1) How many students are currently in your program(s)?
Currently, we have 37 students total. We have 22 in our undergraduate program, and 15 in our entry-level master’s program. We always have fewer students in the spring, as some of our undergraduates are eligible to graduate in December.
2) Do you teach any class(es)? If so, which one(s)?
In the fall, I teach Rehabilitation Techniques in Athletic Training, and Topics in Sports Medicine. In the spring, I teach Introduction to Athletic Training, as well as Lower Extremity Evaluation. In the summer, I teach Advanced Orthopedic and Medical Aspects of Athletic Training.
3) Do you use the BOC Self Assessment Exam(s) as tools to assist your students in preparing for the exam? How?
I was lucky enough to receive 30 vouchers for BOC Self Assessment Exams as payment for helping the BOC with a project a few years ago. I gave those to our graduating students, who used them to prepare for their BOC exam. I now strongly encourage all of our students to take at least one self assessment exam as they prepare for the BOC exam. I encourage our students to take it about 6-8 weeks in advance of their exam date, so that they can focus their studying on one or two key areas during those crucial final weeks prior to the exam. I find the feedback provided to the students after taking the self assessment exams truly helps our students as they study.
4) How do you prepare your students for the BOC exam?
We begin our students’ preparation as soon as they begin their first athletic training class. We utilize question formats in our classroom exams that mimic the format of the BOC exam (multiple choice, multiple select, drag and-drop matching, etc.). I provide the Reference List from the BOC exam to our library annually, to ensure that our students have access to every textbook utilized during preparation.
Our entry-level master’s students take a comprehensive exam during their final semester, and we prepare that exam so it aligns with the domains of athletic training used on the BOC (as a percentage of questions in each domain). We encourage our undergraduate students to also take this comprehensive exam to prepare for the BOC exam. Finally, we recently re-instituted BOC Study Sessions, led by our ATEP instructors, to review material during the spring semester of our students’ final year in the program. However, the most important preparation that our students have is simply passing all of their courses and clinical rotations.
5) What study materials do you recommend to your students?
As a way to get the students started, I have them return to the most recent edition of “Arnheim’s Principles of Athletic Training” textbook, and use the questions at the end of each chapter. I find this is a simple way to initiate the study process for our students. I also advise them to reference the BOC Role Delineation Study, specifically Appendix A which lists the domains and the specific tasks, knowledge, and skills in each domain.
Then, I advise them to self-identify some areas they feel weak in, and I have them select the relevant texts from the BOC Exam Reference List, or I have them reference their class notes on that area. As they get closer to their exam date, I have them take a self-assessment, either the BOC Self Assessment Exams or the “Study Guide” from ACES. Finally, many of our students purchase the commercially-available “study guides” for the BOC exam. While these are not my first recommendation for study materials, the texts, quizzes and test banks seem to motivate our students to engage in the studying process.
6) Please provide some tips for how you prepare your students for entering the real world (e.g. completing the BOC paperwork post-exam; state licensure/registration/certification; NPI numbers).
- Make your transcript requests in advance. Most universities (including UNO) will allow you to request a transcript to be sent after your degree has been posted. If you request it early, you won’t have to worry about remembering to do it as you are moving, celebrating your graduation and transitioning into “the real world!”
- Keep your CPR/AED cards in a safe location, and KEEP YOUR EXPIRED CARDS AS WELL! If the BOC audits your CEUs, you will need to provide evidence that you were continuously certified in CPR and AED. It is much easier to keep the cards than to ask the Red Cross or AHA to dig through their files and provide that information for you.
- Prepare your licensure/registration application before you graduate, and have your supervising AT sign any documents before you graduate. Again, this saves time.
- If you have a criminal conviction, start your BOC application process (and ultimately your licensure process) at least 6 months in advance of when you hope to take the exam (or have your licensure). This ensures that you can collect the necessary court documents - that process can take a considerable amount of time!
- Most importantly, keep in contact with your PD, Clinical Coordinator, preceptors and fellow graduates. They will be very important during that first year: providing advice, helping you with licensure paperwork, providing references and helping you network with other ATs (who may, someday, want to hire you).
- When you put someone down as a reference for a job, email that person to notify them and include a recent resume as well as the job description. That way, they will be prepared to answer any questions that may be asked during a reference check.
7) Do you have any tips, suggestions or questions for other Program Directors?
In my first month as PD, the CAATE audited one of our programs. It was a real “trial by fire,” as I had to come up with all of the paperwork for a program I had literally just taken over! However, that experience really exposed me to the administrative side of my position, and I truly feel that it helped me transition much more quickly than I would have, had the audit not taken place.
So while I may not recommend an audit for new PDs, I would suggest immersing yourself in the administrative aspect immediately. Consolidate files, audit affiliation agreements and student files, revise policy and procedure manuals, and go through the CAATE Standards with a fine-tooth comb. Make it a goal to know exactly how you meet each CAATE Standard, and where that evidence is located, during your first semester. It will make your next annual report or self-study much easier!
If you are a PD who would like to be considered for inclusion in the Featured Program Highlights, please submit an email with your interest to StacyA@bocatc.org.