experience were learning alongside her kids while in mandatory home school, the connection with her incredible and passionate cohort, meeting with policymakers to improve youth mental health resources and programs, and the encouragement and positivity from her awe-inspiring instructors.

Dr. Carol Lynn Cunningham, Class of 2022, Using VR to Help Reduce Patient Anxiety and Stress


Carol Lynn Cunningham, DNP, RN, FNP-C is a Continuing Lecturer and Assistant Clinical Faculty associated with both the Acute Care/Adult/Gerontology and Family Nurse Practitioner Specialties in the UCLA School of Nursing APRN program since 2015. Carol received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Azusa Pacific University in 1999 and worked at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California in Burns ICU and at Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital PACU and SICU. After earning a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner specialty, at UCLA, she worked in emergency medicine for over 15 years. Carol is currently working as an FNP in the Department of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery for over 7 years at Memorial Care Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital in Long Beach.

In 2022, Dr. Cunningham earned her doctorate degree, Doctor in Nurse Practice (DNP). She serves on the Leadership Succession Committee Board with Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Upsilon Beta Chapter. Dr. Cunningham is a Reviewer for the Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal. She is a member of professional organizations which include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, the American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

Dr. Cunningham was recently appointed to the California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) 2023 Health Policy and Practice Committee (HPPC) Board. She will collaborate with board members and strengthen all lines of communication between the HPPC and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) while identifying the best utilization of resources between CANP and AANP to benefit CANP's mission and values.

Dr. Cunningham’s DNP project abstract was accepted to the 34th Sigma International Nursing Research Congress in Abu Dhabi, in person oral presentation this summer of 2023 and featured in the Long Beach local news early January 2023.

LB Local News: VR is Helping Reduce Patient Anxiety and Stress at Memorial Care Miller Children’s & Women’s Long Beach

DNP Project: Effect of Virtual Reality Distraction on Children’s Anxiety and Pain Perceptions During Case and Pin Removal

Jessica Willemse, Class of 2022, Presented at the 2022 Western Institute of Nursing in Portland, OR

Jessica Willemse presented her doctoral project Getfit for CRC: Evaluation of an NP-Led Program to Improve CRC Screening in Primary Care at the 2022 WIN symposium podium session.

Dr. Mimi Dent, Class of 2021, Disseminating her DNP Scholarly Project at Multiple Podium and Poster Presentations

Mimi DentMimi Dent, DNP, RNC-OB, C-EFM, C-ONQS has been a labor and delivery nurse at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital since graduating from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2000. A lifelong learner, Dr. Dent graduated with her Master of Science of Nursing Education from Western Governors University in 2017 and her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from the Southern California State University Consortium in 2021.

In 2018, Mimi was sponsored by her professional organization, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) to attend the University of Iowa Advanced Practice Institute: Promoting Adoption of Evidence-Based Practice. With support from nurse scientists from both AWHONN and the University of Iowa provided, Mimi implemented a program to debrief after critical events in her unit and subsequently formed an interdisciplinary committee to inform change from feedback and recommendations obtained in debriefs. This experience ignited a passion for evidence-based practice and was the catalyst for Dr. Dent to enroll in a doctoral program.

Since graduation, Mimi has continued to work as a bedside nurse, striving to improve patient outcomes through the implementation of evidence-based practice and to enhance unit workflow by utilizing quality improvement methodologies. She has disseminated her DNP scholarly project in multiple podium and poster presentations, with highlights including posters at the 2021 AWHONN Convention, the 2021 Institute for Healthcare Improvement Storyboard Forum, and the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics 29th National Evidence-Based Practice Conference in 2022.

DNP Project: Improving Nurse Management of the Second Stage of Labor

Dr. Theresa Brown, Class of 2021, Appointed Asst. Director of the UCLA School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Brown_Theresa Theresa Brown, DNP, ACNP-BC, AACC, FAANP, is an Assistant Adjunct Professor and the Assistant Director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the UCLA School of Nursing. She was appointed to the position in June 2021 after receiving her DNP degree from the Southern California State University Consortium in May 2021.

Dr. Brown was elected to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Board of Directors in July 2021. She is also a past president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners. Her passion for health policy and advocating for the nurse practitioner profession culminated in her DNP Scholarly Project on Global Signature Recognition for Nurse Practitioners in California. While a student in the DNP program, she was invited to present a poster at the Western Institute of Nursing conference in April 2021. Since graduation, Dr. Brown has provided a webinar through a collaboration with UCLA Health and the UCLA School of Nursing. Her DNP project abstract was selected as a poster presentation at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners National Conference in June 2022. In addition, her work was published in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners.

Along with her faculty appointment, Dr. Brown continues to work in her clinical specialty of cardiology, for which she has worked for over 20 years. Her commitment to the highest standards of cardiovascular care resulted in her appointment as an Associate of the American College of Cardiology, the highest credential of her peers.

DNP Project: Global Signature Recognition for Nurse Practitioners in California

Dr. Patrick Hess, Class of 2020, Preparing for the next stage of his career

Patrick Hess, DNP, RN-BC, RRT, CEN wants to thank the outstanding faculty and incredible classmates that helped him accomplish his DNP 30 years after completing his master’s degree. He continues to work as a Clinical Informatics Specialist and has been teaching an informatics class for entry-level BSN students at Purdue University – Northwest. He has also been busy mentoring DNP and master level students. He hopes to spend more time teaching and mentoring in the future.

Since Dr. Hess’ implementation of an early warning tool at his medical system, the tool has continued to roll out to eight other hospitals in his integrated health system.

Dr. Hess led a podium presentation at Epic’s Nursing Advisory Council, “Survey Results from Over 1300 Nurses” in May of 2022. Patrick and his teammates presented posters at his organization’s national nursing conference regarding the early warning work and a research study, that he was the co-principal investigator, “The Effect of a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Status on Patient Care: Perceptions of ICU and Medical/Surgical Inpatient Nurses”. The DNR research manuscript has been submitted for publication.

Having been exposed to several different DNP programs, he would like for potential students to not underestimate the value of the personal attention and comradery that is offer by this consortium.

DNP Project: Implementation of An Early Warning System: Implementation and Evaluation

Dr. Sharon Konrad, Class of 2020, Appointed Assistant Professor of Nursing at California State University, Long Beach


Sharon Konrad, DNP, RN, CCRN-K, ACNS-BC started her career at CSULB as a lecturer in the School of Nursing in January of 2009. During this time she taught multiple undergraduate classes, been the lead faculty for the first semester student nurses and for six years was the faculty advisor for the California Nursing Students’ Association. She has led travel abroad nursing courses to China, Vietnam and Guatemala. Dr. Konrad was also instrumental in establishing the first and subsequent Nursing White Coat Ceremony’s at the university.

Dr. Konrad has been a Registered Nurse for 25 years. She has spent over two decades caring for critically ill patients. She was a travel nurse for three years and during graduate school spent her summers working as a cruise ship nurse.

Her recent publication is on supporting clinical competency during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is an active member of Sigma and is the current Governance Chair of Iota Eta Chapter.

DNP Project: Medication Reconciliation: A Quality Improvement Project

Dr. Frances Akubuilo, Class of 2020, utilizes current nurse wellness research, HNHN, and her holistic nursing skills to bolster her own and other nurses' health

Akubuilo_Frances Frances Akubuilo, DNP, RN, AHN-BC, NEA-BC completed her DNP Project at California State University through an Internship with AHNA. The Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation grand challenge was her project focus. She completed a cross-sectional designed research study for evidence-based education contributing to the Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation (HNHN) campaign by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The goal was to uncover barriers to physical activity for nurses, disseminate gap analysis results, and contribute nurse directed educational interventions. Read more

DNP Project: Enhancing Self-Care of Nurses: A Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Project

Dr. Manpreet Sidhu, Class of 2019

Sidhu_ManpreetManpreet Sidhu, DNP, MSN, ACNP-BC is a board-certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with post graduate training in Emergency Medicine from LAC+USC Medical Center. She joined academia after completing her DNP and is currently serving as an Assistant Clinical Faculty in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner Program in the University of Los Angeles California (UCLA) School of Nursing since winter quarter of 2020.

She earned her Bachelor’s in nursing from California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB), her Master of Science in Nursing from UCLA, and completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at California State University Fullerton (CSUF) with Southern California CSU DNP Consortium program in 2019. Dr. Manpreet Sidhu’s interest and expertise is in Emergency Medicine. Her primary research focus is mitigating emergency room overcrowding. Her doctoral project was developing the first advanced-practice nurse led Rapid Medical Evaluation and Treatment (RMET) program which implemented a novel approach to providing optimal care in a timely manner for patients presenting to the ED.

Dr. Sidhu serves on the Leadership Committee Board with Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Gamma Tau at-Large Chapter as UCLA faculty counselor. She is also a medical provider volunteer member of UCLA chapter of Bhagat Puran Singh Health Initiative. Dr. Sidhu is a member of professional organizations which include Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Gamma Tau Chapter, National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Nurse Practitioner (AANP), Obesity Medicine Association, and California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP).

Dr. Sidhu presented her DNP project poster at Sigma Theta Tau International, Sigma SoCal Odyssey Research Conference in October 2019, Sigma Theta Tau International Upsilon Chapter, California State University Fullerton in April 2019, and Sigma Theta Tau International Iota Eta Chapter VA Long Beach Healthcare System in March 2019. She has also presented her DNP project to UCLA DNP student’s cohort 2 in Nov. 2019 & cohort 3 in Nov 2020.

DNP Project: Rapid Medical Evaluation and Treatment in the Emergency Department

Dr. Ann Sherly Varghese, Class of 2019, Presented at the Annual Dialysis Conference


Ann Sherly Varghese, DNP, AGNP-C is a nephrology nurse practitioner at Nephrology Associates Medical Group, Inc San Bernardino who specializes in chronic kidney and end-stage renal disease care. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from MVJ Medical College, India and then earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree at California State University, Long Beach in 2016. Her prior experience includes working as a critical care unit nurse in different hospital settings. She earned her doctorate in nursing from Southern California State University Consortium, Long Beach in 2019. She holds national board certification with the American Association of Nurse Practitioner (AANP) as an adult-geriatric nurse practitioner. She is an active member of the specialty practice network of advance practice nurse with American Association of Nephrology Nurses (ANNA).

Ann presented her DNP project at the Annual Dialysis Conference 2021 and was honored to present the Quality improvement project in brief as a poster presentation.

DNP Project: Implementing a Support Person as an Intervention for Hemodialysis Patients Improve the Fluid Regimen Adherence

World of NP Podcast with Dr. Taheran, Class of 2019


The World of NP Podcast is a platform that educates, empowers, and gives healthcare consumers and providers voices. With all the full practice authority topics and other relevant nurse practitioners issues, we need a platform that gives voices to nurse practitioners and healthcare consumers. Through the podcast, Dr. Taheran provides a forum for nurse practitioners and other providers to open discussions on important topics, including the Nurse Practitioners' achievements and its contribution to patient care.

DNP Project: Reducing Nurse Practitioner Medical Errors: Evidence-Based Guideline

Dr. Laura Conahan, Class of 2019, Appointed Assistant Professor of Nursing at California State University, Long beach

Conrad_Laura Laura Conahan, DNP, APRN, FNP-C received her BSN from California State University, Long Beach, later returning to CSULB to earn her MSN and Family Nurse Practitioner certificate. After 6 years of practice as an FNP in a variety of settings, including primary care, urgent care, and aesthetic medicine, she decided to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the Southern California CSU DNP program, graduating in 2019. Dr. Conahan has served as nursing faculty at CSULB since 2014. She started teaching in the FNP program as a clinical instructor, working her way up to faculty lecturer and FNP Program Coordinator. Dr. Conahan was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Nursing and continues to teach in and coordinate the FNP program. When she is not teaching at CSULB, Dr. Conahan continues to practice clinically as the lead Family Nurse Practitioner and Director of Nursing for a busy family practice and aesthetic medicine facility.

Dr. Conahan has a dual-focused research agenda. Her interest in the clinical setting is centered around dermatology conditions in minority patient populations. Her research in the academic setting is focused on establishing and retaining quality preceptorships for advanced practice nurses. Dr. Conahan presented her research Sun-Protective Behaviors in Patients with Melasma at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Upsilon Beta Chapter Annual Induction Ceremony & Research Poster Presentation in May 2019. She is an active member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

In her spare time, Dr. Conahan enjoys playing the cello, practicing martial arts, and spending time with her family and friends.

DNP Project: Sun-Protective Behaviors in Patients with Melasma

Publication: Laura J. Conahan, Sue Robertson, Sun-Protective Behaviors in Patients with Melasma, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 2022, 104452, ISSN 1555-4155.

Dr. Joelle Otteson, Class of 2019, Appointed Lecturer of Nursing at California State University, Fullerton


Joelle Otteson, DNP, RN received her BSN from California State Long Beach in 1990. After working in the hospital, home, andambulatory care settings for 26 years, she earned her MSN in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University in 2017. She continued her education by receiving her DNP from the Southern CSU Consortium in 2019. Joelle worked as an Adjunct Faculty at California State University, Fullerton upon receipt of her MSN degree and transitioned to the role of Full Time Lecturer and Lead Faculty of the Nursing Simulation Center in 2019.

During her doctoral program, Dr. Otteson’s project focused on medication knowledge and self-efficacy among older adults in the ambulatory care setting. She presented her findings at the Sigma Theta Tau Iota Eta “March into Research” Conference as a podium presenter and the Sigma Theta Tau Upsilon Beta Research Conference and Annual Induction as a poster presenter.

Teaching remains Dr. Otteson’s main passion with students being her priority. In her courses, she always manages to include details from her DNP project, stressing the importance of patients knowing their medication regimens.

In her free time, Joelle likes to spend time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

DNP Project: Improving Patients' Self-efficacy and Knowledge of Medications

Dr. Linda Ruhi Mahjoub, Class of 2019, Accepted to Present at the 2019 Sigma So Cal Odyssey Nursing Conference

Fernandez_Gabriel Linda Ruhi Mahjoub, DNP, RN received her bachelor’s in Midwifery at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, her BSN from CSU Long Beach, her MSN in Nursing Leadership from CSU Fullerton, and her DNP from the Southern CA CSU DNP program. For over 20 years, Ruhi has worked in clinical areas at Mission Hospital (Mission Viejo CA), showing her loyalty to faith-based compassionate nursing care. She is certified as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse and Certified Geriatric Nurse. Ruhi has served as a part-time clinical instructor for several years. In the doctoral program, Ruhi completed a study describing delirium incidence and its sequelae in hospitalized older adults admitted from emergency department to inpatient hospital units. For her master’s project, Ruhi compared nurse and patient perceptions regarding the practices of information giving, allowing decision making, and informed consent for nursing procedures during hospitalization (Mahjoub & Rutledge, 2010).

DNP Project: Incident Delirium and Sequelae in Older Adults Admitted from ED to Non-ICU Units

Dr. Gabriel Fernandez, Class of 2019, Accepted to Present at the American Psychiatric Nurse Association (Apna) 33rd Annual Conference.

Fernandez_Gabriel Gabriel Fernandez, DNP, PMHNP-BC received his BSN from the University of Santo Tomas in Manilla the Philippines, his MSN from California State University Long Beach (specialty Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner), and his DNP from the Southern CA CSU DNP program. Since completing his doctorate, Gabe has taken a position as Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at University of San Diego - Student Wellness, moving with his wife and two young sons to San Diego. Prior to this, he worked at Korean Community Services Health Center and Exodus Recovery Inc. Wellness Clinic, serving underserved patients with mental illness.

DNP Project: Fighting Antipsychotic-Induced Obesity Using a Common-Sense Approach

Dr. Enza Esposito Nguyen, Class of 2019, Presented at the 2018 International World Conference on Lung Cancer in Toronto, Canada, and Plan to Head a Nursing Section for the 2019 Conference in Barcelona, Spain.


DNP Project: Improving Non-Oncology Provider Knowledge of Immunotherapy Adverse Events

Dr. Ronald Norby, Class of 2018, Appointed School of Nursing Director at California State University, Dominguez Hills


Ronald Norby, DNP, RN, NEA-BC is a perfect example of a two-career nursing professional. Graduating from Baylor University, he began his nursing career as an emergency/trauma nurse and quickly transitioned to a position in the operating room at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. As he completed rotations through all the surgical specialties, he was selected to be a member of a newly formed cardiac surgery team when cardiac surgery was truly in its infancy. Always interested in being in the “middle of the action,” when the Viet Nam war was at its peak, he joined the Navy Nurse Corps and after one assignment at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he received orders to the primary air evacuation hospital for wounded Navy and Marine personnel in Yokosuka, Japan.

After completing his tour of duty in the Navy, Ron enrolled in graduate school at the University of Washington and completed his masters degree in Nursing Administration. This launched his career as a nurse administrator and over the next few years he held two Chief Nursing Officer positions in large, teaching hospitals and developed a graduate program in Nursing Administration at the University of Hawaii. Eventually, his career path took him to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where he served as the Chief Nursing Officer at VA hospitals in Chicago and San Diego. He was then asked to relocate to the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C. and assume the position of Deputy Director of Nursing for the entire VA Healthcare System. There, he worked with the VA Under Secretary for Health to reorganize VA nationally and because of his efforts he was awarded the prestigious Presidential Rank Award.

Ron’s administrative career soon took an even more expansive role when he was appointed to serve as the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network, serving veterans in Southern California and Nevada through five large, highly affiliated tertiary-care hospitals and many community-based clinics. There were twenty-two CMO positions throughout the VA Healthcare system and, at the time, Ron was the only nurse chosen for the role, the rest exclusively held by physicians. He was subsequently asked by the VA Secretary of Veterans Affairs to serve as the acting Network Director (CEO) for the VA Heartland Network, providing care for veterans throughout the Midwest. Ron also served as the Director (CEO) for the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and ended his career as Network Director at the Desert Pacific Healthcare Network.

Throughout all his administrative assignments, Ron had a passion for teaching and helping other nurses to learn and advance their careers. While Director at the Long Beach VA, he taught several courses in the Nursing Administration graduate program at California State University, Long Beach. Following retirement from VA and a two-year stint as Deputy Director for the Orange County Healthcare Agency, he accepted a faculty position at CSU Long Beach (CSULB) as Coordinator for the Nursing Administration graduate program. He completely revised the curriculum for the program and taught in all the courses in the new curriculum. He was subsequently asked by the CSULB School of Nursing Director to assume the position of Acting Director for the overall Graduate Program, a position he held for three years. It was during this time that Ron realized that a long-desired goal had not yet been achieved and he enrolled in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Ron continued directing the Graduate Program and coordinating the Nursing Administration program at CSULB until he was asked to accept an interim position as Director of the School of Nursing at CSU, Dominguez hills. While this was initially a one-year appointment, Ron enjoyed the assignment and subsequently applied for and was accepted as the permanent Director, a position he has held since 2019. The CSU Dominguez Hills School of Nursing is one of the largest fully online schools in California, offering both graduate and undergraduate studies in nursing. Under Ron’s leadership, CSUDH is currently in the process of converting its Family Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist masters programs to Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.

In 2021, Ron was elected as President-Elect for the California Association of Colleges of Nursing (CACN). He is currently CACN President for one year and will then serve a final year as Past-President. Ron frequently makes the statement that his career in Nursing Education truly blossomed following completion of his DNP.

CSUF Honors Nurse Turned Executive Turned Teacher

DNP Project: Developing unit-based dashboards for communicating nursing quality of care data

Dr. Nancy Jo Bush, Class of 2017, appointed director of the UCLA School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

JoBush_NancyNancy Jo Bush, DNP, RN, MA, AOCN, FAAN, is an oncology nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and educator. She has had four decades of experience in both clinical practice and graduate education. Adjunct Professor, she is currently the program director for the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Bush was instrumental in launching the UCLA DNP program in 2018, and serves as both administrator and faculty member. She oversees the daily operations of the program, the DNP curriculum, faculty and student affairs. As faculty she teaches DNP courses in theory and scientific underpinnings for DNP practice, analytics, ethics, and the clinical seminar courses that align with the students’ DNP Scholarly Project development, implementation, and evaluation.

Dr. Bush has specialized in psychosocial oncology, earning her master’s degree in oncology nursing from UCLA and a master’s in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. She has experience in therapeutic counseling for patients with cancer and their caregivers at the Cancer Support Community, Westlake, California.

Dr. Bush is a graduate of the Southern California State University DNP Consortium and her published DNP Scholarly Project was focused upon distress screening in the person with cancer.

Dr. Bush has authored numerous textbooks, book chapters, and journal articles, and has served as an associate editor of the Oncology Nursing Forum (ONF) and as a reviewer for both ONF and the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON).Two texts, Psychosocial Nursing Care Along the Cancer Continuum (1996, 2006, 2018) and Self-Healing through Reflection: A Workbook for Nurses (2012) have received The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) Book of the Year Awards. Dr. Bush belongs to numerous professional organizations and is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society and is on the Advisory Board of the Westlake, California Cancer Support Community.

Dr. Bush has received several esteemed awards including being honored by the Oncology Nursing Society as Advanced Practice Nurse of the Year 2002, with the Mara Mogensen Flaherty Memorial Lectureship in psychosocial nursing care in 2010, and the Mary Nowotny Excellence in Oncology Nursing Education Award in 2018. In 2010, she was recognized with a 60th Anniversary Alumni Award by the UCLA School of Nursing as one of 60 alumni who made a difference in the nursing profession. The California State University DNP Consortium bestowed two awards, Contributions to Professional Practice and the Department Outstanding Project Award. A career highlight was doing the keynote address entitled, “Both Sides Now: A Cancer Journey” to the C-Change Annual Congress in College Station, Texas where Dr. Bush had the opportunity to meet President George H.W.Bush. In 2012, Dr. Bush was elected as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Bush exclaims that her journey to achieve the DNP degree was one of self-fulfillment as well as career changing. She credits the program director and faculty that contribute to the California State University DNP Consortium as providing her with the skills and confidence to take on a program director position. She feels that graduating from the program added immensely to her professional development and success. She stated that attending the in-person program had the benefits of finding expert faculty accessible and peer discussions rich and inspiring. Dr. Bush never hesitates to confirm that the program is excellent and prepared her well for her current position albeit the fact that the program is now a formidable competitor when she is recruiting students!

DNP Project: Distress Screening in the Patient with Cancer

Dr. Darlene Falco, Class of 2016, Chief CRNA at Kern Medical

One of the most refreshing and pleasant memories I have of the DNP program at CSUF was the collegial atmosphere that was present from day one. The level of respect and professionalism afforded us as DNP candidates created a learning environment that was fun, supportive and individually focused. I often joke with other students that I was a reluctant candidate. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree until I was about half way through the DNP program. I was simply wooed. I loved learning side by side and collaboratively with other disciplines in nursing. I gained as much from their experience as my own. Looking back, I feel so much gratitude for the gift and privilege of completing this program and the renewed love I have for my chosen career.

As a nurse anesthetist, I had often wondered what I could do as a provider to enhance and improve patient satisfaction with anesthesia specifically. We often don’t know how patients feel about us after services rendered. My project focused my research toward nursing literature, medical journals as well as marketing research which served to help clarify my question. My DNP project subsequently led to a publication in the AANA journal. My findings were published along with a model from which other providers could use to improve patient satisfaction scores with anesthesia care. Since publication in 2016 I’ve had much interest in my findings and have presented them in both hospitals as well as the Kaiser School of Anesthesia.

I currently work as Chief CRNA at Kern Medical in Bakersfield. As a teaching hospital we not only host SRNAs (student nurse anesthetists), but medical students, residents, and paramedics students. I talk to students on a routine basis about my findings and how we can deliver anesthesia care to patients in a manner that they find satisfactory if not outstanding. While I am not directly involved at present in any current research, I am aware of other research projects that have spearheaded off this topic.

If I had one thing to say to all prospective students thinking about getting a DNP I would say just do it! Take the ceiling off what you think you can do and just jump in. You will be amazed at the passion you find within yourself and the renewed vigor you have in your chosen career.

DNP Project: Patient Satisfaction with Anesthetic Care: What Do We Know?

Dr. Cynthia Sanchez, Class of 2016, Presented at the 2016 American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) national conference

Sanchez_CynthiaCynthia Sanchez, DNP, RN, NP-C, is a board certified family nurse practitioner. The purpose of her doctoral research, a retrospective chart review of over 400 women 40 years and older, was to determine if annual pelvic exams continue to be helpful for women’s health in this age group. Dr. Sanchez’ findings that an unexpectedly high prevalence of gynecologic conditions exist in this group of well women brought into question a recommendation that annual pelvic exams might be unneeded in this age group. Her compelling findings were accepted as a Breaking News podium presentation at the 2016 American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) national conference in New Orleans. In addition, her poster presentation on her research was the first runner up in the Research and Information Exchange category at the 2016 Western Institute of Nursing Research Annual Conference.

Dr. Sanchez has been in practice for 12 years as a Women’s Health provider at LAC/USC Medical Center. She earned her bachelor’s in Nursing from California State University, Los Angeles, her master’s in nursing from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at the Southern California CSU DNP Consortium program in May 2016. In addition to her certification as a FNP, she is also certified as a colposcopist in order to provide advanced care to women with cervical lesions to prevent cervical cancer through early detection and treatment. She is a member of American Society of Colposcopists and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and Sigma Theta Tau, International (STTI). She also works as part-time faculty for the University of Phoenix, teaching both undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

Dr. Sanchez has been married for 30 years and has one son, who is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach. She lives in Orange County, is an avid dog lover, volunteers as camp nurse for her church, and teaches Sunday school.

DNP Project: Prevalence of Gynecological Findings Discovered During Routine Well Examinations for Women 40 and Over

Dr. Kathleen M. McDermott, Class of 2015, announced President Elect APNA, CA Chapter

McDermott_KathleenKathleen M. McDermott, DNP, RN, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner actively practicing for the past 14 years. She is currently licensed as a PMHNP in New York and California. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Villanova University, her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Stony Brook University – SUNY and her Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing from Columbia University. She completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with the Southern California CSU DNP Consortium program in 2015.

She currently works with Mental Health America Los Angeles (MHALA), The Village in Long Beach, CA, where she collaborates with an interdisciplinary team to provide care to those in the Long Beach community in need of psychiatric treatment and oversees the healthcare integration efforts of the agency. Her areas of specialization are the integration of physical and mental health care, comorbid medical challenges, mental health parity, reduction of stigma associated with mental health diagnosis and motivational interviewing. In September 2016, she assumed the role of Vice President of Healthcare Integration to oversee the agency’s efforts to promote whole person care.

In 2014, Dr. McDermott co-presented Treating Substance Abuse in the Primary Care Setting at the California Association for Nurse Practitioners (CANP) Annual Education Conference. In 2015, she presented on healthcare integration at the American Psychiatric Nurse Association (APNA) statewide and national conferences, and was awarded an APNA Board of Directors Scholarship. She also presented with her physician colleague at the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association national conference. She was honored with the Athalie award from the Association for the Advancement of Nursing Science and Research (AANSR) in June 2015. In 2016, she presented at the 10th Annual Promising Practices Conference, the Association of California Nurse Leaders 38th Annual Conference, and the International Society of Psychiatric Nurses Annual National Conference

In 2015, she was elected to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) California Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large.

She was recently elected by her peers to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) California Board of Directors as the President-Elect and will serve a three year term as the state President–Elect, President, and Immediate Past President beginning in October 2016.

She consults for the American Nurses Association as a subject matter expert and serves on the California State University in Long Beach (CSULB) Institutional Review Board as a medical expert. She is also part-time faculty at CSULB where she teaches graduate psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students.

Dr. Jean O’Neil, Class of 2014, Appointed Assistant Professor of Nursing at California State University, Los Angeles

Oneil_JeanJean O’Neil, DNP, RN, FNP-BC received her BSN from the University of Hawaii, her MSN from University of California, Los Angeles as a Cardiovascular Clinical Specialist and returned to UCLA to get her Post-Master’s certificate to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. After 20 years of practice as an FNP, she attended the Southern California CSU DNP program to earn her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

In addition to a very active clinical practice, she has been nursing faculty at Mount St. Mary’s, UCLA and University of Southern California and is currently an Assistant Professor of Nursing, as well as the Adult Geriatric Acute Care Clinical Coordinator, at California State University, Los Angeles.

Dr. O’Neil has a broad range of clinical experiences ranging from medical/surgical to acute care nursing. In addition to teaching, she is currently the lead family nurse practitioner in a high school clinic, as well as an NP in an emergency room in Los Angeles.

Her current interest and research lies in adolescent medicine, especially in the areas of reducing high-risk behaviors which includes the improvement of a teen’s sexual health through family planning and the prevention, testing, and treatment of STDs. She is an advocate of health services for women and teens, especially in underserved communities. She most recently presented at the Sigma Theta Tau Odyssey conference in October, 2016. Her well received podium presentation was entitled, Adolescent sexual health and the internet: an evidence review.

Dr. O’Neil is a member of the California Association of Nurse Practitioners (CANP) and Sigma Theta Tau (Nu Mu chapter).

In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, travel, read, and see anything that involves live theater!