Unique Collaboration at A-B Tech Explores Personality Disorders
ASHEVILLE, N.C., March 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Given the complexity of personality disorders, reading about them in a textbook just isn’t enough to give Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Nursing students the full scope of the conditions. A unique partnership with the College’s Drama students using improvisation allows them to interact with “patients” to understand the best methods of treatment.
Earlier this semester, Acting for the Camera students each researched a personality disorder, which included depressive, passive aggressive, paranoia, avoidant, obsessive compulsive and antisocial. Taking what they learned, the drama students created a character to exhibit the traits of their assigned disorder.
A team of two practical Nursing students greeted “patients” in a faux clinical setting and asked questions about topics such as family, friends, home life, drug and alcohol use. The drama students would answer and behave as if they had a personality disorder. After the “appointment” was over, the two nurses would meet with two more nurses as part of a treatment team.
“I believe that the collaboration between the nursing students and drama students is very beneficial,” said Nursing Instructor Angela Dunagin-Sellers. “This gives the drama students an opportunity to practice their acting in an impromptu setting and gives the nursing students the opportunity to practice their therapeutic communication techniques in a controlled environment before communicating with patients in the clinical setting.”
Nursing student Jeff Minor served on a treatment team for an actor/patient who was diagnosed as schizoid. “It was difficult to research, but between the information we got in the classroom, NIH (National Institutes of Health) and DSM/IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), we were able to make recommendations for treatment,” he said.
Morgan Huntsinger is a Nursing student who was part of the team treating an actor/patient who was antisocial. “We looked into antisocial symptoms and characteristics, and possible medications for treatment,” she said. “The actor did a very good job of being aggressive with no regard for others.”
The exercise also gave drama students the chance to work their talents. Actor/student Tim Sadler was a borderline patient devastated over the loss of a six-month friendship. While talking to a nurse, he would periodically burst into tears or try to draw the conversation away from himself by asking to be held. When asked about the bandages on his arms, he refused to answer.
“This two-and-half year collaboration continues to grow in exciting ways. Each time, we try things a bit differently, and it seems to work well because the Nursing students and the Drama students are prepared for the projects,” said Drama Instructor Peter Carver. “The actors do diligent research about personality disorders, and from the ground up, they build their character’s given circumstances: their who, what, where, and when, their history, goals, obstacles and expectations. In this clinical improvisational setting, the actors must play their best tactics against the obstacles the nurses create.”
“I had a lot of anxiety being in front of everyone, so this helped me learn to speak in front of people,” said actor Brian Montross who portrayed a schizotypal patient. “I am usually very awkward in public speaking situations. I watched movies and videos to prepare for the performance.”
SOURCE Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College