Deborah Mathias, DNP, RN, CNE

ACNA Director

I am a tenured and certified Nurse Educator with five years’ experience teaching in a highly successful university Nursing department. I teach in three BSN programs; Traditional, Accelerated and RN completion. The RN completion program where I teach is being updated and I am the developer for three of the classes. I teach both on-line and in person. I am active in Department, College, and University committees that focus on assessment and interdisciplinary education.

In addition to rehabilitative care, I have over eight years of experience in hospice bedside nursing and administration. My areas of interest for both teaching and nursing practice include hospice, gerontology, mental health, health assessment and senior practicum.

I have been a member of ACNA for five years and have served on the Education Committee for three years. My first membership in ACNA was as a student. I have recently completed my Certificate in Medical Cannabis from Pacific College. I have been a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society for five years and have served on the Alpha Kappa Chapter at Large Board of Directors for four years, three as Chair of the Membership Involvement Committee.

I have diverse experience in the cannabis industry. I have grown hemp in an outdoor garden and was involved in growing cannabis in an indoor grow with both hydroponic and soil mediums. As a result of growing, I have been a trimmer. I have also observed and helped with various methods of extraction. I have been an advocate for cannabis as medicine since 2008. My first act of advocacy was to allow the indoor cannabis grow in my home under Colorado’s Amendment 20.

Throughout both my patient care and teaching careers I have been learning and teaching about cannabis. My cannabis advocacy has taken on an interdisciplinary facet as I have learned more about the endocannabinoid system. I am eager for all members of the interdisciplinary care team to understand the role of cannabis in homeostasis. I believe patients will benefit from having all members of the team not only understand the ECS, but also the benefits of cannabis for maintaining and restoring health. As a nurse educator, with the encouragement of my Department Chair, I am working to integrate cannabis knowledge in as many of our classes as possible. This spring I will teach Pharmacology for the first time. I view this as a huge opportunity to insert cannabis medicine in alongside of typical medications. In my opinion this will lend legitimacy and normalcy for cannabis medicine for my students.

It is my hope that the ACNA will soon be able to grant certification to nurses. The ability to claim specialty certification is very appealing and will likely attract active members. I would like to see the ACNA develop member support that is typical of older, more established nursing organizations. For example, local chapters where members can network with peers and show strength in the local political venues.