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Student Handbook: Section III, Transition to Clinical Practice

Master of Athletic Training Program: 2023-2024


This handbook is created to inform the athletic training student (ATS) of policies and procedures of the Athletic Training Program (ATP) at Boise State University. The overall intent of this handbook is to ensure a quality educational experience for each student, and to ensure safe and efficient operation of all athletic training facilities. To achieve the goals of the educational program, each student must be familiar with the policies and procedures listed herein. If you feel that a particular policy needs to be reviewed, you should bring it to the attention of the Athletic Training Program Director. Policies and procedures can be changed, but not ignored.

The information in this handbook is not all-inclusive. This handbook should be used as a guide throughout your progression in the ATP. As needed, the handbook will change as policies and procedures are modified, added, or deleted. Any alterations to the handbook will be made available to all students, faculty, and preceptors.


Acquiring Athletic Training Knowledge and Skills

Knowledge and Skills (KS)

AT Knowledge and skills (KS) will be taught and assessed throughout the curriculum in specific academic courses organized by content areas. For example, the majority of the Education Competencies for Injury Evaluation and Therapeutic Interventions will be initially taught and assessed in MAT 505, 514, 523, 532, 543. These KS will be assessed in many different ways and may include written quizzes and examinations, presentations, research/term papers, various homework assignments, course projects, group assignments, etc.

KS are also taught and evaluated by the instructor in a classroom or laboratory setting. The instructor will assess each skill through a practical examination or other method of assessment. This assessment process is to evaluate the STUDENT’s aptitude to perform that skill as a NOVICE PRACTITIONER related to the practice of athletic training. Each skill will require a minimum score to be considered “completed”.

KS Completion

To initially “complete” a KS, each STUDENT will be required to physically demonstrate a required skill. A peer will formally assess each skill prior to final assessment by the course instructor (this may require outside of class time evaluation). For each assessment process, all subset skills (i.e. steps) for that skill should be performed accurately and in a professional manner. Each skill must be signed and dated by the peer on the day of completion. Following this initial assessment, the course instructor will assess the STUDENT’s performance on each skill during a practical examination or other method of skill assessment. If a skill is not properly performed or completed, the STUDENT may be required to complete an additional assessment by a “skill expert” (upper level peer) prior to requesting a second instructor assessment. For the instructor assessment the STUDENT must earn a score of ‘N’ or higher to be considered a NOVICE CLINICIAN and to have completed this step in the learning process. Failure to “complete” a skill may require additional remedial instruction for the STUDENT, which may include repeating a course.

Competency Rating Scale:

EEntry-Level ClinicianSuperiorClearly Outstanding-performed skill accurately in a professional manner
AApprentice ClinicianGoodAbove Average-performed skill but required minor verbal cueing.
NNovice ClinicianCompleteAverage-attempted skill but required some verbal and/or physical correction.

The rating is based on the expert judgment of the assessor (peer and instructor). An “N” (novice clinician/competent) score indicates that the STUDENT attempted the skill (initial evaluation) with minimal competence and general understanding of the procedure but required verbal and physical correction to accurately complete the skill. An “A” (apprentice clinician/good) score indicates that the STUDENT has demonstrated the skill above initial expectations, accurately, and safely without prompting, but may be uncertain requiring some verbal cueing. A STUDENT that completes a skill in a “professional manner” (i.e. appropriate amount of time, with efficiency and confidence, etc.) will receive an “E” (entry-level/superior) score for that competency (skill only). Completion of each skill assessment will be required for full credit.

Receiving a score of “N” on a skill simply means that the STUDENT has reached the minimum “aptitude” level required to perform that skill and has reached the NOVICE CLINICIAN (or higher) level for that skill. Once completed, the STUDENT is now permitted to perform that skill as part of patient care under the direct instruction and supervision of the PRECEPTOR as part of their clinical education. The PRECEPTOR will continue to evaluate the STUDENT’s performance both informally and formally including clinical education performance evaluations.

It is essential for the STUDENT, PRECEPTOR, and patient that the STUDENT DOES NOT perform a particular skill on a patient prior to being formally taught and assessed by the course instructor. However, it is under then PRECEPTOR’s discretion, in limited situations, to ask the STUDENT to perform a skill prior to formal instructor assessment. This circumstance will require the PRECEPTOR to provide direct instruction and supervision of the STUDENT regarding that skill. (Example: The preceptor instructs the student how to perform the skill, what precautions should be reported, and observes and assists as the student performs the skill).

Clinical Practice Skills

Clinical Practice Skills are evaluated as part of each clinical practice course in the semester following the classroom instruction and assessment of specific Education Competencies. Each clinical practice course (MAT 500, 510, 520, 530, 540, 550) is designed to provide the student with “authentic” clinical experiences to engage the student in utilizing the KS in the practice of athletic training. The clinical practice course will spend time preparing each student for the integration of these skills in patient care, which may include specific knowledge, and skills taught and assessed in other academic courses. This may be accomplished through mock scenarios including “paper patients” and “standardized/simulated patients” in an effort to continue student learning and clinician development by integrating these competencies as proficiency in direct patient care.

Clinical Practice Skill Completion

Throughout each clinical practice course and corresponding clinical education experience, the student should consistently incorporate and utilize skills, which they have already been formally evaluated on within the ATP, according to the student’s level in the program. To complete a clinical practice proficiency the student must complete a Clinical Practice Challenge (CPC) form for each proficiency group or domain related to each clinical practice course. CPC forms are specific to each clinical practice course in the curriculum.

The CPC Form is completed by the student as evidence of their involvement in a “real” clinical case. This form exists within ATrack and allows the student to provide the preceptor and/or instructor with evidence regarding their ability to complete the proficiency on a “real-life” patient. The form is to be completed as a SOAP Note Documentation (simulated medical document) insuring patient confidentiality, void of patient name and personal information. Finally, the preceptor is asked to rate the student’s overall performance on the proficiency as noted on the continuum from NOVICE to APPRENTICE to ENTRY-LEVEL CLINICIAN.

Proficiency Rating Scale:

Entry-LevelClearly outstanding, requiring no rehearsal, mirrors a professional response of a certified Athletic Trainer (accurate, timely, confident)
ApprenticeAbove average performance with no prompting, nearing entry-level but lacks one aspect of a professional response (accurate, timely, confident).
NoviceAs expected, performs accurately with minor verbal prompting, completes process but lacks more than one aspect of a professional response (accurate, timely, confident)

Finally, the preceptor should sign the CPC form. This form will serve as documentation of all skills the student has successfully completed. CPC forms will be completed and signed in ATrack.

Clinical Practice Process

The student should attempt to seek “authentic” patient exposures during their clinical education experiences. Under the direct supervision of their preceptor, each student should incorporate their knowledge and skills gained in the classroom into clinical practice. For this learning process to take place we encourage all preceptors to institute an “athletic training clinical practice teaching model” permitting students to engage in true “clinical practice” on “real-life” patients encountered during their clinical education.

The student should seek the following opportunities to complete each proficiency in a prioritized

  1. The student should seek the following opportunities to complete each proficiency in a prioritized manner: The student should demonstrate each proficiency (part or whole) on a “real-life” patient as part of clinical practice under the direct supervision of their preceptor. [initial (direct) patient contact]
  2. If this situation is NOT possible, the student should seek out an opportunity to perform the proficiency during a patient re-evaluation or follow-up situation. [re-evaluation patient contact]
  3.  Finally, if the previous opportunities do not present themselves, the student should conduct a “mock scenario” utilizing a “paper patient” or “standardized/simulated patient” coordinated by their preceptor. [simulated/mocked patient]

Transition to Clinical Practice Summary

BSU MAT Program

First Year (1Y)-AT Courses

Summer Semester:

  1. MAT 500 – Foundation of Clinical Practice in AT (Foundational behaviors of patient care: Evidence Based Practice, Disablement model / ICF, Patient Centered Care, HIPAA, FERPA).
  2. MAT 503 – Principles of AT
  3. MAT 505 – Fundamentals of
    Clinical Dx & Therapeutic

Fall Semester:

  1. MAT 510 – Clinical Practice in AT I (Prevention & Health Promotion, CP’s: Plan of Care, physical examination, diagnostics tests, treatment, management of medical emergencies).
  2. MAT 512- Therapeutic Interventions: Modalities
  3. MAT 514 – Dx & Therapeutic Interventions I: Lower Extremity.

Spring Semester:

  1. MAT 520 – Clinical Practice in AT II
    (Professional Advocacy and practice acts, CP’s: Lower extremity evaluation and injury treatment, therapeutic modalities).
  2. MAT 523 – Dx. & Therapeutic
    Interventions II: Upper Extremity.
  3. MAT 525- Research Methods.

Student Expectations – Novice Clinician

PreventionTaping, bracing, casting should be at least beginner level with general concepts and application.
Clinical Examination and DiagnosisStudents take evaluation course during each semester in the program -
skills should be at least basic with general concepts and application.
Therapeutic InterventionsStudent takes intervention (therapeutic exercise, etc.) during each
semester in program- skills should be at least basic with general concepts
and application. Therapeutic Modalities class taken in Fall semester.
Preceptor FocusTaping/bracing/orthotic construction review and practice, anatomy
review, heavily re-enforce evaluation and intervention class, daily AT facility management/organization, Supervised ATS autonomy with
consistent intervention progressing through the year.

Second Year (2Y)-AT Courses

Summer Semester

  1. MAT 530 – Clinical Practice in
    AT III (Prevention & Health Promotion) CP’s: Medical Conditions, Pharmacology).
  2. MAT 532 – Dx & Therapeutic Interventions III: General Medical & Pharmacology.
  3. MAT 534 – Advanced Nutrition & Exercise Prescription.
  4. MAT 536 – Administration in

Fall Semester

  1. MAT 540 – Clinical Practice in AT IV (Health Care compliance regulations,
    professional competence assessment) CP’s: Upper extremity evaluation and injury treatment.
  2. MAT 543 – Dx & Therapeutic
    Interventions IV: Head & Spine.
  3. MAT 545 – Behavioral Health in Physically Active Patient.

Spring Semester

  1. MAT 550 – Clinical Practice in AT V
    (Collaborative Health Care / IPE,
    Administration) CP’s: Head & Spine evaluation and Injury treatment, Psychosocial recognition and referral).
  2. MAT 552 – Current Evidence & Practice in Athletic Training.
  3. MAT 591 – Research Project MAT 598 – Seminar.

Student Expectations – Apprentice Clinician to Entry-Level Clinician

PreventionTaping, bracing, casting should be at least apprentice level. Application
of health promotion and wellness concepts.
Clinical Examination and DiagnosisStudent has average/good knowledge of appropriate tests for common
injuries and ability to apply skills.
Therapeutic InterventionsStudent have average/good knowledge of appropriate interventions (ther
ex and other modalities) and ability to apply skills.
Preceptor FocusAnatomy review, Injury eval/prevention/rehab review and application,
treatment plan development- Supervised autonomy and progressive
delegation of responsibility.