My favorite part of clinical experience so far is definitely the relationships I have been able to make. I have made some great relationships with my preceptors, and I believe that has influenced how comfortable I am in the clinical setting. Being comfortable with my preceptors has made it easier for me to learn and ask questions. Additionally, I have been able to make some really good friendships with the athletes that I am around on a weekly basis in clinical. This has made it easier for me to help treat them, and in relation it has made it easier on the athletes to be more comfortable and relaxed when I am treating them in the clinical setting. I believe that a good environment makes the AT clinic a much more effective place.
Outside of the AT world, these relationships are special to me because I love people and investing into them as much as possible. I believe that one of my main purposes here is to create relationships with others, so that makes this major perfect for what I enjoy. I have learned so much not only about athletic training, but also about communicating with others and putting myself in others' shoes. The clinical setting requires that the AT's and AT students try to understand what the athlete is experiencing, which is a skill that I will be able to translate into other areas of my life to better my communicating skills with others. Overall, I have enjoyed so much about clinical experience, but the people I am surrounded with is my favorite part.
My clinical question was inspired by my love for kids. I eventually want to be working with kids full time, so it was easy to begin thinking about how sports influenced youth and their health. By investigating whether or not early sports specialization increases the risk of injury, we can begin to think about how to prevent injuries if the data leads to yes, and if not we can begin looking to other mechanisms of injuries. Additionally, where I am from it is not common to specialize in one sport; most of the same kids play the majority or a combination of all the sports that are offered at the schools. Therefore, sports specialization is not something that I am familiar with, and by doing research on this topic I am furthering my knowledge on how sports specialization effects our bodies.
My team and I chose Kris, Brianne, and Coach Bullock to be a part of our investigation committee. We chose Kris because Kris is excellent at explaining and teaching. When working with Kris, he always takes his time in explaining what is going on with a patient and how it can be best treated. Our group chose Brianne because we know that research seems to be one of her things. We often hear her talk about research and what she's been reading on recently. We believe that she will be an excellent asset for us because of her eagerness to help others and her experience in research. Lastly, our group decided to ask Coach Bullock to be a part of our team because he is never hesitates to offer what he knows. Bullock is eager to answer any question that I have ever asked, and always searches for an answer if he does not know it. Bullock is always reading strength and conditioning journals; therefore, he is familiar with what is in the current literature for his field. I am eager to find out if sports specialization has a long term effect on athletes bodies. I want to learn whether or not it would be beneficial to change that way that athlete's practice to better train their bodies for long-term competition or if "muscle memory" and repetitive training is the best way to compete.
Being back with my primary preceptor feels awesome because I have made it through all of my fall rotations. Returning back to Melissa feels very comfortable because it was with her that I first began learning about clinical experience. At first, I thought that being with football for my first clinical rotation was a bad thing because of the things I had heard, but now I am thankful that I had it in the beginning. Now I realize that I learned a lot about clinical in a short amount of time by being with football first. I am especially thankful for it at this point in the semester because football is not a new experience for me to have to learn so much about as my classes begin to get more difficult. When I began clinical with football, I was timid about what I was doing because I knew that I did not know much about clinical experience. However, after making my way through all of the fall sports and learning along the way, I am much more confident in what I am supposed to know. I feel like my taping has gotten much better, along with my attention to detail. I have been working a lot on analyzing gait during and outside of clinical experience, something that I had no clue how to do at the beginning of clinical. Overall, I am happy to be back with my primary preceptor to continue learning as best I can.
The most challenging class that I have had so far is probably Lower because of the amount of information that I am responsible for learning. Usually I have a fairly decent time learning material that I find interesting; however, this class has posed more of a challenge. Additionally, I think sometimes it creates stress while studying when I think about how this information will impact how I interact with and help others. Despite this stress and the amount of information, I have tried to create ways to make learning the material more fun. I go over the information out loud with friends whenever I have free time. I go through simulated evaluations and practice palpations as much as possible. I have also started to rewrite my notes as a review of the material on the PowerPoints. Also, I have started to look through my old anatomy book and review origin and insertion, which gives me more of a peace of mind when thinking about the class and studying the material. Since I have started these study habits, I feel much more secure in the class. I believe that as the class goes on, I will continue to find more effective ways to study and how I need to practice the information to be successful in the class.
What I have learned in Modalities definitely parallels with what goes on during clinical. Stim is one of the most popular treatments used during clinical, and it was something that I never really understood, while helping administer it or having it done on myself. It was such an eye-opener to finally understand the process of stim and how it helps the body. Additionally, the first thing we learned about in Modalities was the inflammatory process; something I had been watching occur for weeks without having a name to put with it. I would cover turf burn, blisters, cuts and scrapes, etc. every day for individuals from the beginning of the injury until it was almost completely healed. I have seen practically ever stage of the inflammatory process since the beginning of pre-season without having any clue of how complex the process was. After learning about it in class, I can say that I have a much better grip on how the healing process works, which will better the care that I administer to others presently and in the future. Lastly, I was one of many who had the misconception that ice could help with inflammation; I now understand that ice is solely used for pain management. We have been told from the beginning that if we do something for an athlete/patient, we should be able to explain to them why we are doing it. Modalities has been extremely beneficial to me in this area of the major. I am much more confident in what I do in clinical and why I am doing it. I love how my understanding of the body and how it functions has grown in just a short month.