Biography

My area of research interest is the use of spirituality as a coping strategy for parents of infants/children who have died in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit (NICU/PICU) and also the use of spiritual coping practices to mitigate the mental health challenges in parents of very low-birthweight infants throughout their infants’ stay in the NICU. I became interested in spirituality as a coping strategy during my many years of working at a NICU. I recognized that parents of premature/sick neonates experienced significant stress and anxiety during their infants’ NICU stay. I observed many parents use of spiritual practices as a coping strategy. These spiritual practices were related to the parents’ race/ethnicity and religious affiliation. To gain a greater understanding of NICU nurses perception of their spirituality and the support given to parents’ use of spiritual activities, I conducted my first research project titled “Spiritual Care Practices of Neonatal Nurses”. This research study found that nurses who identified themselves as connected to self, others and the environment (spirituality) would be better able to support NICU parents in their spiritual practices.

During my PhD studies I found very few studies that focused on the differences in bereaved parents’ use of spirituality as a coping strategy by racial/ethnic and/or religion groups for NICU/PICU death. This quantitative study allowed me to focus on religious/spiritual practices of different racial/ethnic and religion groups for NICU/PICU deaths and to examine the relationship between spiritual coping practices and grief, and mental health and personal growth for bereaved parents at one and three months post death.

My current research is funded by "AWHONN Every Woman, Every Baby Award", titled "Effect of a Mobile Mindfulness-based Intervention on Decreasing Stress and Anxiety in High-Risk Pregnant Women. A Pilot Study. This randomized control pilot study is exploring the efficacy of using a 30-day mindfulness meditation mobile application (app) to decrease perceived stress and anxiety in a diverse population high-risk pregnant women (White non-Hispanic, Black non-Hispanic, and Hispanic) pre and post mindfulness intervention (T1 & T2 respectively), and identify changes in proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α at all two timepoints and identify differences in gestational age at birth (gestation outcome).

Additionally, future studies will also include a longitudinal study that examine the influence of this mindfulness intervention on Black high-risk pregnant women with chronic stress, and epigenetic changes and gestational outcome. The study will address the psychosocial issues (chronic stress and depression) of high-risk pregnant women and proposes a mindfulness intervention that has the potential to affect the health of women, newborn and family.

I have advanced my scholarship with publication and multiple podium and poster presentations on the effect of spiritual coping on bereaved parents grief symptoms, mental health and personal growth; the importance of conducting a Spiritual Assessment in clinical settings; Nurses use of Spiritual Practices to care of self; and Nurses using a theoretical framework of Caring to guide their clinical practice in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Grants Awarded

  • 2020 - Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention in Primary Care Training Program (CAPE) HRSA CAPE Role: Project Faculty Mentor

  • 2020AWHONN Every Woman, Every Baby Award.  Title: Research Award: Effect of a Mobile Mindfulness-based Intervention on Decreasing Stress and Anxiety in High-Risk Pregnant Women. A Pilot Study. Funding Source: Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN)
    Amount Funded: $5,000.00 Role: PI

  • 2020 – CEL Center for Caring Research Initiative  Research Award:  Effect of a Mobile Mindfulness-based Intervention on Decreasing Stress and Anxiety in High-Risk Pregnant Women. A Pilot Study Funding Source: CEL Center for Caring

  • 2018 - Title: Caring-based Academic Partnerships in Excellence (CAPE) RNs in Primary Care Grant #: UK1HP31715 Funding Source: HRSA Health Resources & Services Association
    Awarded: $2,800,000 Dates: 7/1/2018 – 6/30/2022 Project Director/Investigator: Dr. K. Edwards Role: Faculty Mentor: Dr. D. Hawthorne

  • 2016 – Faculty Research Mentor-Mentee Grant Research Award: Promoting Affective Symptom Management for Ethnically Diverse Bereaved Parents. Funding Source: Florida Atlantic University Amount Funded:  $4,000.00

  • 2016 – CEL Center for Caring Research Initiative  Research Award: Promoting Affective Symptom Management for Ethnically Diverse Bereaved Parents. Funding Source: CEL Center for Caring
    Amount Funded: $3,000 Role: PI

Recent Publications

Hawthorne, D., Turkel, M., Barry, C., & Flack, L. (2021). Nurses’ Living Caritas Processes as Described by Mothers, Fathers, and Grandmothers in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. International Journal of Human Caring, 25(2), 78 -88.

Hawthorne, D., Joyner, R., Gauacher, E. , & Liehr, P. (2021). Death of an Infant: Accessing the Voices of Bereaved Parents to Create Healing. Journal of Clinical Nursing, (e-publication, October, 2020). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15542

Hawthorne, D., Gordon, S. (2020). The invisibility of Spiritual Nursing Care in Clinical Practice Journal of Holistic Nursing. (E-publication ahead of print) November 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010119889704.

Hawthorne, D., Youngblut, J.M., & Brooten, D. (2017). Use of Spiritual Coping Strategies by    Gender, Race/Ethnicity and Religion at 1 and 3 months after Infant’s/Child’s Intensive Care Unit Death. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 29(10) 591 – 599. DOI.org/10.1002/2327-6924.12498 

Hawthorne, D., Youngblut, J.M., & Brooten, D. (2016) Parent Spirituality, Grief, and Mental Health at 1 and 3 months after their Infant's/Child's Death in an Intensive Care Unit. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, (Epub ahead of print) 2015 August 25, doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2015.07.008. PMID: 26320884.

Honors/Awards

  • 2021 Tenured and promoted to Associate Professor

  • 2021 Featured on the FAU CON webpage “Faculty Story”

  • 2020 Profiled in the Transforming to Care College of Nursing Magazine as “Outstanding Researcher” under the theme: Excellence: Answering a Call to Care.

  • 2019 Nominated for the Outstanding Nurse Educator Award-South Region of the Florida Nurses Association.

  • 2018    Nominated for the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award _ Florida Atlantic University.

  • 2017   Nominated for the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award _ Florida Atlantic University.

  • 2016    Daisy Faculty Award at the College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University

  • 2011    Employee of the Month (November) at Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center

  • 2008     Diversity Supplement award from an R01 Parent Study, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research.

  • 2006    Foundation grant award to develop a post-discharge infant massage class for high-risk premature infants.

  • 2002 Featured in Advances for Nurses - “Promotion of Breastmilk in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”

  • 2000  Fe Lozanda Codinal Clinical Excellence Award in Child Health Nursing Practice at Florida International University.

  • 1990 Nurse of the Year at Memorial Regional Hospital

  • 1998  MSN Scholarship award for the East Coast of Florida, funded by the Nursing Spectrum.

Education