Describe your setting:
I work in a sports medicine clinic in Chesterfield, Missouri. I am the assistant to a fellowship-trained primary care sports medicine doctor.
How long have you worked in this setting?
I have worked with my doctor for 6 months but spent all of last year participating in the Steadman Clinic Athletic Training Fellowship program in Vail, Colorado.
Describe your typical day:
I get to the office at 7:00am every day to make sure that my charts are prepped and rooms are stocked for the day. We see patients from 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday, usually anywhere from 18-26 patients per day. I room every patient and perform their initial history and evaluation and order x-rays if necessary. I also set up for injections by drawing the injectables and prepping the ultrasound machine. We not only perform steroid and viscosupplementation injections but also platelet rich plasma (PRP). For the PRP injections I draw blood and spin it in the centrifuge then draw off the PRP for the injections as well as assist the doctor during the procedure.
What do you like about your position?
I love that I get immediate feedback with regards to my evaluation. My boss is not only a great teacher, but also very easy to work along-side. Also, he is the team physician for a local NAHL hockey team and I provide athletic training coverage for several of their home games.
Another benefit of working in the clinical setting is that you get to follow injuries from onset to recovery which, for me, bridged the gap in my overall understanding of an injury.
What do you dislike about your position?
I definitely miss traveling with athletic teams and the overall camaraderie associated with team staffing. It is nice working with the hockey team but I do not have quite the bond with those kids that I did with the collegiate coaches and athletes.
What advice do you have about your practice setting for a young athletic trainer looking at this setting?
I highly suggest this path for Athletic Trainers that are family-oriented because of the the stability and set hours. Also, there are always opportunities for contract work so you can continue functioning as a traditional Athletic Trainer, when you want to. I strongly suggest going through one of the several athletic training fellowship programs. I learned more in my first two months at the Steadman Clinic than I did in the 6 years of school prior. The sheer repetition of injuries and magnitude of positive tests that you get to experience increases the confidence in your abilities. I am a firm believer that the more cards you have in your pocket the better when it comes to your future. Sometimes it is easy to think narrow-mindedly about an injury and not look at the bigger picture. Completing the fellowship and now working side-by-side with doctors helps me to remember to think outside the box about an injury, not just what the diagnosis is but also why this happened, what events/situations led to the injury.