Dr. Denise Foster, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, has practiced professional nursing for over 35 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 when the HIV/AIDS epidemic swept the nation in the 1980s. Recognizing that the use of medical cannabis helped HIV/AIDS patients with their pain, appetite, and mood, Dr. Foster became a proponent of its use as a therapeutic treatment. In the decades that followed, Dr. Foster has practiced in the field of higher education, providing nursing instruction to students in associate’s, baccalaureate, RN-to-BSN, and graduate-degree nursing programs. 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 the use of medical cannabis is one of several complementary therapies that could potentially assist many chronically and acutely ill patients to achieve optimal health in mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Foster currently lives in Virginia and teaches in the university setting. She remains clinically active in home health practice, where she recommends medicinal cannabis to patients who might benefit from its use. She also provides medicinal cannabis education, research, and consultation to patients, families, and health care practitioners. She has presented on the topic of medicinal cannabis to national professional organizations as well as local community groups. Dr. Foster is proud to serve as a Board of Directors member and Secretary for the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), a national nursing organization whose mission is to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development. She also chairs the ACNA Research and Education Committee along with the Social Media and Communications Committee.
Dr. Foster serves as a strong advocate for all nurses, nursing students, and other health care practitioners to become more fully educated about medical cannabis as well as advocating for patients to have access and appropriate use for its unique medicinal benefits. Because the use of medical cannabis is such a recent addition to field of education and 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.