Autonomy, Mentorship, and Feedback: The Core of Clinical Education in Athletic Training

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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Clinical education provides the backbone for the socialization process for athletic trainers. It is the chance for students to engage in the role, within a real-time learning environment that allows for not only the adoption of knowledge, skills, and critical decision making, but also the profession’s foundational behaviors of professional practice. Recent criticisms of the current education model, in which the degree is conferred, center on the lack of critical thinking and confidence in clinical practice for newly-credentialed athletic trainers, as many suggest there is concern for the abilities of students to transition to practice smoothly. We offer three areas of focus for clinical education experiences for students (autonomy, mentorship, and feedback), believing this could support the development of independent thinking and confidence in skills. Our discussions are focused on the evidence available, as well as personal experiences as educators and program administrators.