Barbara J. Ochester, RN, MSN

ACNA Director

Barbara Ochester, MSN, began her professional career as a Registered Nurse over 46 years ago. Building a foundation in bedside nursing in the Medical/Surgical, Intensive Care and /Emergency Departments she continues active clinical practice doing wellness clinics as well as immunization nursing.  Barbara assumed leadership roles in each of the units where she worked at the bedside.  Today, Barbara teaches Community Health, Nursing Leadership and Health Assessment at the University level in addition to her duties as the Clinical Director of Salvera Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Bowie Maryland.  In this role she conducts clinical conversations and assessments with each new patient that comes to the dispensary.  The facility is a very medical model and each patient is given the opportunity to work with Barbara and her staff to determine the correct medicine for their symptoms or diseases.  

Currently Barbara is pursuing her Doctorate in Health Administration and Leadership with a focus on cannabis research and the dispensary experience. Education remains a top priority, teaching medical professionals, patients and caregivers what is available, what works, how to access, and how to use cannabis and cannabinoid products.  Under Barbara’s leadership there is ongoing research with our cannabis patients looking at their experiences and how cannabis works to alleviate symptoms.  There is a goal to contribute to the body of knowledge that is building on what we know about using cannabis as an alternative/adjunct to traditional treatments and medications.  For instance, the dispensary has many patients that are treating their chronic pain with opioids and are desperate to discontinue them.  The introduction of cannabis into their regimen has been highly successful for these patients.

Barbara began her nursing career after pursuing her undergraduate education at Cornell University, followed by her first nursing program in Dryden, NY. Several years later Barbara received her bachelor’s and master’s at La Salle University in Philadelphia focusing on Public Health.  The transition to cannabis nursing was a natural progression in providing care and education for those who have exhausted traditional pharmaceuticals or are at the end of their rope with side effects and reactions from their medications that are no longer tenable. 

Barbara splits her time between her home in Philadelphia where she resides with her husband and two dogs. To her delight her children and grandchild are close, and she is able to spend time with them before she returns to Bowie to work in the dispensary from Tuesday through Saturdays.

There is always time for patients who want education, assistance in registering to become a patient, or just want to see a dispensary and ask questions.  Education is always our top priority.