Northwest Career Colleges Federation Honors Gene Rathbun with Instructor of the Year
Posted: May 2, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker
SEATTLE (May 2, 2016) – Pima Medical Institute is proud to announce Lead Medical Assistant Instructor, Gene Rathbun, was recently awarded the 2016 Instructor of the Year by the Northwest Career Colleges Federation.
Rathbun has taught at Pima Medical Institute’s Seattle campus for just over five years. In that time, he’s provided his students with meaningful, relatable and relevant training to prepare them for their careers in healthcare.
“He picks a real story that relates to his class and the students learn it and dissect it,” said Seattle campus Faculty Coordinator, Lourie Harrington, who nominated Rathbun for the award. “Gene was also one of the first instructors here to add instructional videos to his instruction. Students tell me these videos help them greatly.”
Gene Rathbun, pictured in black scrubs (back row, second from the right), with several of his medical assistant students during Legislative Hill Day Feb. 17, 2016, in Olympia, Wash.
In high school, Rathbun’s uncle opened an adult family home for the elderly. He helped his uncle and mother with the home’s residents, which piqued his interest in a healthcare career. He eventually became a medical assistant and later graduated from Pima Medical’s Health Care Administration program. Rathbun spent several years working in a lab as a medical clinical assistant before becoming a medical assistant instructor at Pima Medical.
Eventually he decided to teach and discovered a new, gratifying career.
“I get to take what I know and multiply it by 20 students, and that will make an impact in their patients’ lives, too,” he said. “It’s a good feeling all around.”
The Northwest Career Colleges Federation
received many nominations for Instructor of the Year, but Rathbun stood out, said Executive Director, Gena Wikstrom.
“Competition was fierce, making the work for the selection committee tough duty,” Wikstrom said. “Gene’s innovation in the classroom, commitment to personal growth as an instructor and the comments made by students supporting his teaching efficacy brought the selection committee to the decision to recognize Gene for his commitment to Pima Medical and its students, and the success of Pima Medical graduates in the workplace.”
Several testimonials from Rathbun’s students were included in the nomination form.
“Instructor Gene was fantastic in doing his best to help everyone with meeting or exceeding expectations. Gene went out of his way to make sure we learned the correct way and had time to learn it,” wrote one student.
“He teaches subjects thoroughly and so that we all understand and can use them in the real world,” wrote another.
Rathbun likes to have fun in his class, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get students’ attention. Sometimes it even involves singing, dancing and acting, he admitted.
“I keep them on their toes. Sometimes I’ll mimic what a patient would do in real life. It makes them think about what they’re doing and how to handle a situation. I like to make them think—why are they doing it this way,” Rathbun said.
Gene Rathbun holds "court" in class, helping his students learn material in a unique and fun way.
When he’s not teaching, Rathbun volunteers with Pima Medical at nearly every medical assistant community event, racking up more than 100 hours of volunteer hours during his career at Pima Medical, Harrington said.
“Plus, he doesn’t just tutor his own students,” she said. “He will tutor anyone who needs help.”
Rathbun will receive his award during the Northwest Career Colleges Federation’s 47th
annual conference on May 19 in Vancouver, Wash.
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
About 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.