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Nursing professor recognized by Ohio League for Nursing for work in mental health

April 07, 2014

Breen School of Nursing professor Karen Link, RN, MSN, CNS, CNE has been awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award by the Ohio League for Nursing at the Annual OLN Education Summit. The educator selected for this award is chosen from nominees throughout the State of Ohio.

Link has been an educator for more than seven years, a clinical nurse specialist and a nurse for more than 40 years. Her passion for excellence in teaching and her specialty of psychiatric and mental health nursing is unparalleled. Link obtained the Certified Nurse Educator designation in 2013, demonstrating her commitment to teaching excellence.

Her passion for removing the stigma from mental health diseases has resulted in her publishing patient education newsletters, presenting at national symposiums and promoting sensitivity to this issue with students and faculty. Her desire to sensitize nurses to mental health issues has resulted in her students scoring exceedingly high on standardized exams and communicating effectively with patients. She continues to serve as a volunteer as a support group facilitator for the Alzheimer’s Association.

One unique component of Link’s teaching is her effective use of simulation. Students have commented on how the simulations she uses in her classroom teaching allow for a complete understanding of what patients’ endure when living with mental illness. For example, one simulation Link uses requires students to attempt to complete activities while listening to voices a schizophrenic patient might experience. Students who complete this simulation comment on how this educational approach allows them to fully appreciate the complexity of mental health issues.

Another effective tool that Karen employs in her classroom is the use of YouTube videos, such as David Letterman addressing his battle with depression. Her open dialogue in the classroom allows for students to share concerns, identify patients who may be manifesting mental health issues and employ self-care methodologies that promote healthy living.

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