When I graduate and I am licensed I see myself working in a performing arts setting. This can be anywhere from stunt doubles, ballet, Disneyland performers, Cirque Du Soleil, and Drum Corp International. I have always enjoyed performing arts. This stems from me being in marching band from middle school to college. I also have a great appreciation for other arts and how physical and taxing they can be on the body. Therefore, my dream job is to be able to enjoy the art my patients create and know that I was a key part in being able to keep the performer healthy. A normal day in my career would include preparing the performers for their upcoming show and maintaining their bodies to be in peak performance. Because performers can be any age my patient population can vary greatly. I find this aspect to be very exciting because I would be able to apply so much more of my knowledge in one setting. In one day I may be working on a 15-year-old, 20-year-old, and 30-year-old. While many injuries and prevention will be similar, there will also be other considerations to take into account. Many of these athletic trainers also travel with their patients. Something I have always wanted to do is travel and see new places. This setting would give me the opportunity to work and do what I enjoy and see the world at the same time. In order for this to become a reality I have to do something to put myself into a position to get an opportunity. So far I have applied to an internship with Drum Corp International and I have been looking for other summer internships to get me connected to the type of people to make my career come true. Other things I have been doing is trying to keep my grades up and raise my GPA in order to get into the grad school of my choice. I am also working hard to become a good clinician so when I am certified I will be able to be more reliant on my skills rather than being doubtful on my decisions.
This week I had 7 attempts and 2 masteries.
This year National Athletic Training Association has created, “Compassionate Care for All” as the slogan for National Athletic Training Month. I really like this slogan because I am already a naturally compassionate person, so I feel this is like a goal I can truly follow through on. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t doubt how a person feels. If a person tells me something is wrong I will want to help them, this is our job after all. I have heard other people say, “so-and-so is only here because they want the attention, they don’t have anything wrong with them.” There is a possibility this could be true, but we should also be some of the first people to see signs of psychiatric changes in our athletes too.
I think it’s important for athletic trainers and all health care providers to be compassionate towards their patients. We have all experienced a “bad doctor”. I feel like a large component to a bad doctor is a lack of compassion and attention to the patient. Anyone who feels like they are just pushed through isn’t going to feel cared for. This is especially important for athletic trainers. It’s possible that if one athlete you treat doesn’t feel cared for with you they could tell other people about their experience. This could be detrimental to both the athletic trainer and the whole sports team. Compassionate care for all sends a message that we care no matter what and we have a holistic approach. An athlete isn’t just an ACL tear, they are a human being with a soul and emotions and we should treat them as such.
This week I had 10 attempts in my clinical packet.
We feel like this more cellular and biological approach will provide us with more information. We are hoping to be able to progress this again next semester into possibly doing our own personal research, and being able to contribute to literature. Our committee we have chosen is Beth Funkhouser, Melissa Davis, Scott Pennington, Brandon Surber, Chandler Copeland, and Joseph Vess. We chose Beth to be on our committee because she was the initial inspiration for our project last semester and is very helpful in finding us pilot research for us to begin looking at. We chose Melissa because she has a lot of experience with many different teams. This may be useful especially later when we decide to narrow our research further. Scott is an athletic training alumni from Emory & Henry and now is in the DPT program in Marion. We were able to meet with him this week and he sounds very interested and willing to help us out a lot. I think for this clinical question we will need help in combing through what minimal research is already out there, and he is one person who seems eager to help us out. Not to mention he was once in our shoes and will be very helpful in putting the final touches on our research. Brandon and Chandler are two seniors in our program who have really inspired us to push ourselves hard and want to present our work at Ampersand day. Not only have they been inspirational to us, but they have also done a lot of research on tendons and may be help in finding research, refining our work, and asking questions that we may not have asked ourselves. Last, but not least is Joe. He has the connections to get us to be able to present our work and will be crucial in being able to further our plan for next semester’s research.
Overall, Meg and I are excited to see what we will find. We have a few articles that we have looked over and believe this will be a good project for us.
This week I had 2 Masteries and 5 Attempts in my clinical packet.
It’s important to have a holistic approach to an athlete’s rehab because at the end of the day they are still a human being, not just an ankle sprain. The athlete could be sick, or depressed, or has bad eating habits. All of these can affect the outcome of a rehab. I had an example of this with my rehab patient. She had been telling me about how her roommate had an ear infection and that it is apparently contagious, and eventually she got it too. This caused her to have to miss a few rehabs, but we have to be okay with this. No good will come if I have her do balancing exercises and she can’t balance and is nauseous. For me this means I have a few days of rehab already written up for her, but I also know I might have to be ready to scale it back on the reps and weight because she may lose some strength after being sick. Ultimately it important to have some humanity when doing a rehab. Make sure they are still progressing but if they are not then look into some other personal factors that could be affecting them.
This week I had 8 attempts in my clinical packet.
There are many roles an athletic trainer has during a rehab. We become a new factor to an athlete’s daily life when we start a new rehab. It’s important to create a good connection with the athlete because this will open them up more and help us figure out how they feel and especially what they are experiencing throughout their injury. If we have a good line of communication open between the athlete, then this makes it easier to find out how to progress them. Something I do when I add a new exercise or add more repetitions is ask the patient how it feels and if it’s too hard, too easy, or just right. This allows me to make modifications as needed for the next time we meet. I also think it is important to have a variety of exercises. Specifically, with my rehab patient, she has an ankle sprain, but she also has a lot of general leg weaknesses. Sometimes when she is doing a balancing exercise I noticed she drops her knee in. After noticing this, I have added some leg exercises into her rehab because it would be horrible if she finished her ankle rehab then turned around and tore her ACL. I feel like a have a pretty decent connection with my rehab patient. She is very open about talking about her daily life. She tells me about her classes, and her crazy roommate, but she also feels comfortable in asking me if I can do something for her in her rehab and asks how things I do work. With how open she is I feel like I have a good understanding of when to push her and when too pull back on some exercises. Another way I can tell if she is struggling with something is if it takes her a long time to complete the exercise. It’s interesting because she doesn’t particularly complain, but if I ask her later how that exercises was she will tell me it was hard. Some people are slow because they are methodical, some people are slow because they are lazy and they drag it out with a lot of breaks; I just happen to notice that if an exercise is particularly hard for her she is slow, but she will complete the exercise anyway.
This week I had 1 attempt and 2 masteries in my clinical packet
My most interesting and mildly challenging evaluation I have ever done was on a middle school basketball player’s wrist. He had tripped and fallen on an out-stretched hand. He came in really calm and his complaint was that his wrist would click every time he bent it and that it hurt to move. Immediately I knew I had to rule out a fracture. I did palpations and felt crepitus around his lunate. I then did Range of motion and a mobility for all of his carpals. His range of motion was normal, but as he stated, there was a pop every time he flexed and extended his wrist. At this point I was a bit confused. I thought there may have been a dislocation because of how mobile his carpals were, but then I checked them bilaterally; while there was a bit more mobility on the injured side, it seemed relatively normal for him. Then I went into some special tests. I did a couple of percussion tests, but it was hard to isolate the carpals. I also did a squeeze test on his forearm which was positive. I was stuck between a radial ulnar sprain, a lunate fracture, and a lunate dislocation. At this point is when my preceptor helped me think through the process. He reminded me of his age and how we need to be worried about growth plate injuries and greenstick fractures. He also stated how when we are young our joints are very loose which explains the amount of mobility I saw in his wrist. What I learned from this evaluation is that sometimes there are parts of the history you don’t ask, but you need to take into account. In this instance, obviously I see a young boy and an injury around the joint, but I didn’t think of it as a factor that would play into the evaluation. Maybe because I’m more used to an older population, this just slipped my mind. Now I know for the future I will need to be more cognizant of age and other factors that are implied but not asked.
This week I had 12 attempts and 0 masteries in my clinical packet.
As a student, I have always felt like I have good time management skills and a good gauge of what is truly important. I feel like in most instances I balance my responsibilities well. A challenge I typically face is staying 100% motivated to do everything to the fullest and not getting behind. When I feel like I am behind I feel it is important to do a personal check on myself. Am I dedicating enough time to accomplish this task? Am I prioritizing something less important? When I feel like I am behind the first thing I do is talk to my class mates and see where they are standing. If I find someone just as behind as I am, I will usually try to work with them and we will pound some work out together until we are caught up. If this option isn’t available, I always find it helpful to talk to a professor to get a real sense of where I am and what I can improve on. Another good option is to talk to the preceptors and see if they have any advice or tips. We are lucky to have an Emory & Henry Graduate as one of our preceptors. She is well aware of how to make it in the program and is a good source to talk to when I feel like I am struggling or behind. My final resource if I feel seriously behind or lacking motivation is to give a call home to Dad. This is mostly what I do and need when I feel like I’m losing motivation. My dad gives me new perspective and is a sounding board for what I experience. He helps me find solutions I may not have thought of yet. If I’m lucky when I call he will tell me a silly story about something my cat did which always makes me happy and motivated to start working hard again.
This week I had 6 attempts in my clinical packet
What I learned from last semester is that I need to be more proactive about my education especially when it came to my clinical packet. I felt like I had everything under control and that I was on pace but until the last few weeks when I realized I was very far behind. The way I will combat this is by actually committing to my goal of attempting 8 tasks and completing 6 to mastery a week. The most important part of this is to be simulating attempts. A large portion of this semester is general medical conditions. While I may have experiences with some conditions in the clinic, there are very many tasks that are not so likely to come into the clinic for an examination. Another way I plan to be proactive is by reading new research more often. I feel like this will expose me to a lot of new and interesting things in the athletic training profession. This brings me to my next goal, “I will develop my knowledge of therapeutic exercises by conducting research every 2 weeks on the best 2 exercises for each injury per body region throughout the semester.” I decided to make this a goal because I feel very comfortable in examining injuries, but now I believe it will be important for me to know how to effectively treat them. I feel like my classes this semester are fairly subdue in the level of difficulty, therefore, I will have time to be able to do research and progress my knowledge as a student. My final goal is to be able to present my research. This goal is not yet formed into a SMART goal, but I plan on accomplishing this goal by working with our ampersand center and attending sessions in order to prepare to present my clinical question. I really want to present my research because I enjoy talking about interesting things in the medical field. It will also be a good opportunity to push myself and meet some new professionals who may be pertinent to being successful after I graduate
AT this point of the semester I am behind in my clinical packet. I believe half of this is due to me not realizing that the semester was ending so quickly; and the other half was me not keeping up with my goal of attempt 10 tasks and perform 5 to master each week. I have 50 attempts with 30 masteries. I still need 80 more mastery within 2 weeks. This is mildly frustrating because this semester I felt like I stayed on top of actually writing in the attempts and masteries as they came up. I suppose I needed to do more simulations with my preceptors throughout the semester because I feel that I didn’t have very many opportunities to do evaluations. This being said, my goal for next semester is to do more simulations just in case I don’t have as much actual experience as I need. Especially if I am with a sport that is prone to having injuries in only one area of the body, I will need to make up by doing simulations on other parts of the body. If I really push for more simulations throughout the semester rather than being like everyone else at the end of the semester trying to force their clinical packets to be done, this will be a lot less stressful and annoying to me and my preceptor.
At this point, my future professional goals are to become a certified athletic trainer and go to grad school to get my master’s degree in either kinesiology or exercise science. I’m hoping to find a GA program that will allow me to work as an athletic trainer at the same time as getting my master’s degree. I decided I want to get my Master’s degree immediately after undergrad because the whole field of athletic training is moving to a master’s degree and I want my degree to stay competitive. So far the schools I am interested in are Penn State University, James Madison University, and University of Texas. I decided to look into these schools because their programs seem advanced and enjoyable.
My dream work setting is in the performing arts. One in particular is Drum Corp International. My background of being in band in high school and my love of athletic training has been my main motivators to want to work with this kind of population. I feel like it would be so fun to travel with some of the most intense marching band in the United States. This summer I will be eligible to apply for an internship to work and study with athletic trainers in DCI. If I get this internship I will be ecstatic. This would be a stepping stone from leaving college and entering the work force. I would be able to make connections that hopefully would lead me to a job in this field after I graduate.
Another field of athletic training I would like to work in is the military, specifically for government contractors in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. I would like this a lot because I would be able to live in the area the I have grown up in most of my life.
This week I had 15 attempts with 7 masteries.
As an ATS I feel most confident when I am organized, and on top of all my work. This allows me to have more time to think about the application of what I learn in class and contribute it to what I am doing in the clinic. I also feel confident being able to participate fully in class. That being said, when I am disorganized I feel like I am behind and scatter brained. I feel like it is harder to participate in class which is disappointing and frustrating because I feel like I should know the information, or at least be able to contribute of conversation. When I’m disorganized and stressed it completely throws off all of my work ethic and it can be challenging to get back on track. The best way I have found to combat this is to buckle down on the weekends and try to catch up the best I can. This semester has been difficult in this sense because I feel like I’m in a constant cycle of being on top of my work, then being behind, then having to catch up, but then because I pushed so hard to get back on top I relax and fall behind again. I have to find a way to break this cycle, but I’m not sure how yet. This used to not be a problem for me so I’m not sure what has changed and how to fix it. However, once I do, I know I will be as confident as I can be and I feel like my class participation will be much better, which in the end will make me happier.
This week I had 5 attempts.
My favorite part of clinical this semester is being off site. Being at high school is a lot different than being at the college level. In years past we always have joked around what it is like to have to be creative on make things on the spot, but in the high school this is a reality because they don’t have as much of a budget as the college. At the high school level I notice a dramatic decrease on pre-performance rehab and interventions. I know the reason why this is different is because they have to either come straight from the end of the day to the clinic or they will not have pre-treatment because time is so limited. That being said, I don’t believe many of the athletes are aware they can have pre-treatments. I know when I was playing softball is high school I had no clue who or what an athletic trainer was, let alone what they were able to do.
Another part of this semester that I have enjoyed is being what I like to call a “Freelance ATS”. On weeks where I am not able to travel down to the high school I can do hours with my secondary preceptor on campus. I am primarily with women’s soccer when I can’t go to Bristol, but there have been many times where I have done clinical hours with other preceptors. I really enjoy this because I like the preceptors we have here and I also get to help them out when they don’t have students. There is always one preceptor that doesn’t have sophomores on their rotation and typically that is who I help if I’m not with soccer. I believe this allows me to have more experiences, but also keeps me aware of what is going on with campus athletics so that when I come back to on-site I will be more aware of who has what injuries and such.
I also really look forward to next semester. I feel like I have a lot of experience with lower extremities from this semester and last year. I really hope to be able to clinically experience baseball because I have helped with one of the player’s post-surgical rehab and I would like to continue seeing his progress and ultimately get to see his return to play.
This week I had 5 attempts in my clinical packet.
The advice I would give to the freshman and sophomore is to stay on track with their clinical packet and to figure out the way that they need to study. Being new to the program can be difficult if they are not good at time management and organization. Having both of these skills is important in finishing the clinical packet. If they are able to stick to their goals, then they will easily be able to finish their clinical packet on time. Another important thing the freshman and sophomore should know is how they need to study. I found the best way to study for me is with one other person because that person will keep me focused on the task at hand. They should also utilize their VARK test scores to figure out what methods of studying they should do. The final piece of advice I would give to the underclassmen is to ask the upperclassmen about anything. The upperclassmen are very willing to help so long as they ask.
This is where I do my weekly clinical blog assignment. There is either a prompt I am responding to, or I just talk about something exciting I saw during the week.