According to a gallop poll done in late 2018, nurses consistently rank at the top of the country’s most trusted professionals. More than four in five Americans (84%) again rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high,” earning them the top spot among a diverse list of professions for the 17th consecutive year.
And this week, America celebrates them.
National Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6, and concludes on May 12, the birthday of the most famous of nurses, Florence Nightingale.
Today’s cannabis nurses, play various roles including being a patient advocate and educator and are tasked with the key role in helping patients and their caregivers, understand cannabis, from how they can use it, how often to use it, and help them figure out drug interaction from their other medications.
In addition to guiding the use of cannabis in a way that minimizes unwanted side effects, cannabis nurses must also identify drug interactions, assist in titrating or tapering doses, test strains, and educate the patient and family members – encouraging them to discuss treatment with other healthcare providers in the continuum of care.
We spoke with several cannabis nurses who attended the recent Cannabis Nurses Network Conference earlier this year, joined us in a roundtable discussion to ask the important question: Why are you a Cannabis Nurse?
“I am a cannabis nurse because I believe in the power of the plant to heal our bodies and minds in a natural way. I believe in cannabis therapeutics because our bodies have an Endo-cannabinoid system that is dependent on our ingestion of cannabinoids and we have research now that suggests when we are deficient in cannabinoids that it actually leads to other illness and disease processes. Cannabis is a wellness drug we should all consume in some form.” -James Schwartz BSN, LNC, CEO
“I became a cannabis nurse by accident. After a critical illness left me on a ventilator, in a coma, my recovery was difficult. Wheelchair bound, with serious PTSD, I spent endless hours researching a road to recovery. Crippled by pain, insomnia and anxiety, nothing seemed to help. It was my children who suggested I try cannabis. Like many people I currently see at Magnolia Wellness, I had to overcome my personal biases and give cannabis a try. There is an old saying about “and the children will lead us”, let me tell you this, it will be cannabis nurses holding their hands! Health and wellness are the right of everyone, and cannabis can help give them that. I became a cannabis nurse to educate and facilitate their successful path.” -Barbara Blaser RN
“I am a cannabis nurse because this is where I am called at this time in my life. I knew from a young age this plant was special. I only regret that I never questioned the propaganda of the past but vow to fight for the right for humankind to use this plant in any way they may find useful to increase quality of life for now and all future generations.” -Dawn-Marie Steenstra LPN, SDC, IC, QA, SCC
“I believe in it. I believe cannabis medicine changes lives, and as long as I have air in my lungs, I will fight for access for my patients. Everyone deserves autonomy to their health care, and I will die fighting for that right.” -Gina Lucero RN
“I am a Cannabis Nurse because cannabis has helped me through my second battle with breast cancer and my lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression. There is a world of education necessary to teach other nurses and it is important to change the stigma of cannabis as it relates to Scheduling and the therapeutic benefits it has as medicine. Raising awareness for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and alternative therapies that enhance the Endocannabinoid System has become a passionate part of my nursing career. As a nurse it is necessary to learn about the future of healthcare and the importance of alternative therapies to assist in the crisis of the national opioid epidemic as well as our national crisis of suicide. Cannabis will change the way we look at heaTHCare.” -Nique Pichette, MSN RN
“As a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse I’ve been directly involved in the care of many Michigan patients whose end-of-life journey was significantly affected by the use of medical cannabis. Watching their successes and struggles I saw the need for unbiased scientific cannabis education.” -Cathleen Graham RN CHPN
“Cannabis has made an enormous impact in my own life, and in the life of my daughter, by sparing our individual health crises. These are the reasons for my passion doing this work. I find it rewarding to utilize my own life experiences and the knowledge gained to educate patients in need, as this gives purpose to the pain and furthers my own healing process in return. I believe promoting cannabis as a viable medical option and requiring that patients are prioritized over profits will promote a badly needed health care paradigm shift, thereby improving outcomes for those patients who are falling between the cracks of our current system. Having my own quality of life spared by cannabis, I am wholly committed to this pursuit, and won’t stop advocating until cannabis access is considered a basic human right.” -Janna Champagne, BSN, RN
“When I first became knowledgeable about cannabis medicine I was in disbelief. Over the last 12 years I have been a hospice nurse, and the suffering both physically and mentally that I have witnessed is very real. I have spent a great deal of time learning the science while at the same time seeing the miracles of cannabis for patients. Reading and digesting the vast research and benefits of cannabis can seem like a slap in the face to any nurse who has spent their career trying to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Where was this tool, this miracle plant when I was witnessing so many pre-mature deaths and so much suffering? Apparently, it was being hidden by our own government under the guise of a schedule 1 drug, with no medicinal benefits and a high potential for abuse. The truth is, that even now while some people can and do benefit enormously from cannabis medicine, others are still suffering and being criminalized for trying to. It is impossible to get the full health benefits from this plant when current US researches aren’t being allowed to research it, when patients are being told what specific cannabinoid they can or cannot have, how many plants they may can grow or what percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol they can have. This plant and its benefits are not understood when nurses and doctors still claim to be “anti-pot”. How can anyone even be allowed to be a health care provider and not comprehend the enormous importance of the ECS and the relationship of cannabis to supplement this system. How can we as nurses not fight for justice that this plant and every victim of the government deserves? I am a proud cannabis nurse because I am an educated patient advocate. I am a Cannabis Nurse because every nurse should be.” -Marcie Cooper, MSN RN APHN-BC
“Cannabis chose me to carry her message. Cannabis taught me about the endocannabinoid system, the largest receptor signaling system in the human body, responsible for modulating and creating systematic homeostasis. Cannabis taught me about endocannabinoid deficiency, and the benefits of supplementing this deficiency with cannabinoids, acupuncture, nutrition, and mindfulness. Cannabis has taught me how to be a better nurse, a non-judgmental nurse, a fierce patient advocate nurse, a “woke” nurse aware of my mission and responsibility to help lead a revolution in healthcare, allowing cannabis wisdom to be our guide.” -Heather Manus, RN
Cannabis Nurses Network promotes and provides quality Education for ongoing continued learning. Through education and shared information, nurses are supported in gaining knowledge, experience, and confidence. Knowledgeable nurses who have understanding of the Endocannabinoid System and Cannabinoid Therapeutics are making major impacts within the healthcare and legal systems, as well as, the wellness and cannabis industries worldwide.
For Nurses Week, during Nurses Week, CNN is offering discount membership, CNNC 2020 Early-bird tickets, and a new online Continued Education Program, “Rooted in Science: Nourished by Nature.” For more information, log to https://www.cannabisnursesnetwork.com/