University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

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Advanced Clinical Skill Acquisition in Post-Professional Athletic Training Education

Tessa Martin MS, ATC

Research is limited regarding clinical skill acquisition in certified athletic trainers.

To examine how certified athletic training graduate students perceived their knowledge and ability to perform advanced clinical skills after twelve weeks of a specific adult learning method.

Design and Setting:
Subjects assessed their confidence in performing, and their perceived knowledge of the principles related to, specific advanced clinical skills via a survey. Subjects then underwent a 4 week course introducing the theory behind specific techniques and practicing each skill. The following eight weeks subjects were encouraged to practice those skills in their clinical assignments. Subjects re-took the same self assessment following the practical intervention and those scores were collected and analyzed for differences.

Eleven certified athletic training graduate students in an NATA accredited graduate athletic training Master’s program.

Main Outcome Measurements:
Measurements included self-assessed confidence levels performing specific advanced clinical skills, and self-assessed knowledge of the principles underlying specific advanced clinical skills.

Post-intervention confidence scores were significantly higher than pre-intervention scores (P < .05) for the following clinical skills: Graston Technique, Active Release Technique, Muscle Energy Technique, Pilates, general medical diagnosis and procedure, and nutrition. In contrast, Strain/Counterstrain, aquatic therapy, and movement assessment confidence levels were not changed post-intervention. Overall, the post-intervention scores were higher for both the mean perceived confidence in skill performance, and mean perceived knowledge of the theory behind each skill.

The didactic and practical intervention successfully increased certified athletic trainers’ perceived confidence regarding advanced clinical skill knowledge and ability.