Home > Blog > November 2016 > Chula Vista Campus’ Radiography Program Sees Continued Success

Chula Vista Campus’ Radiography Program Sees Continued Success

Posted: November 18, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker

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 19 consecutive cohorts.
"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 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, or working in interventional, or managing the radiography department."   
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," she said.  "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."
Graduate Sandy Gergen feels the quality of education she received at the Chula Vista Radiography program made a huge difference in her life. Gergen is a 2004 graduate who now works as director of imaging services at Alvarado Hospital Medical Center.
"The education and hands-on experience I received gave me the necessary tools to be confident that I could be successful in my field. The relationships I created during my clinical rotations presented many job opportunities after I graduated. I will always be grateful to Pima Medical for helping me obtain my goals in having a job that I absolutely love."
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 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.
"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," he said.
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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