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Student Handbook: Section IV, Clinical Education

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.


Clinical Education Overview

Clinical Education Overview

The clinical education component of the ATP at BSU involves 6 semesters in which the athletic training students are actively involved with and supervised by certified athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals at BSU, local high schools, sports medicine clinics, general medical facilities, and minor league professional sports teams. During this time, the ATS will acquire a minimum of 45-135 hours per semester, in conjunction with each Athletic Training Clinical Practice course. Some clinical rotations will require afternoon, evening, and weekend commitments. In addition, students may be invited for clinical education prior to or following the academic calendar (i.e. pre-season and post-season). These clinical experiences will provide each student with exposure to both men’s and women’s collegiate Division I and high school teams, as well as experience with upper and lower extremity dominant sports, non-contact and collision sports. Athletic training students will also complete a rehabilitation/sports medicine clinic and general medical/University Health Services clinical rotation and have the opportunity to observe surgical procedures. While working closely with certified athletic trainers, other healthcare professionals, students will gain valuable interpersonal skills. The purpose of the clinical education component at BSU is to provide a broad spectrum of experiences that will ensure the student is well prepared to enter the field of athletic training.

General Guidelines for Clinical Education

1. Students must be pre-registered and enrolled for the appropriate Clinical Practice in Athletic Training course (MAT 500, 510, 520, 530, 540, and 550).

2. Students must demonstrate completion and maintain the following:

  • a. Proof CPR certification as Professional Rescuer (annual, as required)
  • b. Signed Blood Borne Pathogen training (annual)
  • c. Signed understanding of Communicable Disease Policy (annual)
  • d. Signed Program Technical Standards document (upon admission)
  • e. Clean criminal background check (upon admission)
  • f. Proof of required immunizations (upon admission)
  • g. Proof of personal health insurance (upon request)
    (All results and information pertaining to the above information will be kept in secured electronic student files within the Graduate College and Athletic Training Program Director’s office and must be verified before beginning the initial clinical experience.)

3. Students, in conjunction with their preceptor must sign and complete a Clinical Experience Contract for each clinical rotation and return it to the Coordinator of Clinical Education.

4. Students are required to follow the policies and procedures of the BSU – ATP Handbook.

5. Students are also required to follow stated policies and procedures specific to each clinical site and rotation. This includes but limited to:

  • a. Student is punctual in reporting for daily assignments.
  • b. Student meets time requirements for clinical assignment.
  • c. Student dresses appropriate for each clinical rotation including polices for:
  • a. BSU clinical sites
  • b. Off-campus clinical sites
  • d. Student follows directions.
  • e. Student follows policies and procedures of the clinical setting.
  • f. Student displays effective communication with preceptor.
  • g. Student demonstrates a positive attitude.

6. Students must continually work to become proficient in their clinical skills. Clinical competency and proficiency as well as athletic training student performance will be evaluated on a regular basis. Students will be provided with copies of all evaluations and will discuss these evaluations with their supervisors to clarify areas that need improvement. The preceptors will be evaluated by students at the conclusion of the clinical experience to provide feedback on useful behaviors as well as behaviors that are not useful.

Specific guidelines for the completion of required clinical competencies/skills will be distributed and discussed in each Athletic Training Clinical Practice course. All required competencies and skills must be completed before progressing to the next level of the clinical education sequence..

Clinical Practice Coursework

During the Athletic Training Program, students will be required to take a Clinical Practice in Athletic Training course (MAT 500, 510, 520, 530, 540, and 550). As part of each course requirement students will be required to complete several items for grade in the course. Students must earn a passing grade to complete the course.

General Course Requirements (for further explanation, see below).

1. Clinical Practice Skills

  • a. Complete Clinical Practice Proficiency form – i.e. Orange Form per course
  • i. Direct patient care (clinical rotation)
  • ii. Simulated or mock patient
  • iii. Paper patient

2. Clinical Experience/Rotation (under the direct supervision of a preceptor)

  • a. Complete Clinical Experience Contract per rotation
  • b. Complete Minimum Clinical Hours
  • i. Minimum of 45 for MAT 500 and 530
  • ii. Minimum of 135 for MAT 510, 520, 540, 550 (see hours policy) – ATrack
  • iii. Pre and Post clinical rotation times

3. Clinical Journals or Reflection Papers

  • a. Journals are linked to each CPC

4. Clinical Evaluations

  • a. Clinical Experience Contract
  • b. Student Performance Evaluation End-of-Rotation – ATrack (completed by preceptor)
  • c. Preceptor and Clinical Site Evaluation – ATrack (completed by student)

5. Professional Development (e.g. conference/workshop attendance, presentations, surgical
viewing, etc.)

6. Other (i.e. BOC exam preparation etc.)

Clinical Experience Contract

At the beginning of each clinical rotation (semester) as part of the Clinical Instruction in Athletic Training course, the student is required to complete and sign a Clinical Experience Contract (ATrack). This contract explains clinical rotation dates, supervision and hour policies, core learning objective, and other clinical rotation requirements. In addition, the student is required to establish clinical education goals and learning objectives with their preceptor at the beginning of the clinical rotation. These goals should include reviewing previous education knowledge and skills (KA’s) and clinical skills (i.e. skills, CPC) but should also focus on current Clinical Practice course objectives and current clinical skills.

Clinical Rotations

First year clinical placements will be predetermined prior to students arriving on campus. The clinical rotation guiding principles below explain how the clinical experience requirements are met for each student. Clinical rotations begin the first day of summer term and continue throughout the academic year. There are a number of clinical experiences required for completion of the MAT program and eligibility to sit for the BOC exam. The Coordinator of Clinical Education attempts to assign “must have” experiences (high school/outreach, male/ female sports, equipment intensive, upper/lower extremity intensive) during the first-year clinical rotations.

Please do not request specific changes to clinical rotation placements during year one. Rotation placement choices are reserved for second year students. This design enables students to self-select clinical placements for second year rotations, based on individual interest and career goals. All second-year students are required to interview for each clinical rotation they choose. Prior to interviewing for second year rotations, each student will provide their prospective preceptor a resume and cover letter explaining why the rotation is of particular interest for the student. Preceptors maintain discretion regarding student selection for the clinical rotations.

Guiding Principles:
  • All students complete a 2-year clinical component (2x: summer, fall, spring).
  • All students complete 1, general medical summer rotation with a variety of health care providers.
  • All students complete 1, 7-week rehabilitation/physician practice clinic rotation with a variety of health care providers.
  • All students complete at least 1, 8-week rotation at the high school or athletic training outreach (e.g. youth sports) that allows them to engage in patient care with 5-18-year olds.
  • All students complete a football clinical experience (fall or spring) at either
    the collegiate or the high school level.
  • Students see both male and female patients across the 3-year clinical component.
  • Students will see patients from 5-72+ years of age.
  • Students will have at least 1 equipment intensive sport (football, hockey, lacrosse)
  • Students have an opportunity to work with professional hockey.
  • Students have an opportunity to work with BSU club sports including rugby, hockey, and lacrosse
  • Students engaged with MD, DO, PA, NP, Nurses, PT, Exercise Physiologist, Biomechanist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and RD.
1Y Clinical Rotation Planning
  • Summer: 2-3 week rotations
  • Fall: 2, 8-week rotations (may be combined)
  • Spring: 2, 8-week rotations (may be combined)
2Y Clinical Rotation Planning
  • Summer: 7-week split rotation (general medical, rehabilitation/physician practice)
  • Fall: 2, 8-week rotations (maybe combined)
  • Spring: 2, 8-week rotations (maybe combined)
  • 1 immersive clinical experience

Clinical Supervision Policy

Direct supervision of athletic training students on campus and off campus by preceptor must be strictly enforced. Students are assigned to a preceptor for their clinical rotations on and off campus. Each preceptor is responsible for each assigned athletic training student. The preceptor must be physically present and able to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student and the patient during his or her clinical education experience. Athletic training students, preceptors, coaches, and the athletic director are instructed that it is unlawful for an athletic training student to practice the duties of a certified athletic trainer unless properly supervised.

Athletic training students must master clinical competencies and progress properly through the Athletic Training Program in order to perform athletic training clinical skills under the supervision of a preceptor. Students may not utilize clinical skills or techniques until they have been proven competent to perform the tasks. Students will be formally instructed in the educational competencies, followed by evaluation of their level of competence on individual clinical skills/ tasks. Successful evaluation of a clinical skill/task (competency) must be complete before an athletic training student can perform the skill on a patient/athlete in the clinical setting. Preceptors will be provided “clinical skills lists” for each Clinical Instruction level, which describe the clinical skills a student at that level has been formally instructed and evaluated on. Athletic training students must refrain from performing any clinical skill they have not been instructed AND evaluated on in the clinical setting (on a patient/ athlete).

The supervising preceptor must be on site at all times to ensure constant student to instructor interaction. As stated in the CAATE Standards, the “Preceptor must be physically present and have the ability to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student to provide on-going and consistent education.” Preceptors should be consistently engaged with the student(s) to promote a quality learning environment and positive clinical experience. At no time during the clinical education experience shall students be used as replacements for regular clinical staff. Under no circumstance should an athletic training student travel with a team without proper supervision.

In an event that direct supervision is not maintained for any period of time, the student is no longer permitted to function as an “athletic training student” as defined by the ATP Handbook. If a student chooses to remain in an unsupervised situation and takes action regarding an emergency situation, they do so as a “volunteer” or “Good Samaritan” according to their certification from the American Red Cross (or other association) as a Professional Rescuer/Health Care Provider and not as an “athletic training student” engaged in formal clinical education as part of the ATP at BSU. (This practice is not endorsed by the BSU ATP). 

Clinical Hours Requirement & Workload Policy

Clinical hours should be completed in accordance with BOC, CAATE, and The Idaho State Board of Education guidelines. A minimum of 45 clock-hours per academic credit hour of clinical experience is the standard for each practicum (clinical instruction course). This only reflects the minimum hours for completion of the clinical course, expected (average) and maximum clinical hours are addressed below.

Minimum Clinical Hours (for course credit)
  • Students will complete a minimum of 45 clock hours for MAT 500, 530 (each semester).
  • Students will complete a minimum of 135 clock hours for MAT 510, 520, 530, 540, 550 (each semester).
  •  Students must be allowed 1 day off every 7 days.
Expected Clinical Hours

Students should seek to maximize their clinical experience focusing on the adequate time to gain
valuable direct patient contacts.

  • Summer 1: First year students should expect to earn between 60-80 clock hours
    (academic clinical hours).
  • Fall 1: First year students should expect to earn between 135-150 clock hours (academic clinical hours).
  • Spring 1: First year students should expect to earn between 135-150 clock hours
    (academic clinical hours).
  • Summer 2: Second year students should expect to earn between 60-80 clock hours
    (academic clinical hours).
  • Fall 2: Second year students should expect to earn between 135-200 clock hours
    (academic clinical hours).
  • Spring 2: Second year students should expect to earn between 135-200+ clock hours(academic clinical hours and clinical immersion experience).
Maximum Clinical Hours
  • Students should NOT exceed an average of 20 clock hours a week during the 8-week clinical rotation (academic clinical hours).
  • Students should NOT exceed an average of 48 clock hours a week outside the 8-week clinical rotation (non-academic clinical hours or during clinical immersion rotation).

The demands of the field of athletic training are such that the hours spent during clinical education are long and varied, with the opportunity to learn arising at unpredictable times. For effective and complete clinical education, BSU-ATP students should make every effort to be available to spend additional time in the clinical setting in order to better the opportunity to gain information from preceptors. Failure to earn the minimum hours in a given semester will result in the student being placed on clinical probation. A student on clinical probation who fails to earn the minimum hours during the next semester may be formally dismissed from the BSU-ATP.

St. Luke's/Saint Alphonsus Clinical Rotations

Clinical Rotations and/or Surgical Viewing

All ATSs shall complete an on-boarding process and pass a medical screening (see below) prior to their participation. BSU will be responsible for obtaining and maintaining the health records for each ATS.

St. Luke’s requires all students to enroll in the My Clinical Exchange tracking system for clinical rotations. This system has specific requirements and has an associated cost of approximately $30 to activate the subscription. More information regarding St. Luke’s clinical experiences may be found here.

Provided Copies of Health Records Listed Below:
  • Proof of Health Insurance (not required by BSU, but may be required by the hospital system)
  • Proof of negative Tuberculin skin test within the past 12 months (2 within year for Saint Alphonsus)
  • Proof of immunization including Hepatitis B
  •  Cleared Background Check through Castlebranch- (Within 150 days for Saint Alphonsus)
  • Require flu vaccination (yearly)

(See Coordinator of Clinical Education for application materials)

Clinical rotation requirements with St Lukes and St Alphonsus are subject to change in accordance with current Clinical Affiliation Agreements between the University-College of Health Sciences and clinical site.

Absence from the Clinical Setting

Absence from the clinical setting and one’s responsibilities is discouraged. If a situation arises where a student cannot attend an activity involved with the clinical education experience to which they are assigned, they should contact the preceptor and make them aware of the situation immediately. Athletic training students are expected to be available for all aspects of their clinical education assignment.

Outside Employment

Outside employment combined with the academic and clinical education responsibilities of the ATP will be very difficult. The ATP requires many hours in the classroom as well as the clinical setting. Students may find outside employment, but it must not interfere with his/her assigned clinical responsibilities. While the faculty and staff of the ATP understand the need for students to have part-time employment to assist in financing their education, the student will not be released from clinical education experiences and must meet all requirements of the program as a primary commitment.

In addition, ATS should NOT seek paid employment in any fashion that represents the duties of a Certified/Licensed Athletic Trainer or any related terminology as defined by the Role Delineation Study published by the BOC Inc. or state licensure definitions. This includes the role of an athletic training student, student athletic trainer, athletic training aide, or any variation of these terms. In addition, students are not allowed to receive payment for their clinical education hours. This is in ethical conflict with “true” educational practice and employment for certified athletic trainers.

Transportation to Clinical Sites

Athletic training students are responsible for their own transportation to and from their clinical education assignments. This includes current driver’s license and insurance that complies with State Law. On-campus sites are generally within walking distance however, off-campus sites will require you to arrange your own transportation. Students are responsible for all cost associated with travel to and from their clinical site.

Clinical Site Injury-Worker's Compensation

Boise State University Worker’s Compensation Policy

If the student is injured at the clinical site during required clinical education hours, the student should immediately seek medical assistance, if not life threatening, the student should notify both the site-supervisor/preceptor and program administrator (director or clinical education coordinator) of the situation.

If the injury is life or limb threatening, call 911. The employee (student) should be sent directly by ambulance to the nearest emergency room for immediate medical attention. [if on campus: also contact University Security at 426-6911 to let them know emergency personnel are on their way to transport the injured employee.]

If the injury is non-life threatening but still requires medical attention, the employee (AT student) should be transported to University Health Services. If a University vehicle is not readily available, then the employee (AT student should be transported by personal automobile to University Health Services. If assistance is needed, please contact University Security at 426-6911.

In both cases, injured employee needs to notify their emergency contact to let them know they have been injured in an accident.

If the injury is not life or limb threatening, the employee should:

  • Notify your supervisor immediately.
  • Seek medical treatment as necessary and as soon as possible

Boise State University’s Worker’s Compensation Preferred Medical Service Provider is University Health Services (UHS). Employees with worker’s compensation injuries/illnesses should go to University Health Services for medical treatment. If UHS is closed please go to a St. Luke’s urgent / emergency facility.

Communicable Disease Policy

Boise State University athletic training program students may not participate in their clinical experiences during the time they are affected by a communicable disease and shall not return to clinical participation until cleared by a physician or other medical provider.

In the case that an athletic training student becomes ill, he/she must report to the Boise State UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICES (UHS) center, or to another medical practitioner, for evaluation. Upon evaluation, the medical practitioner will determine the appropriate intervention needed and the amount of time the student shall remain out of contact with others to prevent transmission. If the athletic training student acquires a communicable disease, the student will notify their preceptor as soon as possible. The student will not be permitted to return to their clinical experience until he/she has been re-evaluated and cleared by a medical practitioner.

The UHS is required to report to the Idaho Department of Health the names of students who have certain communicable diseases. Students that contract a communicable disease are required to obey prescribed guidelines by his/her attending physician and the recommendations of the University affiliated physicians at UHS center. While a complete list of communicable diseases is not provided, the UHS center advises all students to seek medical attention for any illness or disorder that could potentially be communicable in nature. The athletic training student must report to the UHS center or another medical practitioner if one of the following diseases is suspected:

  • Chickenpox
  •  Conjunctivitis
  • COVID-19
  • Diarrhea – Infectious Disease
  • Diphtheria
  • Group A Streptococcal
  • Hepatitis A, B, or C
  • Herpes Simplex
  • HIV
  •  Impetigo
  • Influenza
  • Lice (Pediculosis)
  • MERS
  •  Measles (Rubeola)
  • Mumps
  • Meningitis
  • Pertussis
  • Rabies
  •  Rubella
  • SARS
  •  Scabies

Students are required to sign a “Statement of Understanding” document regarding the Communicable Disease Statement on an annual basis.

Covid-19 PPE Procedures

The BSU Athletic Training Staff is utilizing the following protocols for donning and doffing PPE when working with COVID 19 patients. Each student must review the handout linked below prior to reporting to on-campus clinical rotations.

COVID-19 Handout Link

CPR RE-Training

The BSU Athletic Training Staff is utilizing the following protocols for donning and doffing PPE when working with COVID 19 patients. Each student must review the handout linked below as well as the two linked videos prior to reporting to on-campus clinical rotations.

COVID-19 Handout Link

Blood-Borne Pathogen and Exposure Control

*Updated 01/10/2018)

Boise State University is committed to minimizing individuals’ potential occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens (BBP) with engineering controls, administrative controls and as necessary, personal protective equipment (PPE). Bodily fluids will be referred to in this plan as OPIM, Other Potentially Infectious Materials. The Exposure Control Plan is written to eliminate or minimize exposure for all employees (including AT students) who may have the potential for occupational exposure to BBP. The plan complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding blood-borne pathogens.

Students in the Athletic Training Program must review and follow the Boise State University Blood-borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan. 

BBP and Exposure Control Procedures
Post Exposure Evaluation and Care

Boise State UHS provides evaluation and care. Payment for these appointments and a post exposure prophylaxis if medically indicated will be the responsibility of Boise State University. Boise State University shall obtain and provide the employee (AT student) with a copy of the evaluating health care professional’s written opinion within fifteen (15) days of the completion of the evaluation.

Substance Abuse Policy

The use of illicit and/or illegal substances is grounds for immediate dismissal from the Athletic Training Program. All students are expected to comply with the substance use/abuse policies as outlined in the Boise State University and Athletic Department Policies and Procedures. Students taking any substance: illegal, legal, or medically prescribed, that has the potential to impair judgment, alertness, mental status, physical capacities, or otherwise reduce professional performance, should report this use to the athletic training program director and the student’s preceptor immediately. This will assist the staff in ensuring a safe environment for the athletes and clients receiving services at all of the clinical education sites.