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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Thomas G. Bowman and Jessica L. Barrett

The commissioners of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and the Board of Directors of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) have acted to move the professional degree in athletic training from a bachelor’s degree to a graduate degree. The decision was largely based upon growth of the profession and aligning with the face of healthcare education. Therefore, we wanted to understand the perceived benefits of the graduate model. Using a qualitative paradigm, we electronically interviewed 29 students and faculty members (13 athletic training faculty and program directors, 16 students) currently in Professional Masters Athletic Training Programs (PM ATP). These represented 13 of the 29 (45%) CAATE-accredited PM ATPs. Five themes emerged from the data: (1) engagement and time spent in clinical education allows students to prepare for their roles as athletic trainers, (2) faculty stress the importance of interprofessional education, (3) expecting prior foundational knowledge allows focused education training at the graduate level, (4) increased professional commitment to stay in athletic training rather than use the training/education as a stepping-stone to other career paths, and (5) higher student maturity facilitates deeper learning. Based on these results, the perceived benefits of the PM ATP model are multifactorial.

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Thomas G. Bowman and Jessica L. Barrett

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.

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Jessica Barrett, Alicia Pike and Stephanie Mazerolle

Women in athletic training face barriers when working with male sports teams; the reasons are multifactorial, including traditional sex stereotyping and the social networking of male leaders (i.e., the “old boys club”). The purpose of our qualitative research study was to explore the experiences of women athletic trainers providing medical care to a male athletic team within the collegiate setting. Fifteen female NCAA Division I collegiate athletic trainers working with male sports teams completed telephone interviews. The interpretative phenomenological analysis approach was utilized. Trustworthiness was ensured through peer review, multiple researcher triangulation, and saturation. Participants experienced discriminatory behavior, sexism, and gender bias within the workplace. Though their relationships with student-athletes and coaches were often harmonious, participants experienced sexism and discrimination from the time they were students through their professional careers.

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Stephanie M. Mazerolle, Jessica L. Barrett, Christianne M. Eason and Sara L. Nottingham