MAPEA Virtual Symposium 2014


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Athletic Training Students' Perceptions of Preceptors and Clinical Rotations

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  • Hello and welcome to my presentation!My name is Courtney McCormick and I will be discussing athletic training students’ perceptions of preceptors and clinical rotations. I received my bachelors in athletic training in 2010 and my masters in athletic training in 2012. I am currently in the doctoral program for educational leadership and have a long term goal to work as a program director for an undergraduate athletic training program. In my time as an undergraduate and as a graduate student, I noticed there are gaps in Athletic Training education between what students are learning in the classroom and what they are experiencing and seeing at their clinical rotations. So, for this project I wanted to look at student perceptions of their preceptors and clinical rotations to try and determine what makes this part of the educational experience worthwhile for students.
  • Before we begin, let’s go over a few key terms that will be used throughout this presentation.A preceptor is a certified athletic trainer and clinical instructor who oversees the student at a clinical rotationA clinical rotation is the learning environment to which a student is assigned for a semester. This changes every semesterAn athletic training student, or ATS, is any student enrolled in the athletic training program
  • Current research shows that if students lack meaningful and quality clinical experiences then they are less motivated to continue athletic training programs or pursue careers in athletic training upon completion of a program. This decrease in motivation can lead to higher student dropout rates from athletic training programs. Preceptors also suffer from role confusion in that they know they need to teach students and serve as mentors, but they also need to work as certified athletic trainers and care for the team to which they are assigned. This role confusion can lead to inadequate experiences for athletic training students as well, resulting in the previously mentioned retention problems.
  • The purpose of this particular study was to look at the students perceptions of preceptors at University X and determine if the preceptors are meeting the needs of the students.
  • In order to do this, I asked the following questions:Are there differences between male and female students perceptions of preceptors?I hypothesized that preceptor attitudes and actions would positively predict teaching ability and attitudes. And finally I wanted to determine if there was an association between the following:
  • I used 51 athletic training students from University X for this study. The students were currently or previously enrolled in the athletic training program and ranged from first year ATS, second year ATS, and 3rd year ATS.Every semester the students at University X had to fill out two evaluation forms. The form, Evaluation of Preceptors/Clinical Site, is completed at the midterm point of the semester and again at the end of the semester and kept in the students’ files.I was granted access to the forms and used the midterm and final evaluations from the winter 2012 semester and the fall 2012 semester. All surveys were input into SPSS and an analyses were run.
  • Looking at our first question about perceptions of male students compared to female students it is apparent there is not much difference, on average, between what male students thought compared to what female students thought. Overall, there were similarities in mean for all four categories on the survey. It is important to note however that not all students are assigned to the same preceptors during their education so this is a true depiction of what males think overall vs what females think overall as opposed to a description of specific clinical rotations.
  • Next I hypothesized that preceptors professional attitudes would predict their teaching ability. I assumed that if a preceptor acted in a professional manner, positively promoted the profession, and demonstrated self confidence, then he or she would also get to know AT students, promote critical thinking, and create a positive learning environment. However, you can see from this regression that professional attitudes do no predict teaching ability. The R-Square value denotes that only 35.6% of teaching ability is predicted by professional attitudes. Also, because significance is at .000 this is clearly not due to chance.
  • Finally I wanted to look at the different associations between each of the categories from the evaluation form. It is obvious from this chart that the greatest correlation is between communication skills and teaching ability with an r of .783 meaning the two are very highly related and as scores on communication go up, scores on teaching ability also go up. This was an important finding because it suggests that what students value most in a preceptor is effective communication.
  • The results of this small project can be used as a springboard for future studies. More research is needed in the area of preceptor communication skills, teaching abilities, and leadership styles.It is also important to have students define what exactly is a meaningful or successful or worthwhile clinical experience so we can focus our studies around this particular area.And finally, research needs to be done to compare preceptors to the classroom educations to determine how we can more effectively educate athletic training students, and keep them motivated and excited about the profession!
  • Thank you for your time and watching this presentation. I look forward to answering any questions you may have!
  • MAPEA Virtual Symposium 2014

    1. 1. Athletic Training Students’ Perceptions of Preceptors and Clinical Rotations Courtney McCormick, ATC
    2. 2. Key Terms • Preceptor: certified athletic trainer and clinical instructor • Clinical Rotation: learning environment to which a student is assigned for a semester • Athletic Training Student (ATS): any student enrolled in an athletic training program
    3. 3. Problem • Motivation of Athletic Training Students • Retention/Attrition • Lack of quality clinical experiences • Preceptor role confusion
    4. 4. Purpose • Examine if preceptors at University X are meeting the needs of athletic training students
    5. 5. Let’s Find Out… • Are there differences between male and female perceptions of preceptors? • Hypothesis: preceptor attitudes and actions positively predict teaching ability and attitudes. • Is there an association between o professional attitudes and actions and teaching? o professional attitudes and actions and communication skills? o professional attitudes and actions and clinical site experience? o communication skills and teaching ability and attitudes? o communication skills and clinical site experience? o teaching ability and attitudes and clinical site experience?
    6. 6. Methods • 51 Athletic Training Students previously or currently enrolled in the Athletic Training Program at the University X • Program Level 1, 2, and 3 • University X Athletic Training Education Program Evaluation of Preceptors/Clinical Site Midterm and Final Evaluations from the 2012 calendar year (Winter 2012, Fall 2012)
    7. 7. Results: Perceptions of Males vs. Females
    8. 8. Ability
    9. 9. Results: The associations
    10. 10. So now what? • More research is needed in the area of preceptor communication skills, teaching abilities, and leadership styles • Need to have students define “what is a meaningful/worthwhile/successful clinical experience”? • Compare preceptors to classroom educators
    11. 11. References Curtis, N., Helion, J., Domsohn, M. (1998). Student Athletic Trainer Perceptions of Clinical Supervisor Behaviors: A Critical Incident Study. Journal of Athletic Training, 33(3), 249-253. Meyer, L. (2002). Athletic Training Clinical Instructors as Situational Leaders. Journal of Athletic Trainng, 37(4 Supplement), 261-265. Pitney, W., Ehlers, G. (2004). A Grounded Theory Study of the Mentoring Process Involved With Undergraduate Athletic Training Students. Journal of Athletic Training, 39(4), 344-351.
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