PCI is fortunate to have Mr. Ryan Hensler on our Surgical Technology program team. In this segment, we asked Mr. Hensler a few questions about his background, experience, teaching style, leisure pursuits and more. We hope you enjoy this new page on the PCI website.

What were you doing prior to joining PCI?

Before anything I have achieved in my professional career as a Surgical Technologist/First Assistant, I was in the United States Army.  I became part of the first infantry Unit there, which was called The 25th Infantry Tropic Lightning.  This was the greatest achievement in my life, and there is nothing that will compare to being allowed to join such an elite Infantry Unit.  Why?  Because it was the same infantry unit in which my father served.  My father did three tours in Vietnam – he was a sixty gunner, and then he was chosen for sniper school.  There is no one that I could ever strive to be like, follow the same path my father did, and I could only wish to be a third of the man that he is, and always will be.  My father also worked at Weirton Steel for over thirty five years and put himself through college while working at the same time.  I worked at Weirton Steel after separating from the United States Army, and I put myself through Surgical Technology school during the day while I worked steady night turn as a laborer in the B.O.P. (Biological Oxygenated Plant).  I graduated with high honors, and second in my class.  I learned that no matter what your background is, no matter you have faced in life, and no matter what is going on in your life, you can achieve anything if you set forth specific goals, put your head down and grind, and you are hungry to achieve more than before.  In addition, I worked at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) as an Orthopedic Surgical Technologist and also helped with all the Orthopedic Mako Robotic training for the transition into all Surgeons using the Mako Robot for Orthopedic Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA) and Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA).

Who or what what first influenced you to become a teacher?

My mum was a teacher for over thirty-four years.  She taught everything from kindergarten to high school and even college.  My father has his master’s degree and would help with the different schools in my hometown with substitute teaching if he was needed.  He worked as an engineer for over thirty-three years at Weirton Steel.  He always had six weeks of vacation; my father would get bored very easily, and he would often fill in to help at my sister’s school with substitute teaching.  My mum and father are the two most intelligent people I have ever known, and they have been nothing but a driving force for me to always do much better, and to always work hard at anything no matter what it is I was doing.  Always be the best at whatever it is you do!

How would you describe your teaching style?

Straight forward!  I have been a Surgical Technologist for over twelve years now, and the amount of knowledge, experience, and surgery I have done is something you cannot find in a book.  I can break the process of any services into the Operating Room all the way down to layman’s terms, or take it up a few notches and talk to you with my medical terminology knowledge and speak to you like I am speaking a different language.  I am able to give the students real life experiences from a suburban hospital, a surgery center, or all the way to a Level One Trauma Center.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of teaching?

The first class I ever taught is now on their clinical assignment. In that class, there was one student in particular who was having some trouble when we were in the lab simulating an emergency surgery.  I go out of my way to show and explain to my students what they do right, and what they do wrong.  She asked me to work with her on my breaks between classes. I did so with her, and she really made the effort to figure out what she was doing wrong.  Before they went on clinical, the last day I had them for class, she gave me a card. I am not one for much emotion, but that really hit me hard in the gut.  She was just so appreciative of how I took the time to be very unselfish, show her everything from start to finish. She said that there was nothing that she could endure that would make her feel uncomfortable, because of the way I had prepared her and her class for what is about to come in clinical.  It seriously tugged on my heart!

What is your biggest pet peeve In the classroom?

My biggest pet peeve is when I am teaching material that you will never find inside of a book, because it deals with real world scenarios that can only be recalled from your experiences, and the students are not paying attention to me, using their phones, or talking among themselves.  It is a huge sign of disrespect!  Especially when someone like myself who has twelve years of experience working in an Operating Room, is telling you a specific situation that is related to the material, and there was a patient’s life was on the line during that point in time, and I am giving them the knowledge to handle a situation like that.  It might seem very minuscule to someone who is not familiar with the Operating Room, but I promise you, that keeping your eyes and ears open, and your mouth closed, will teach you specific tactics to combat most situations in the Operating Room.

Describe the biggest challenge you have faced as a teacher, and how you overcame it.

I have had a couple students that have been a challenge and they are unable to grasp the material I am presenting.  Especially the hands-on portion with our lab work, that has to be completed. It must be done in an orderly fashion, it has to be in a certain amount of time, and there must be no mistakes.  I make myself available to my students during the little down time I have in between classes, so I can help them to strive to be much better than they were yesterday.

List five adjectives to describe yourself.

Passionate, Proud, Determined, Humble, and Fearless.

Describe your dream vacation.

I would do or give anything to go to The Isle Of Man TT race, which is every summer for two weeks, Memorial Day weekend into June.  The Isle is located between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea.  It is something I have always wanted to see, and I would do just about anything to have the chance to see this race live and in person.



What do you like to do in your free time?

I still compete in Army Combative Sports.  I am on the jiu-jitsu Team, and I have been competing since I have been twenty two.  This will probably be my last year.  I LOVE riding my Harley.  Each and every time I am able to ride my Harley, there is nothing else that matters in my life, except living in the moment while enjoying the peace and solidarity of the ride.  I love working out, I love hanging with my friends, and all of my friends have been my friends for over thirty years.  I love going to see movies, eating out at my favorite spot, Dee Jay’s in Weirton, West Virginia, and of course, getting tattooed.