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Merry Armstrong Fougere DNSc, PMHNP-BC,  Jungian Analyst IAAP

Dr. Merry Armstrong Fougere is a Professor Emerita at Washington State University. She taught in graduate and undergraduate programs, and maintains a private practice as an ANCC certified Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and certified Jungian Analyst. She is Past President of the Association of Advanced Practice Psych Nurses of Washington State. She was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Addictions Nursing, and is now a reviewer. She held the offices of Chair and Treasurer for a Foundation for Addictions Nursing. She has received researcher and community service awards through a nursing organization, and several teaching awards from Washington State University. She has presented nationally and internationally on the topic of addictions, has taught in Spokane, Washington at Eastern Washington University, Komagane, Japan and guest-lectured on neurological phenomena of addictions in Chiang-Mai, Thailand.

Note: I was asked to recount how I became interested in addictions nursing for this bio and remembered that when deciding on a topic for my dissertation, I reflected on all of the areas in nursing I had experienced; ICU, OR, Med-Surg, Corrections, public health, management, Psych, education – and in each of those areas a common theme emerged - Addiction, either among staff, patients, often both. What I often frequently experienced was dismissal and bias for those who had addictions and who suffered the outcomes of those processes.   Few nurses at the time understood the phenomena of addiction or difficulties gaining access to treatment. I decided to focus on addiction for my dissertation, and haven’t stopped the inquiry since!

When questioning how addiction was addressed in an undergrad nursing curriculum I was told “we integrate that content.” Upon investigation, what that meant was that little was taught, because very little was understood. So, I began an addictions course, mandatory for psych NP students and an elective for others. Other academic endeavors included conducting research at a teen treatment facility, and practice and precepting in two other treatment facilities.

Many years ago, I attended a conference for nurses interested in addictions, and I felt like I had come home. Many of the founders of this organization attended that conference, and we created a network for support and information. What a relief that nurses from many areas of practice were represented, and talking about addiction did not elicit the usual response of a change of subject or looking away. When I asked in a statewide undergrad class of 150 for a show of hands for anyone who never encountered addiction either in their family, friends, or at work, no-one raised their hand. Of course. And it hasn’t changed.

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