Purpose: Continuing education for the practicing clinician typically involves reading peer-reviewed journals and attending professional conferences. These mechanisms do not allow for practice and real-time evaluation of healthcare skills. Simulation-based learning has been widely used in professional education yet is not common in the continued development of the clinician in their lifespan. Method: We used a cross-sectional, repeated measures pilot study. The participants included 11 athletic trainers (age=40±14 years; certified experience=17±14 years) that engaged in a multi-modal continuing professional development session that included a lecture, large-scale simulated learning experience, and debriefing session at a healthcare conference. The outcome measures included 1) a 6-item effectiveness tool to assess the overall program, 2) pre, post, and 6-month follow-up knowledge assessments, and 3) a 6-month follow-up qualitative viewpoint statement. Results: The participants rated the program as effective and useful. On the knowledge assessment, the participants scored an average of 74% on the pre-test and 87% on the post-test with an average change score of a 20.5% increase following the educational session. We identified a significant improvement (P=0.002) in the participants from pre-test to post-test, however a decay in the knowledge improvements from post-test to follow-up at six months (P=0.188) was noted. Conclusion: A multi-modal educational intervention was effective at improving knowledge immediately following the session. This study offers promise that continuing education through simulation may improve knowledge acquisition while serving as a catalyst for clinical practice behavior change.

Author Bio(s)

Zachary K. Winkelmann, PhD, SCAT, ATC, is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Arnold School of Public Health at University of South Carolina. He is also the Clinical Education Coordinator for the Post-Professional Athletic Training Program at University of South Carolina.

Elizabeth R. Neil, PhD, AT, ATC, is a Teaching Professor and Clinical Education Coordinator in the Sport Studies Department at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH.

Kenneth E. Games, PhD, LAT, ATC is an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education for the Doctor of Athletic Training Program in the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation at Indiana State University.

Stacy E. Walker, PhD, ATC, FNATA is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She is a Fellow from the National Athletic Trainers' Association and expert in simulation-based learning.

Lindsey E. Eberman, PhD, LAT, ATC is a Professor and Program Director for the Doctor of Athletic Training Program in the Department of Applied Medicine and Rehabilitation at Indiana State University. She is a certified and licensed athletic trainer.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Cameron J. Powden (University of Indianapolis) for his assistance in the project, as well as the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers Association for hosting the simulated-learning experience.



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