Employers Agree—Staff and Curriculum are what make the Program Thrive
Posted with permission from Pima Medical Institute
CHULA VISTA, Calif. (July 10, 2017) – Pima Medical Institute’s Radiography program at the Chula Vista, Calif., campus has experienced a lot of success over the past several years. Students and healthcare employers credit the program’s accomplishments to dedicated, knowledgeable faculty.
Since 2004, every graduating cohort has seen a 100 percent first-time pass rate for the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists’ licensing exam—that’s 20 consecutive cohorts or 413 graduates.
“The success of the Chula Vista Radiography program is, by and large, based on the fact that all of us, as faculty, care about our students,” said Radiography Program Director, Dr. Lisa Schmidt. “We push them hard, not only in their study habits, but also with their personal and professional growth. In essence, their success is our success, and it is incredibly gratifying to encounter a number of graduates out in the field who tell us about the house they just purchased, or how they are now conducting computed tomography scans, working in interventional radiology, or managing a busy imaging department,” she said.
“It is also highly rewarding to see the graduates ‘pay it forward,’ by becoming clinical instructors at the various clinical facilities our students train at, thereby assisting us in transforming our students into entry level technologists,” Dr. Schmidt said. “And our graduates enjoy sharing their knowledge, where recently, one of our long time graduates (2005), Mr. Clinton Davidson, took time out of his busy schedule to come to the campus and give a motivating talk to the junior students, indeed many of our graduates are always willing to impart their wisdom upon the next generation.”
Local employers that have hired Pima Medical radiography graduates agree the program is creating quality employees.
“We have found Pima Medical graduates to have strong basic technical skills and good work ethics,” said Alyssa Tugend, imaging senior specialist with Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, Calif. “Because even the new grads have had experience at different clinical sites, they tend to be more open to new protocols and work practices.
I find Pima Medical graduates to be well-grounded employees with open minds and a strong understanding of the basic principles of radiography and patient care. At entry-level, I find them to be more mature and thoughtful. I have begun having my students nominate technologists as the mentor/teacher of the year. So far, they have all been Pima Medical grads that have shined in this role. I have to believe it comes from the type of instruction they received that makes them want others to learn as well.”
At Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., approximately 20 radiographers work on the team, where, according to Jayson Zachery, supervisor of imaging services, they must be extremely well-rounded and able to work in urgent care, fluoroscopy, the operating room or in general diagnostics.
“It’s rare when I have an open position that is not filled by a Pima Medical graduate,” Zachery said. “I think the strength in Pima Medical is in the diversity of the students. Our patients come from many cultures and different walks of life and so should our staff. I have hired a great number of Pima Medical students…I will say that some of my strongest staff members are Pima Medical grads from within the last three to four years.”
Radiography Clinical Coordinator Jed Miles stressed that the clinical assignments students participate in greatly advance their knowledge and success.
“As students enter the clinical portion of the program, we make all attempts to place each one at a clinical education facility where we believe they will be the most successful, and our students rotate to the various clinical affiliates, lending for the ability to build on their clinical skills, communicate with patients from various populations, and learn to adapt to various imaging departments throughout San Diego, Orange and Imperial County. As Clinical Coordinator, I travel to each clinical site and am able to answer questions and connect the dots for the students in order to help them see the bigger picture and become more confident in their abilities. It is truly amazing to watch the transformation that takes place as they progress through their clinical education.”
Radiography Instructor Richard Angulo said the program at the Chula Vista campus succeeds in part because all of its staff members have worked together for a decade.
“Our more than 10 years together as faculty has provided the program a stability and sense of continuity that I feel is foundational to student success. That longevity attests to a certain level of cooperative endeavor that has given rise to consistency and a more streamlined approach to educating adult learners.”
The program’s structure has also proven to be successful, in that it “demands student progression throughout our six semesters,” he explained. “I frequently tell the students that it’s my job to make them into pole-vaulters. When I say this, they always look at me quizzically until I explain. What we do is set the bar of expectation to a certain level and once students successfully clear that hurdle, like with a pole-vaulter, we then raise the bar.”
Pima Medical Institute offers the two-year program at several campuses, including Chula Vista, Mesa and Tucson, Ariz., Denver, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, N.M., Houston and Seattle.
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Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute is a private, accredited school dedicated to providing students classroom studies paired with real-world training at medical facilities. Established in 1972, Pima Medical Institute helps students become career ready, focusing exclusively on health care professions, including medical, dental, veterinary and nursing fields. Curriculum includes certificate, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs, ranging from nursing, medical assistant and radiology technician to veterinary assistant and dental hygienist.
Pima Medical Institute operates 17 campuses as well as an extensive online curriculum. The medical career college has a presence in eight western states with ground locations in Albuquerque, N.M.; Tucson, Phoenix and Mesa, Ariz.; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Seattle and Renton, Wash.; Las Vegas, N.V.; Houston and El Paso, Texas; Chula Vista, Calif.; and Dillon, Mont. For more information and a complete list of programs offered at each campus, visit pmi.edu or call 1-888-442-5998.