CAC Faculty Spotlight: Nursing’s Allison Bethune

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - Central Arizona College's Allison Bethune traded in the blustery, snowy winters of America's Dairyland for the sizzling summers of Arizona to impart the wisdom of Florence Nightingale on her students.

The nursing professor who joined the full-time staff in the spring of 2010 after serving as an adjunct for almost two years is fully entrenched in the heat of the Grand Canyon State.Allison Bethune

Usually, a new job causes a family to make such a distinct change. For Bethune and her husband, however, the inspiration for the move came from a higher power.

"We came out here to help a pastor start a new ministry," she explained.

Because of the move, Bethune, who had been a bedside nurse in Wisconsin, first took a position at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center before signing on with Casa Grande Regional Medical Center - working in the emergency room at both facilities.

It was at Casa Grande Regional where Bethune crossed paths with Vivian Denson, a CAC nursing professor and Wall of Success honoree.

"I knew education would be my exit plan out of bedside nursing," she said. "I spoke with Vivian and the rest was history."

As it is, nobody who knows Bethune should have been surprised by her career move. She had gained experience as an instructor in emergency nursing while still in Wisconsin. In fact, Bethune's desire to teach goes back way before she even became a nurse.

"A long time ago I wanted to be a secondary English teacher - and then I realized that God only gave me the grace to handle my children," she chuckled. "But I've always wanted to teach."

By adding Bethune to the CAC nursing faculty team, the college didn't add a jaded nurse who wanted to trade in her patients for bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students. What CAC brought into the fold was a versatile nurse with 11 years of experience in emergency rooms, case management and home health.

This experience has all been invaluable for Bethune who enjoys every moment she spends in the proverbial classroom.

"I love watching the students' ah-ha moments," she said with the enthusiasm of a proud mother.

Bethune describes her classes and her teaching style as laid-back with interaction and mixed-in humor.

"I like to combine different methods of teaching," she explained. "I just try to use as many different methodologies as I can so I can get every student engaged and involved."

In the future, Bethune, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor's degree in nursing before earning a master's degree in 2010, hopes to gain a certificate as a nursing educator.

Until then she hopes to fine-tune her craft while learning more about curriculum and other behind-the-scenes details.

Central Arizona College - District Office 8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128 Phone: 800-237-9814