Louisiana Tech nursing professor Norlyn Hyde was recently named Educator of the Year at the annual National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (N-OADN) convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“I was shocked,” Hyde said of the national award recognizing overall excellence in associate degree nursing education. “I’ve won several state awards, but nothing like this, so I was very excited. But I was also very humbled by it – I didn’t see it coming.”

The award included a plaque and paid registration at the 2009 convention at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Nominees were required to meet the following criteria: three years of teaching experience in an associate degree nursing education program, spend 51 percent of his or her workload in direct student contact either in the classroom or clinical setting, hold a membership in N-OADN as an individual or through an agency, use innovative teaching strategies that encourage critical thinking in students, motivate students to perform at their highest level, function as a role model as a professional nurse, work cooperatively with colleagues in the college and/or clinical setting and show evidence of involvement in college, professional and community activities.

Hyde was also joined by associate professor Beth Fife for a presentation titled “Let’s go to the movies: Mental Health Case Studies Based on Cinema Films.”

Hyde, whose research interests include family needs during critical illness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia in adults and personality types/learning styles, said the presentation she and Fife conducted was on teaching nursing students as a way to get a feel for patients suffering from mental problems.

“You could call it active learning technique,” Hyde said. “The class is broken into small groups and assigned a cinema film that they watch and develop a case study of a primary character – someone with mental health issues. They develop that case study that discusses treatment and care for those patients.”

The movies and respective disorders they represent used by Hyde in her teaching techniques are As Good As It Gets for obsessive compulsive disorder, A Beautiful Mind for schizophrenia, Mr. Jones for bipolar disorder, Ordinary People for major depression/suicidal thoughts and tendencies, When a Man Loves a Woman for substance abuse and Away from Her for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Most are enjoyable movies, too,” Hyde said. “The one that some students tend to not like is Ordinary People (a movie about a family coping with the suicide of one of their sons), because it’s outdated with late 1970s hair and clothing styles and the fact that not just one character but everyone in the movie is ill and grieving. It’s not a feel-good movie.”

Hyde said that watching the movies gives the students more of a “hands-on” feel of the subject.

“Active learning is always better than just sitting there listening to me to stand up and describe something,” Hyde said. “Actually seeing it has much more effect.”

By T. Scott Boatright, News Bureau Writer

Written by Judith Roberts