Denise Foster, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE

ACNA Director

Denise Foster, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, has practiced professional nursing for over 30 years. Beginning at the bedside in orthopedic and critical care, she transitioned to home health, where she began to recognize the benefits of medical marijuana in the early stages of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that swept the nation in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Assisting AIDS patients in treating and controlling the symptoms of their diseases was quite a challenge in the decades prior to the discovery of anti-retrovirals. Understanding that the use of medical marijuana helped patients with their pain, appetite, and mood, Dr. Foster became a proponent of its use as a therapeutic treatment. In the decades since working in home health, Dr. Foster has worked in the field of higher education, providing nursing instruction to students in associate and baccalaureate degree settings. As a holistic practitioner, Dr. Foster’s research interest includes the benefits and use of mindfulness practice to help students, nurses, and patients achieve their optimal level of well-being. Dr. Foster believes that use of medical marijuana is one of several complementary therapies that could potentially assist many chronically and acutely ill patients to achieve health in mind, body, and spirit.

Dr. Foster currently lives in Virginia and teaches in a nursing curriculum that does not yet include education related to medical marijuana. She is also clinically active in the home health setting but recognizes that patients in Virginia are not yet permitted to use medical marijuana. Dr. Foster is committed to serve ACNA as a strong advocate for all nurses and nursing students, in every location, to become educated about medical marijuana as well as advocating for patients to have opportunities to utilize it for its unique medicinal benefits. Because the use of medical marijuana is such a recent addition to field of health care, Dr. Foster is also committed to developing, conducting, and disseminating research that will assist the nursing profession in understanding their roles and responsibilities associated with the usage of this therapeutic medicinal plant. She is honored to serve as a Director of the ACNA and sit on the Education and Research Committee.

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