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Abstract

Purpose: Athletic training clinical education provides students with a variety of real-life patient encounters under the supervision of a credentialed athletic trainer. However, clinical education experiences may not allow for all students to practice more invasive or less common skills such as rectal thermometry. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) determine the effect of a series of low to high-fidelity simulated rectal thermometry experiences on athletic training students’ self-confidence scores; and 2) through a phenomenological qualitative approach, explore athletic training students’ perceptions following the simulated rectal thermometry experiences. Method: This study used a quasi-experimental, mixed methods, one-group repeated measures design. Participants were nine first year professional Master of Athletic Training students who completed four simulated experiences on the skill of rectal thermometry. The outcome measures were The Athletic Trainer’s Self-Confidence Scale (ATSCS) and qualitative semi-structured open-ended interviews. Results: Friedman’s ANOVA revealed a statistically significant improvement from the participant’s baseline ATSCS scores to the last post-test scores. We identified three major themes following qualitative interviews: 1) Perception changes before and after participation; 2) Benefits of a series of four simulations; 3) Explanations for the improvements in confidence and competence. Conclusions: A series of simulated learning activities using high-fidelity and standardized patient interactions can help improve athletic training students’ self-confidence. Though future research is needed, athletic training education programs should consider implementing simulated experiences to equip athletic training students to transition to practice.

Author Bio(s)

Hannah L. Stedge, MS, LAT, ATC, is an Instructor in the Department of Athletic Training in the Dumke College of Health Professions at Weber State University in Ogden, UT. She is also a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Utah.

Valerie W. Herzog, EdD, LAT, ATC, is Chair of the Department of Athletic Training in the Dumke College of Health Professions at Weber State University in Ogden, UT. She is also a licensed athletic trainer in the state of Utah.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Thomas Cappaert, PhD, ATC, CSCS for his consultation on the statistical analysis in this study.

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