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YON 2020 Day 180: Denise Mathews, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

For the past 7.5 years, Denise Mathews, MSN, RN, NEA-BC has served as Chief Nurse, Psychiatry/Mental Health at the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. Her nursing career spans 35 years, beginning as an Army Medic and Practical Nurse in the Army, she advanced through the ranks from LPN to ADN to BSN, and finally to an MSN in Nursing Administration.

After 20 years at the bedside, I embarked on a leadership journey which allows me to care for others by empowering nurses to “grow and lead in their professional practice”. I am passionate about ensuring quality patient-centered care, promoting shared governance, and upholding professional Standards of Nursing Practice.

Another important focus for me is on decreasing stigma associated with Mental Health and Recovery; I always advocate through awareness and education. It was an honor to be recently recognized for my time and expertise to a core initiative, developing a standardized Substance Use Disorder Nurse Education course in collaboration with the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium.

Advice to someone interested in Nursing: The sky is the limit in a nursing career! You can be a staff nurse in an inpatient or outpatient setting, an educator, a supervisor, an advanced practice nurse, or focus on research--to name a few. You can choose to be an expert in one specialty your whole career or you can change specialties if you’re someone who prefers variety. For example, my diverse career includes Med/Surg, SICU, ED, Ambulatory Care, Quality Management, Psychiatry, Telephone Triage, and several management positions.

Nursing as a highly respected profession which is always evolving with Evidence-Based Practice. It is a privilege to care for and impact the lives of patients and families utilizing your education, critical thinking skills, and compassion. Commitment to life-long learning and always “doing the next right thing” to ensure the safety of a patient are essential to succeed in nursing. Thank you to All my colleagues throughout the years, Nurses Rock!

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