Archive for December, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions

Friday, December 31st, 2010

2010 is coming to a close, and the New Year is soon approaching. It's time to start thinking about New Year's Resolutions. This year, put extra effort into something that betters you as a person as well as a professional and helps others along the way.

  1. SPREAD THE GOOD WORD about your profession. It's called Public Relations. The thought of "being in the spotlight" may be intimidating to some, but PR is really very simple and many of you are doing it already. If you have summarized your job to friends, family or parents of student-athletes, that is PR. Speaking to students at a career fair or allowing them to job shadow you is PR. Communicating with the media on the sideline or promoting your profession through social media is PR.
  2. EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN. Get a jump start on your CEUs. Waiting until the last minute to start your CEUs can be stressful. Start the year off right by identifying events you are interested in attending in 2011. Learning is much more fun when you can choose what you want to learn about rather than be forced to complete a course because of the number of contact hours assigned.
  3. GET ENGAGED! Do you know about the latest happenings in your state? Many states have passed concussion legislation within the past year. Other states have passed licensure. HR1137 still needs support. Have you contacted your local US Congressional Representative to spread the good word and request support for ATEAM?

It only takes a spark to get the fire going. Light a match and give a little extra effort for yourself and your profession.

CE...it must be done...AND it can be FUN

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

We tell our students and patients that ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING. Not only is this true regarding rehabilitation effort and compliance, but for ourselves with regards to continuing education (CE). Recent survey results show that some ATs do not enjoy being lifelong learners as much as their peers. Isn't that what we signed up for as educators -- to be lifelong learners?

All of us have preferred learning styles. I have been to the standard symposium session, sitting in a row, staring at a power point. Other events have included panel discussions, small and large group work and learning labs. As speakers strive to motivate, entertain and inform, the audience can take away important information throughout a presentation. An atmosphere conducive to speaker-audience interaction can provide additional active participation opportunities and fulfillment for the AT.

Don't forget -- you're only as strong as your weakest link. If all of your CE events revolve around one domain, consider branching out to learn about a topic in which you have less expertise. Well rounded practitioners are appreciated by all. If you have a burning passion for a subject with the willingness and energy to share with others, offer to speak at a conference or symposium. You may be surprised to find how much you learn while preparing to share your knowledge with others. Speaking engagements to other healthcare providers can be eligible for CEUs, too.

This is America; ATs get to choose what they learn, where they learn and how they learn. Plan your CE calendar for 2011 now. Select events you truly have an interest in learning about. Show up with a good attitude and take away knowledge and skills that you can apply to your practice immediately. Prizes are often offered for attending events and submitting CEUs. What is better than winning trips, technology or cash all thanks to your ATC® credential? Smile. You've earned it.

All I want for Christmas is.....

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

There is a great Christmas wish article today in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald today by Dr. James Glazer.  Here's just a small quote from his piece.

"Put simply, for the thousands of Maine teenagers who play high school sports, an athletic trainer is the most essential piece of safety equipment. They're more important than shin guards for soccer athletes, than mouth guards for hockey players, and even more important than helmets for football players."

Take a minute to read his eloquent support of the work and  value of athletic trainers. Do you have supporters in your area that are caryying the banner for what you do? Who are they, let us know so we can contact them.

Are Your Ethics My Ethics?

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The topic of ethics is becoming increasingly common in the headlines -- not just corporate ethics such as those Enron and WorldCom brought to our attention back in 2001, but ethics in healthcare, politics, education and business.

A recent study in Medscape published the results of a survey answered by 10,000 physicians. The summary was titled "Physician's Top 20 Ethical Dilemmas." Here are some of the questions from the survey.

Could you become involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with a patient?

  • Yes, while that patients is still a patient?
  • Yes, but not until at least 6 months after they stopped being a patient
  • No
  • It depends
  • Would you ever discuss patient information in situations that did not fully protect their privacy (e.g., socially or while talking with healthcare professionals about subjects not related to the patient)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • It depends
  • If a physician friend or colleague were impaired (alcohol, drugs, or illness) or was no longer competent and he or she ignored your warnings to get help, would you report that person to a superior or to the state or national board?

  • Yes
  • No
  • It depends
  • Previously, in this blog, we have referenced articles by healthcare professionals and regulatory agencies related to this and other topics such as boundary issues. Ethics research in athletic training is available, although limited. Schlabach and Peer have authored Professional Ethics in Athletic Training, and foundational behaviors of professional practice is a key area of the educational competencies used by all ATEPs. But we all know the difficulty comes in making the decision on whether a behavior is ethical when the situation occurs. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how the aspirational ethics of students and practicing Athletic Trainers (ATs) matched the actual occurrence data? With clinical education occurring throughout the educational experience, we place our future professionals in awkward positions being a part of the healthcare delivery system for their peers in an often high-profile environment. How often are privacy, ethics and boundary issues discussed with these future ATs? Probably not as often as we all hope.

    What has your biggest ethical dilemma been as a professional?

    Prevention Finally Getting Respect in Healthcare

    Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    As healthcare reform begins to take shape, the financial incentive for preventative services is becoming a reality. Major companies are ahead of the game and have had corporate wellness and health promotion programs in place for a long time. The data supporting the financial benefit of such programs has made its way to the corporate boardrooms of business and insurance companies. No longer is health something to insure against. Now, healthy lifestyles and a focus on wellness programs can yield tangible savings (i.e., dollars) in health insurance premiums.

    So how does all of this impact athletic training?

    The first domain of practice for athletic training has always been prevention. Athletic trainers' education and skill in this area have helped spawn new professions such strength and conditioning and performance enhancement specialists. Here's the introductory information for this domain taken from the sixth edition of the BOC Role Delineation Study/Practice Analysis (emphasis added).

    Domain I - Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness Protection

    Educating participants and managing risk for safe performance and function.

    A key aspect of the athletic trainer’s (AT) education and training is in the area of prevention and risk management. The AT is the front‐line professional charged with this duty. Many individuals come to activity in less than ideal condition. They may suffer from disorders such as sickle‐cell trait, diabetes or have other conditions predisposing them to injury or illness. Pre‐participation screenings are critical to identifying risks and putting prevention plans into action. Additional prevention and risk management strategies undertaken by the AT range from on‐site reviews for hazards, monitoring environmental conditions and educating participants on nutrition and performance enhancing drugs to monitoring for overtraining, maintenance of clinical and treatment areas, and development of emergency action plans.

    As the healthcare environment continues to redesign itself, ATs should be recognized for their knowledge and skill by the public and other healthcare professionals. ATs should be touting their importance in the national fight against obesity and inactivity, against the ever-increasing number of Type II diabetes cases among our children. As private foundations such as the Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and government, both state and federal, fund new programs and initiatives in this area, the opportunity for the athletic training community to provide AT services to a population of patients in need is at hand. Raising this issue in light of having an AT providing or coordinating preventative care can go a long way to increasing both the health of the nation and the employment of and availability of ATs as the healthcare professional of choice.