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Deborah Weatherspoon

Senior Core Faculty

College of Nursing

Degree Program Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., MSN, RN, CRNA, COI is a Senior Faculty Member in the Nursing at Walden University where she teaches in the MSN Nurse Executive program. She began her RN career in 1978 with a degree from Memphis State University; then continued her education at the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Dr. Weatherspoon worked in clinical anesthesia for more than 20 years serving mostly rural areas of TN, KY, GA, and IL. As a CRNA, she managed four hospital anesthesia departments and formed then led a CRNA group providing anesthesia services to three rural hospitals. In addition, the group started and served the area via pain clinics. Primary areas of expertise are clinical anesthesia, pain management, and nursing education.

A desire to promote quality healthcare led Dr. Weatherspoon to complete a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a focus on nursing education. She has been instructing future nurses and nurse leaders since 2009. She acts as a mentor for other nurses pursuing higher education or a leadership role. As a nurse leader, she continues to seek opportunities that assist not only individuals but organizations to excel in all areas, including nursing practice. She holds certifications in Online Instruction, Certified Nursing Educator (CNE), and the ANA Fundamentals of Magnet. She is also a Certified Facilitator for the American Lung Association.

Major work accomplishments include updating existing courses in the Nurse Executive curriculum with major updates in NURS 6053: Interprofessional Organizational and Systems Leadership and NURS-6211: Finance & Economics in Healthcare Delivery. Although she teaches different courses within the curriculum, her focus has been on the Finance and Economic course; this is a difficult course for students as their prior education is usually focused on clinical knowledge and most have little to no experience with budgets. In her role teaching, she has developed videos, PowerPoints, and held live class access to assist students.

Dr. Weatherspoon's primary research interest is in Electronic Interactive Simulation, a form of online simulation that engages the learner and supports Kolb's Learning theory that posits experience is key to deep and meaningful learning. She serves on a Walden team working to build a video library using interactive access. Other research interests are in community health, both physical and psychological health, and have publications on these topics.

In addition to teaching, she is active in her community and serves on the Board of JoJo's Doghouse, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and finding them a new home. As a volunteer for this organization, she dedicates 5 hours a week to the care or adoption process for these animals. Her past community support efforts include acting as a Certified Facilitator for the American Lung Association Open Airways For Schools® program. The aim of the program is to educate and empower children ages 8-11 with asthma, through a fun and interactive approach to asthma self-management. Dr. Weatherspoon has also volunteered with the Pregnancy Crisis Center and successfully wrote a grant to purchase breast pumps and instructional books on the care of the Newborn to distribute. And finally, she volunteered and conducted research for a non-profit group known as New Beginnings. The mission of this group is to improve the health, strength, and wellness of women particularly marginalized women.

Professionally, she serves as treasurer for the Phi Nu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society. She is a member of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership and most recently presented at their annual meeting. She is a member of the American Nurse Association, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. As a nurse scientist she researches and publishes on a variety of topics. Her publications include multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in two textbooks focused on Advanced Practice Nursing and Nursing Leadership. She resides in Middle Tennessee with her husband and enjoys family activities and spending time with family and friends.

Courses Taught

NURS 6211 - Finance and Economics in Healthcare Delivery

NURS 6201 - Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare

NURS 6053 - Interprofessional Organization and Systems Leadership


PhD, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN United States

MSN, Middle Tennessee State University - Murfreesboro, TN United States

BSN, Excelsior College - Albany, NY United States

Certification for title: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists - , United States

AS, Memphis State University [University of Memphis] - Memphis, TN United States

Certificate Holder in Fundamentals of Magnet®, American Nurses Credentialing Center - Silver Spring, MD United States

Public Service

New Beginnings, Volunteer - Nashville, TN United States


Sullivan, D. D., Weatherspoon, D. L. (2017). Baby's Skin. International Journal of Childbirth Education.

Weatherspoon, D. L., Sullivan, D. D. (2018). Gastrointestinal Issues and Complications.. Critical care nursing clinics of North America.

Frazer, C., Sullivan, D., Weatherspoon, D., Hussey, L. C. (2017). Faculty Perceptions of Online Teaching Effectiveness and Indicators of Quality. Nursing Research and Practice.

Sullivan, D. D., Weatherspoon, D. L., Tennison, A. (2017). Baby steps to evidence based practice. International Journal of Childbirth Education.