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Abstract

Purpose: Professional commitment is an individualized concept that combines commitment to a profession and the organization of employment. Currently there is no distinct definition of professional commitment within the context of athletic training. Therefore, the purpose of our study was to evaluate the impact of collegiate divisional setting on the definition of professional commitment. Methods: Online asynchronous interviews. Inclusion criteria consisted of full-time employment in the collegiate setting with at least 1 year of experience beyond a graduate assistantship. Thirty-three BOC certified ATs employed in the collegiate setting (Division I =11, Division II = 9, Division III = 13) volunteered with an average of 10 ± 8 years of clinical experience. Data saturation guided the total number of participants. Participants journaled their thoughts and experiences via QuestionPro™. Multiple analyst triangulation and peer review were included and data was analyzed utilizing general inductive analysis. Results: The importance of current practices emerged across all three settings. ATs in the Division I setting viewed commitment as advocating for their student athletes, providing the best care possible, and mentoring them as young adults. In the Division II setting, ATs were focused on life-long learning as a reflection of commitment. This was often accomplished by attending seminars, completing CEUs, and continually adding to their skill set in order to provide the best care for their student athletes. Division III focused their definition on being a multifaceted health care provider. Exceeding expectations and being a dedicated professional was an aspect of professional commitment. Conclusions: It is important to understand what keeps ATs motivated in the profession in order to enhance retention strategies. Overall, ATs’ professional commitment is derived from providing quality care to student-athletes, continuously advancing education within the profession, and being a multifaceted healthcare provider.

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