Student legislative experience leads to leadership opportunities with NSNA and International Nurses Society on Addictions

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Devon Murphy, then a junior, presents her resolution on addiction at the 2016 National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Convention in Orlando.

Senior Devon Murphy, a native of Doylestown, Pa., is the first Villanova Nursing student to receive the national Lois Widly Student Scholarship to attend the 40th Annual Educational Conference of the International Nurses Society on Addictions to be held in in Las Vegas, October 5-8, 2016.  Additionally, Devon will be recognized during the conference at the Awards Banquet on October 6.  This opportunity evolved from her work in the Villanova Chapter of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP).

As the state SNAP Legislative Coordinator, Devon authored and presented, at the 2016 National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Convention in Orlando, a resolution dealing with the impact of alcoholism on the children of alcoholics.  One of the convention speakers, who is also a leader in the International Nurses Society on Addictions, was in the audience and heard Devon's presentation.  That led to a conversation and interview with Devon and follow up invitation to Devon to apply to become the student representative on their board and to apply for the conference.  In addition, based on her work on the chapter and state levels, Devon was selected by NSNA to be Vice-Chair of the NSNA's 2016-2017 National Resolutions Committee.

Devon's focus on the topic stems from her lived experience with a family member with an addiction.  “From my research thus far, I have learned that addiction impacts about 10% of the population. It is considered a mental illness, however there is a lot of stigma still surrounding the issue,” notes Devon. She believes healthcare professionals are doing the “absolute best they can with the resources they have,” but says more research needs to be done regarding addiction.

“I am interested in how addiction effects families of addicts, especially children. Children of addicts are at risk for many health problems, physical and mental, and they are the group most susceptible to becoming addicts themselves,” she explains. “This experience showed me that, as healthcare professionals, there is still a lot more we need to learn about mental illness and how to treat it.”

Devon, who had an externship in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Emergency Department (ED) this summer, hopes to work in an ED setting after graduation.