For this journal, I am going to explain how I have developed communication with physicians and other medical professionals. During my years in the program, I have had a lot of time with the team physician. When he comes in to assess athlete’s injuries we have to present them to the physician. We go over everything that has happened to athlete regrading the injury and any past medical history. He usually does his own evaluation on top of everything else. My time with doc has been very informative. He has broken down so many injuries and other possible injuries that I have never heard before. At first I was very timid because I felt like I knew very little about injuries and how to properly evaluate someone. After a year or so I began to gain confidence and more knowledge so talking to the physician was not as bad. I talk with the team doctor now much more professional than ever before, but the only problem is no baseball players have had to see him except for one. He had already seen him previously about his shoulder so it was more of a follow up about his condition. Outside of our team doctor, I have shadowed another physician at his place of work. Dr. Handy is one of kind and very smart. He taught me a lot about diseases and how demographics reproduce the same problems for his patients. I never really thought about the area I was in because I have only worked with athletes. When seeing the general population, you can really see how an area is affected by lifestyle. So when Dr. Handy was explaining this to me, the whole time I was thinking of how I can’t say anything because of patient confidentiality. I have become much more professional in communicating with other medical professionals because of the AT program at Emory & Henry.
For this journal I am going to talk about my two strengths and 2 weaknesses I have. My strengths are interpersonal skills and time management. My interpersonal skill is a strength due to my confidence that I have in myself. After being in the program for a year and a half, I saw just how much I knew and became excited to explain what I was doing. This used to be a weakness for me, but now I look forward to communicating with others, especially when I am going to either help them or work with them. My second strength was definitely a weakness not long ago. Time management was something I struggled with so much and still do now when I have a lot of stuff coming up in school, but I know how to handle it now better than I did. I made school a lot harder on myself than what it needed to be by pushing everything to the side until the last second. Now, I look ahead in the week to get some of my responsibilities early so I don’t have to stress over the little things. My two weakness are being a consistent student and expressing my concerns to professors and preceptors. During my time in college, I have made a lot of improvements academically, and I am very happy of that. There are still sometimes when I am just not very consistent in my work and decide to slack a bit. It is always one month during the semester where I get complacent of my success and stop pushing to do better. After that month I get back on track and start to push myself again. Me being consistent as a student is only a weakness because it is something that weighs on me greatly because I want to succeed, but I sometimes don’t follow through on goals. So when I start to get lazy and don’t want to do my work as much, I just go to the library and grind it out. As much as I dread it sometimes, I try to find the positive in it. My second weakness, expressing my concerns is another I want to work on because when I am in a career setting I will need to voice my opinion on certain matters. During my years in college, I have rarely voiced myself when I was upset with how something was going, whether good or bad. I think my confidence had to play a role in that, but the first time I actually said something I felt really relieved and a lot better about my situation. I had to express my concerns this semester to a professor and I felt I was very professional during this time. I am not sure if it had a big impact, but I still felt better about trying to make my concerns known.
In our ATR 462 Research and Design class, there have many been issues that have caused us to be behind on material. It has been really challenging to stay focused and engaged the whole time and outside of class as well. Now that we are actually breaking down research, which has happened in the two classes, the class is not as boring as it was. I feel like this class is just nothing but definitions up to this point and nothing having to do with the application a study has in the practicing world. These past two classes have opened my view to the language of research. I feel as if I can look at almost any research and figure out whether or not it is garbage or a gem. This has really come in handy for Colin and I doing our own research. We are making sure that mistakes are minimized by looking over what we have done in class. A lot of our research is starting to make more sense as well too. For the most part I feel like critical appraisal is not that bad, but it is a skill that takes time to develop. Research has its own language and trying to understand all the vocab is the most challenging part. I do enjoy dissecting the research because it is just preparing me for the future as an Athletic Trainer, but there are just some aspects of this class in general I do not like. Some may be able to be fixed, but I think we are at a point in the semester where nothing is going to change. All in all, if someone asked me to give an opinion on a research paper I would not feel terrified to give them my opinion because of what I have learned this semester.
I haven’t really had any difficult conversations recently, but there is one conversation that I found really hard to help with an athlete. I have a baseball player at the moment that has tweaked his hamstring a couple of weeks back. He is able to participate during games, but he is limited in practice when he starts to experience pain. We have him stretch, roll out, and keep his muscle warm while he sits out for a bit. He came up to me this past week talking about him not being able to participate for the whole practice. He explained to me that he felt not good about starting when he sometimes has to sit out during practice. I have been in his shoes before so I know exactly what he was feeling. I began with what exactly his injury is and how he has to take precautions during practice. His hamstring is kinda weak and still in the healing process, so I took time to explain how easy it would for him to reinjure the hamstring. I don’t think that really helped with how he feels, but at least he can have a firm grip as to why he needs to take it easy. He is an athlete that will actually listen to what we say, so I think he will be fine. I felt like this situation was difficult because I have been exactly where he was and it really is something that sticks in your mind. If this was a really serious issue it could prevent him from playing at his best or cause him to lose focus and reinjure himself. I’ve told athletes that their season is ended due to an injury or have been there that conversation, but it's so clear cut to the point where there is nothing to considered. This conversation really let me interact with an athlete with a personal experience of how I felt while playing. I feel like I handle the situation as best as I could, and I am not sure if there is anything else I should’ve said. I did make it clear that he absolutely needed to take it easy which I think is the biggest part of the conversation. Looking back on it, I never thought what should I say that I was taught in class, but more of how can I explain why it's important to do the things we tell him and how easy he could hurt himself more.
One of my goals for this semester, is to develop professional communication in order to better explain my treatment decisions by going over the injury and intervention with my preceptor or athlete. This has been the most challenging goal to achieve so far because a lot of times my preceptor will just ask me to perform a type of intervention to help the athlete, but I have been allowed to implement my own interventions for athletes this semester as well. Hannah has confidence in my decisions because I explain my goal for the intervention to do to help with the injury. So far I haven’t been told that is a bad idea, but just some adjusts to what I am trying to do. I have really enjoyed being able to make actual decisions because it is what I am going to be doing here very soon. Plus it is good review for my BOC exam to explain what the treatment is going to do. The only thing I wish I would have done looking back on it is go over other treatment options I could use or a combination of the two. I feel confident in my decisions to the point where I feel comfortable being alone for treatments. I still want to run it by Hannah first so she knows what is going. I think once I am on my own that the experience and confidence I have will make my decisions easier to pick from. I remember when I had finished learning about modalities I will still really nervous to make a decision on which one to use because I felt like I wasn’t very confident in my knowledge. Looking back, it wasn’t the knowledge that made me nervous, but the idea of a preceptor asking me what I think should be used to help an athlete. It seems silly to think that made me nervous now because when I am asked that I have my own preferred techniques I like to use for certain injuries. I can always get better at interventions by looking over them and seeing which one may work best, but for now I feel confident enough to help athletes with their injuries.
In this journal, I am going to talk about how research literature should and is used by clinicians. To be a good consumer of the literature means that one looks through new research to stay up to date with what is effective for patient outcomes. Whether that outcome is preventive or rehabilitative doesn’t really matter. Being able to look at research and figure out if it is any good is a huge component of being a good consumer. When it comes to using the literature in practice, one must have an understanding of the literature in order to perform it. If you try to use the literature and not have a firm grasp that could potentially lead to you hurting your patient. This harm could lead to a lawsuit and potentially losing your credential. On the other side, it could potentially help cover you in a lawsuit. If you have an understanding and are able to backup your practice then you should be fine in that aspect. The health field is always changing with new technology discovering new ideas. To stay up to date and be able to have a best practice that is effective you have to research the literature to find what is new. This is how many clinicians today stay within their practice guidelines without paying money to attend sessions that go over new evidence based practice. One can also participate in studies to help the literature. A lot of literature has to do with workplace or employee factors. This could be very beneficial to someone who is trying to understand where they are at. Trying to help the profession is equally important as keeping up with literature. I have found that researching literature about rehab techniques and proper procedure of urgent medical conditions or situations to be very helpful. As a student, I am looking at the most recent research but one day it will not and the literature will say something completely different. This is why learning how to implement literature and staying up to date is such an important part of being a clinician. I am looking at what exactly I need to do in order to pass my certification test. I look at position statements to know exactly my expectations as an Athletic Trainer are.
I am about to graduate and be certified by May, but what is difficult is finding a job. Networking, a useful tool that I have been able to use a little, is a great way to get my name in the pool for a job. The only problem I have with this is, I do not know that many people who will be able to help me land the job I want. I know a couple of AT’s back home and a handful of people who work within a school system that would be more than willing to help me out once I am done with school. I just don’t have a broad network as of right now. I know how to broaden my network now after being in college for four years. When I was younger the only way I would talk to someone was if they would talk to me, but now I can confidently talk to anyone and figure out if they like me. I actually tried this with one of my roommate’s dad. He is an Athletic Director at a High School so I just asked how their AT’s work and get hired out there. He explained everything to me as I listened and asked questions as well. I was trying to leave the impression that I was serious about my major while creating a new opportunity. Before he left to go back home, he asked me if I wanted to know more that he would send my information to the guy that contracts out the AT’s in Richmond. So that was my first networking building experience, and I think it went as good as it could have. He was obviously more inclined to like me because I am his son roommate, but it was still good practice to see if I could create that opportunity for myself. If I had to talk to someone at conference who had no prior knowledge of who I am, I think that would be much harder to do. Either way though, I am going to show interest in what he or she is saying, sell my skill sets and knowledge of AT (subtlety), and leave with an impression that I am personable. I could be wrong of course, as many people are just different and may not like someone who is trying to push themselves onto another. That is why you have to listen when someone talks to get a good feel of what kind of personality they have. It may sound like I am judging, but I am trying to figure how I need to talk to this person. If they are very lively then I can be a bit more relaxed with, but if they seem more serious then I need to as professional as I can. Building a relationship with someone in a positive manner will highly increase my network which in the long run may just land me a job here soon.
While in the program, I have found it hard to get athletes sometimes to trust in what I say. Other times it took no effort at all for an athlete to trust me. This was usually because they already knew me before any kind of treatments or evaluation. For the athletes I never got to meet beforehand, I found it difficult for them to trust in my advice. Trust is very essential for the relationship between Athletic Trainer and athlete. Without trust, an athlete will always be skeptical of any intervention, diagnoses, or advice from the Athletic Trainer. I have seen this first hand during my early years in the program. I do not blame upperclassmen for not listening to me when I was a sophomore because I was not confident in the information I had at the time. Confidence and the detail for what I was doing at the time were not there, so naturally people probably thought I did not know what I was talking about. This is why I do not blame them for not listening to me. I would not want to listen to a physician who was not confident in his decisions. As the months went on, I started grow my weaknesses and began to build trust with some athletes. I took time to reflect on those relationships to better understand how I got their trust. Majority of it was just explaining what and why I was doing, with a smidge of confidence. As more athletes began to seek out my advice, I noticed myself not worrying about what I knew but instead what I could for them. Trust can be built through many different ways, but I focus on the patient and what their needs are. I try to be a friend to them first so they can feel comfortable telling me their issues. I am not trying to show them I know what I am talking about because they expect me to know more about what is going on with them, in most cases. Once I have some kind of positive relationship, I use honesty to tell them what I see and what I can do. I know that sometimes the truth hurts, but if it can ultimately help someone then it must be utilized. That is why trust is such an important tool Athletic Trainers should use. We are here to take care of people when they are need, so must show care and compassion for them to let us help.
The BOC exam is something that have been dreading and looking forward to. I am not overly fond of very long test that mean very much on my years here in the program. I get very anxious about it because there is just so much material to go over and I feel like I will not be prepared regardless. With that feeling, it drives me constantly be thinking of how I am going to study. Since the practice test two weeks ago I was too confident in myself and thought that I could not study much and be fine for the next one. I found out how wrong I was and saw more things that I did not know well. It is time for me to really sit down and evaluate how I am going to take this beast of a test down. I was very upset with my performance on this last test, but I sat down and asked myself what should I have done differently. The past two weeks I haven’t studied very much at all. I let distractions take place and got behind on some homework that I should not have. My overwhelming feeling got the better of me, and every time I sat down to study all I could think about is how much material there is to study. I am not going to let that happen again by, calming myself and focus on the material that I am currently looking at, going over the material two or three times instead of just once, and try to create questions or quiz myself from the material. I am going to prepare for this next practice test as if it is the real one. I can’t afford to let the little things pull me away from my goal of being certified after years of making sacrifices. If I let the distractions win then my goal becomes the sacrifice and that is not who I am or who I want to be. I know what I need to correct and I am excited to improve. I am not looking at this anymore as studying for a test, but as preparing for my life after Emory & Henry College.
The topic for the journal is what I think challenges are for the profession. There are many that I am sure I will leave out, but I am going to talk about a couple that I have seen first hand. The first challenge would have to be the lack of knowledge people have about Athletic Training. I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked about my major and said that sounds fun to train athletes or what kind of workouts do you prefer to do. I have no hard feelings toward people who don’t know about the profession because more than likely they just didn’t know or have never heard of it. I actually like explaining to people what exactly I can do and my knowledge I have. I always get a kick out of people when their faces are wowed by what I know. I think it would be easy to fix this by having it more advertised to the general public. Another setback from the same issue is people not trusting my opinion. During my offsite time at Virginia High, I saw this first hand happen as my opinion was not taken seriously. I know that I am just a student and it's hard for people to trust someone who is not certified or they don’t know in general. I think getting a second opinion is great because I know that I am not the smartest and am human. Everyone makes mistakes and that is okay. During my high school days I would hear people talk about our AT as if he had no clue what he is doing. I know now the education he went through more than qualifies him to know what he is talking about. If someone wants to get the diagnoses from a physician or rehab with a PT that is perfectly fine with because at the end of day it is their choice. I will never force a patient to do anything just give advice on what I think, and if my advice is not good enough then it is perfectly fine with me. Another issue, people thinking that AT’s are only with high schools. I have had many people ask after explaining my major, what high school are you gonna try to work at? I always reply back, If I can land a high school job that will be great or at a clinic, hospital, etc. Whoever I am talking to is always surprised to hear this and it makes me laugh. I like to explain different settings I could work in and what my preferences are and they seem to find it really interesting. After thinking about all these issues, the major cause is a lack of knowledge people have about the profession. It is a newer profession some many people have never had the personal experience, but I think more people are learning now more than ever.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.