Purpose: Core competencies (CCs) have been standard for all health care professions since 2001 but have only recently been integrated into professional-level education in athletic training. Currently, there is no research showing perceptions or frequency of use in various subgroups of athletic trainers based on experience. Method: We evaluated athletic trainer (AT) perceptions and frequency of use of CCs and perceived preparedness by professional-level education. A cross-sectional web-based survey was completed by 644 clinically practicing ATs. The survey included demographics (5 items), perceived use for CCs (22 items), perception of educational preparedness (6 items), and perceived frequency of use within patient encounters (PEs; 6 items). Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics were calculated for overall perception of importance and frequency of use in clinical practice. We conducted a one-way ANOVA to compare perceived preparedness for each of the CCs on years of experience (5 year intervals up to 25+). Results: ATs strongly agreed patient-centered care is important to their clinical practice (PCCGM=3.59±0.630, Mode=4) with frequent use in 85.0±21.8% of their PEs. Evidence-based practice had the lowest perceived importance (EBPGM=3.38±0.581, Mode=3), but is still frequently used (73.3±25.6%). ATs agreed interprofessional and collaborative practice is important (IPCPGM=3.42±0.683, Mode=3) but integration into practice was low (67.0±27.7%). Health care informatics is important (HITGM=3.21±0.657, Mode=3) and frequently used in PEs (70.8±28.9%). Participants strongly agreed quality improvement is important (QIGM=3.42±0.562, Mode=4); however, is the least often used (66.1±26.27%). ATs strongly agreed professionalism (PROF) is important (PROFGM=3.42±0.562, Mode=4) and frequently used in PEs (85.9±22.9%). We identified significant differences between years of experience intervals and educational program preparation to integrate the CCs into practice. ATS that more recently completed their professional education felt more prepared. Conclusions: ATs find CCs important in practice and ATs who have less than 10 years of experience largely believe their programs have adequately prepared them. More work needs to be done to create and deliver professional development to prepare ATs to integrate CCs into practice.

Author Bio(s)

Daniel C. Waterman, DAT, LAT, ATC, is a graduate of the Doctorate in Athletic Training Program at Indiana State University.

Cailee Welch Bacon, PhD, ATC Cailee Welch Bacon is an associate professor for the athletic training programs and a research associate professor for the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona at A.T. Still University.

Julie Cavallario, PhD, LAT, ATC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Old Dominion University. She is the Program Director for the Masters of Science in Athletic Training Program

Lindsey E. Eberman, PhD, LAT, ATC is a Professor and Program Director of the Doctor of Athletic Training Program at Indiana State University.


We would like to thank the Indiana State University Graduate Student Research Fund and the Maine Athletic Trainers' Association for helping to fund this research.





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