Home > Blog > August 2014 > Pima Medical Institute’s Tucson Students Win 2014 State Sputum Bowl Championship

Pima Medical Institute’s Tucson Students Win 2014 State Sputum Bowl Championship

Posted: August 13, 2014 by Elizabeth Baker

TUCSON, Ariz. (Aug. 13, 2014) – Respiratory therapy students from Pima Medical Institute’s Tucson campus will head to Las Vegas to compete in the national Sputum Bowl competition after recently winning the statewide championship Aug. 5. They competed against Pima Medical’s Mesa campus and Carrington College’s Phoenix campus.

Tucson’s Pima Medical respiratory therapy students have reigned as Arizona’s champs for three years now, winning in 2013 and 2012. They also won in 2005, 2006 and 2009. Pima Medical – Mesa campus were champs in 2011.

Last year, Pima Medical students from the Las Vegas campus won the national Sputum Bowl competition in Anaheim, Calif., where they beat the competition, a Mayo Clinic team from Minnesota, in a round during the American Association for Respiratory Care Congress (AARC). Pima Medical – Denver students have reigned as national champions several times.

The Sputum Bowl is a Jeopardy-style academic bowl competition. Teams answer questions in multiple categories related to respiratory therapy, including anatomy and physiology, diagnostics, pathology, acute care, mechanical ventilation, microbiology, pharmacology, home care, rehabilitation and several others. Competitors must hit a buzzer as quickly as possible and correctly answer questions for points.

This year’s team included Brenda McGartland, Teresa Chavez, Lupe Valenzuela and Steven Moreno. The students got together five days a week for two months and studied for the competition in between classes, jobs, family and volunteer work. They received help and coaching from every respiratory therapy instructor at the Tucson campus, including the program’s director, Tammy Redasky.

“Practicing an hour a day will make me smarter when I graduate,” said Chavez. “We had so much fun at the competition, but I was terribly nervous. I didn’t go to lose. I can’t stand losing.”

Chavez plans on winning again in Las Vegas. “We’ve already started studying,” she said.

Redasky said team members were chosen based on a number of factors, including their grades and propensity for going beyond what’s expected.

“The competition helps students be even more successful. It’s great experience and also serves as a networking opportunity,” Redasky said.

McGartland said the team likely wouldn’t have won without its instructors. “Our teachers were amazing. They stayed after class and challenged us,” she said. “They even quizzed us at lunch.”

Valenzuela admitted he’s “not a very competitive person,” but he had fun demonstrating his knowledge. “I was nervous but I had a blast,” he said. “I enjoyed showing off my knowledge.”

The students learned just how fast-paced the competition is, which will prepare them for the nationals. “I didn’t know it would be that intense,” Moreno admitted. “It was extremely nerve-wracking.”

The four teammates are already studying and plan to be ready for December.

“I’m just grateful for our instructors,” Chavez said. “I feel like we have a lot of opportunities and now we have the chance to compete and learn even more.”

The team will compete against other teams from across the nation on Dec. 9. Finals are on Dec. 11.

Pima Medical Institute
Pima Medical Institute is a private, accredited school dedicated to provide 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 16 campuses as well as an online division. 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.

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