a) Discuss a challenging conversation you have had (or anticipated having). How did you approach the situation? What did you learn about yourself from that experience?
During the fall I had a pretty challenging confrontation with one of the intern athletic trainers. I approached the situation pretty heated just due to the circumstances. We had sort of a verbal altercation that ended up really getting nowhere. What I learned from this was to always approach situations calmly if possible. If I would have approached the situation more calmly, I feel like more could have come out of it. In the end nothing really came of the situation and it could have been beneficial for the both of us. I have also learned that certain things push my buttons more than others, in this circumstance, people specifically not doing the things that their job entails. This type of communication is one thing that I really need to work on, not just for my future job, but for my life skills as well.
a) Discuss Worth & Value. How do you view these concepts? How do you feel athletic trainers can better understand their worth and value? What other stakeholders could benefit from an enhanced understanding?
Worth and Value contribute to everyones skill set, and overall their life quality. Worth describes the monetary value of something. So the worth of an athletic trainer would be the monetary value of the care that they provide. Value is something different, and is harder to describe. Value is more like an appreciation value. In terms of an athletic trainer, their value could be more or less than their worth. For a good athletic trainer, their value would be more than their worth. What I mean by a "good" AT is someone that genuinely cares about their patients, and their patients believe that they are doing all they can to help them. I think athletic trainers can better understand their worth and value by how their patients react to whatever they are doing in the clinic. It isn't hard to tell when patients do not believe they are getting the best care from their clinician. It is also fairly easy to determine worth and value by patient outcomes. I would say that good patient outcomes is a good measure for and athletic trainer's value. I believe that patients could also benefit from knowing their clinician's worth and value. They could see how much that clinician really cares about them, and the clinician could gain more "value" in the patients eyes.
a) This year's National Athletic Training Month slogan is: "Compassionate Care for All." How does this promote the field of athletic training? How do you embody the message?
a) Networking is considered a key component of professional socialization. "It's all about who you know.." How do you approach networking? What challenges do you face? What networking opportunities have you had?
I tend to approach networking a little bit differently than most people that I know. I am a little bit old school. Pretty much all of the networking I have done involves face to face conversation, or talking with someone that a friend or family member knows (and my dad seems to know everyone and their brother in Hickory). While networking with people in medical sales, I have spoken to three people, and two of them have been in orthopedic sales, which is what I really want to go into. One of them told me that after graduation, there would be a job opening that they could help me get. Now this would be in general medical sales, but it is a starting point, and will help me get some good experiences. I have used sites such as linkedin to network. I find these a little bit harder to use, just because I am not very tech savvy, and I would much rather have a phone conversation or speak face to face. One of the huge challenges I face is with networking that involves online communication. I am fairly bad with anything on a computer, and I am fairly new to networking online as it is. I have had opportunities to network with some people in the field that I want to go into. All of them being face to face conversation or phone conversation.
a) What do you perceive to be challenges facing the profession? Why?
I believe that there are multiple challenges that face the profession of Athletic Training. The first challenge, and probably the most recognizable challenge is the hours many Athletic Trainers work, and the little pay they often receive. This is really one of the reasons I am going away from the profession. I remember a discussion with an athletic trainer here. They were telling me that they had worked 3 weeks in a row for over 70 hours each week. With athletic trainers making a salary, and a pretty small one at a division 3 school. I believe that that is one of the largest reasons that people are turned away by the profession, and why some of them even leave. I feel that if assistant athletic trainers were paid a higher salary, the profession would also get more respect from the public. Because the pay is so small for all of the hours, many people will discredit athletic trainers and their knowledge. Another problem that faces the profession is the lack of third party reimbursement in many places. I feel that this is on the upswing though. If there were third party reimbursement in all athletic training settings, this would also fix some of the low pay problems. I believe that another problem. From what I have seen in some of my clinical experiences, gender bias is also a problem. Specifically with students. I have seen football players treat the female students differently than they would treat me, even if the female is in the same grade as myself and at the same skill level. I do believe that this could be on it's way to being solved as well.
a) Reflect on how far you’ve come since entering college. Do you feel you are the same person you were when you started? What’s the next step for you?
I have definitely come a long way since entering college. I was born and raised in a small town outside of Hickory, North Carolina. I went to high school at a medium sized high school, way back in the country. Almost everyone I graduated with were white and middle class. Since coming to college I have learned to open my mind to different types of people. I have multiple friends from multiple different races and backgrounds. I feel like Emory & Henry College has a way of uniting people that are different. I really couldn't explain to anybody how this happens, but I see myself being friends and relating to different types of people every day. I am definitely not the same person that I was when I started. I have went through many difficult times and circumstances since being here at Emory. When I first came here, I was very close to leaving due to severe homesickness. When I wasn't around friends for the first year or so, I really didn't have any drive to do anything. I wanted to be at home, with my family, and sometimes I felt like an outsider here. I do not know exactly what happened but overtime the homesickness began to gradually get better. I am very glad now that I chose to stay and stick it out because I have met some friends that I believe I will have for the rest of my life. The next step for me is to graduate, take my BOC, and begin applying for jobs in medical sales in hopes of gaining enough experience to be offered a job in orthopedic sales. It has been a long road trying to decide what I wanted to do for a career. I have went through many options, and weighed pros and cons of each. Overall what led me to want to be an orthopedic salesman are some of the values that have strengthened through my time at Emory. I have realized that the most important things to me are family, friends, and the outdoors. This career will allow me to be able to work a normal schedule, to be able to stay around Hickory, and keep me in the medical field.
I feel that I have built my skills in communication with physicians and other healthcare providers by doing a few different things. The first thing that I think has helped me build these skills is all of the work we have done in clinical that aims to improve our knowledge of general healthcare. We have learned so much stuff about insurance, and budgeting, and referrals, and all of these aspects have made me more confident in my communication with healthcare providers. Learning about types of insurance and third party reimbursement has probably been the largest confidence builder in my communication because I feel like these things are what I knew the least about going into clinical this semester. Another thing that has helped me build skills in communication with healthcare providers is the last few Dr. Hannula clinic nights over the last year. Every time I have been I have presented a case. With each case, Dr. Hannula has asked me to perform an evaluation on the athlete before he sees the patient, instead of just giving him a history and positive or negative special tests. With these evaluations and his feedback, it has built my communication skills with healthcare providers. One more thing that has been important in my communication skills has been the patient put through assignment. This assignment has been difficult because there has only been one of Melissa’s athletes that has had a referral, so I haven’t been able to refer 2 athletes and go through all of the proper steps. But learning about faxing documentation and speaking to a secretary about the patient’s condition and setting up appointments has built my skills in communication with healthcare providers. Overall the biggest thing that has helped me in building my skills communicating with healthcare providers has been the information that we have learned in clinical about insurance types and third party reimbursement. This is because I knew little about these subjects before this clinical, and wasn’t at all comfortable talking about these things.
I believe that I have quite a few strengths and weaknesses. Two of my best strengths include relating to athletes and understanding them, as well as evaluation in the clinic. Two of my greatest weaknesses include time management, and dealing with patient non-compliance. I believe that I excel in understanding where an athlete is coming from during an injury or other circumstances, because I am a fourth year collegiate athlete. I can understand why these athletes wouldn’t want to see the athletic training staff when they are injured, because this often means time away from their sport. I am very good at keeping a relationship with my athletes. I believe they would mostly be comfortable talking to me about an injury, or really anything relating to their health. I am a fairly approachable person, and can relate to these athletes because my life is very similar to theirs. I feel that this is probably my greatest strength as an athletic training student. I feel that I have came a long way in injury evaluation this semester. Melissa has had me do a ton of evaluations during this clinical rotation, and that has made me better at evaluating many injuries. I have gotten much more experience in the areas that I was uncomfortable with, those being the hip and back. Time management is a weakness for me, simply because I have so much on my plate this semester. Juggling research, clinical, school, baseball, and other issues have been very tough on me this semester. I have been trying to write everything down so that I do not forget to do assignments or miss important meetings and dates. I have also been trying to do assignments early so that I can have more time to complete everything. My other weakness, dealing with non-compliant patients, stems more from dealing with patients that are over exaggerating an injury, or patients that I feel are partially making up an injury. For some reason, I have had a lot of these this semester, and I cannot understand why someone would want to do this. To combat this, I have been trying to treat every patient like they are truly injured, and really care about getting back to the playing field.