Dr Deb Spence

Staff Profile Image of Dr Deb Spence.

Senior Lecturer

Phone: 09 921 9392

Email: deb.spence@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:

Room AB206
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
School of Clinical Sciences
AUT University, North Shore Campus
90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote
Auckland 0627

Postal Address:
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
School of Clinical Sciences
AUT University
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142


2000 PhD (nursing)
1995 Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Education
1994 Postgraduate Diploma Social Science with Distinction
1992 BA (majoring in Education)
1978 Registered Midwife
1976 Certificate Accident/Emergency nursing
1974 Registered General/Obstetric Nurse

Memberships and Affiliations:

Member of the College of Nurses Aotearoa / New Zealand
Member of the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation

Teaching Areas:

  • Advancing Nursing Practice
  • Practice Reality
  • DHSc paper Research, Practice and Methodologies
  • PhD and DHSc student supervision

Research Areas:

  • 2008-2009 Nursing Graduate E-Cohort Survey with Massey University
  • 2005-2006 Collaborative Action research project: Implementing a prescribing practicum within a nursing Masters programme in New Zealand, AUT/EIT.
  • 2002–2004 Postdoctoral research: Advanced nursing practice through postgraduate education.
  • 1995-1999 PhD research focused on the experience of nursing people from cultures other than one’s own.  Massey University.
  • 1993 Pilot study exploring cultural issues in nursing within Masters programme.  Massey University.

Research Summary:

Dr Deb Spence has a strong practice background in acute care nursing and teaches at Masters and Doctoral levels. Interests and strengths in relation to her teaching and research include working collaboratively with clinicians to advance nursing practice and supporting the development of clinically focused research. In 1999, Deb completed a doctoral thesis entitled ‘Prejudice, Paradox and Possibility: Nursing People from Cultures Other Than One’s Own’. She has also undertaken funded research focused on articulating the nature of advanced nursing practice and recently completed a collaborative action research project entitled ‘Implementing a Prescribing Practicum in a Nursing Masters Programme’.

Deb is currently involved as a co-researcher in the Australasian nursing e-graduate study and is leading collaborative evaluation of aspects relating to the preparation of Undergraduate Nursing students. She is a reviewer for the following journals: Journal of Nursing Education, Contemporary Nurse, Nursing Praxis in New Zealand.

Current Research Projects:

  • 2010 Collaborative Evaluation of Clinical Mentor Model at ADHB
  • 2009-2010 Collaborative Evaluation of Mental Health in BHSc Nursing
  • Co-researcher in Nursing e-graduate study being lead by Queensland University.


  • (2010) Johnstone, L., Spence, D., & Koziol-McLain, J. Oral hygiene in the pediatric intensive care unit: practice recommendations. Pediatric Nursing, 36(2) 85-96.
  • 2008  Spence, D & Smythe, E. Feeling like a nurse: recalling the spirit of nursing. Journal of Holistic nursing, 26 (4), 243-252.
  • 2008  Smythe, E., Ironside, P., Sims, S., Swenson, M., Spence, D. Doing Heideggerian hermeneutic research: a discussion paper. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45, 1389-1397.
  • 2007  Spence, D. & Smythe, E. Courage as integral to advancing nursing practice. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 23 (4) 43-55.
  • 2007  Spence, D. & Anderson, M. (2007). Implementing a prescribing practicum with a Master’s degree in advanced nursing practice. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 23 (4) 27-42.
  • 2007  Registered Nurse participation in performance appraisal interviews. Journal of Professional Nursing, 23 (1): 55-59.
  • 2005  Hermeneutic notions augment Cultural Safety Education. Journal of Nursing Education, 44 (9) 404-414.
  • 2005  Exploring prejudice, understanding paradox and working towards new possibilities. In D. Wepa (ed) Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland: Pearson Education.
  • 2004  Advancing nursing practice through postgraduate education (part one). Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 20 (2): 46-55.
  • 2004  Advancing nursing practice through postgraduate education (part two). Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 20 (3): 21-30.
  • 2004  Nursing people from cultures other than one’s own: a perspective from New Zealand. Contemporary Nurse, 15 (3): 222-231.
  • 2004  Prejudice, paradox and possibility: The experience of nursing people from cultures other than one’s own in K. Kavanagh & V. Knowlden (eds). Vol. III Interpretive Studies in Healthcare and the Human Sciences: Caring and culture in health, healthcare and healing. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • 2001  Hermeneutic notions illuminate cross-cultural nursing experiences. Journal of Advanced Nursing.  35(4), 624-630. 
  •  2001  The evolving meaning of ‘culture’ in New Zealand Nursing. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand. 17 (3), 51-61.
  • 2001  Prejudice, paradox & possibility: nursing people from cultures other than ones own. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 12 (2), 100-106.

Last updated: 23-Dec-2015 5.00pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.