As of right now, I know that I eventually want to pursue physician assistant studies. I feel like that field is something that the Lord has definitely called me to, and I am always interested in general medicine, so I feel confidently about pursuing this field. I can also get involved with medical missions, which would be a dream for me to be able to do. Originally, I wanted to be a pediatric physical therapist, but that quickly changed when I did my rotation in the physical therapy clinic last Fall. I am so grateful that I was placed there despite it not being my favorite rotation because it made me realize that PT was not what I wanted to study. I had a hard time with staying excited and eager to learn in the physical therapy, my interest was just not spiked in that setting. I was comparing my PT experience with my rotation in the emergency room when I was a sophomore, and it was completely different. Even though I was at the ER until 2:00 AM, I stayed continually intrigued by everything that was going on and still remember that rotation today. Additionally, I shadowed a PT the summer before my junior year, and I feel like I learned so much information in such a short period of time. The majority of that information I can still recall because I was just so genuinely interested in what was going on. I can’t imagine how excited I would be to shadow in a specialty that I am leaning towards, such as cardiology or pediatrics. I am taking the first steps in making connections with PAs right now to look into some more shadowing experience in different fields.
When I graduate, there are few PA programs that I could get accepted into because I am missing two classes that are required for the majority of programs. I am looking into what schools offer these classes over the summer so that I can get them out of the way and focus on applying to schools. I have also invested into a study manual for the GRE to ensure that I am preparing properly to get an adequate score for the PA programs that I am interested in. Lastly, because I am getting married next year and don’t know where my fiance and I will be located geographically, I am researching programs all across the U.S. to prepare for any place that we could land.
Going into my senior ATS year, my strengths and weaknesses have become something that I ponder often. I believe that partially comes from the prompting of my preceptors and many of my professors, but it also may come from a desire to be more introspective as I get older and gain maturity. Many of my flaws have been revealed through introspection, which usually results in me trying to grow and work through those shortcomings both by myself and with the help of others. I believe that my communication and relational skills with the athletes has consistently been one of my strengths. It is so easy for me to create relationships with the athletes that are definitely friendships, but also hold the adequate amount of professionalism in the clinic. For the majority of the time, there is a mutual respect that is between the athletes and me while in the clinic; they respect me and my knowledge, and I respect their privacy, preferences, and modesty. Another strength that I have this year compared to years past is the motivation to stay busy in the clinic. I want to be the first person to offer my help as an athlete walks through the door, I want to be the person who runs out on the field, and I want to be the first one to join in on cleaning the coolers or stocking the shelves in the clinic. As mentioned in my previous journal, I believe this is largely due to the leadership that I am under. I feel that this fact can highlight how good leadership can pull out others’ strengths, and I hope to be a leader like that in the leadership roles I am in now and in the one’s I will be given in the future.
On the other hand, I am struggling this year with being confident in my rehabilitation choices. I have always struggled with rehabilitation progressions, and it is quickly becoming real to me that it is time to buckle down and start growing in this area. I recognize how important it is to be able to plan a successful rehabilitation that will create buy in from the athletes, but also ensure that they are getting better. I was thinking today while running a rehabilitation for a football player with a sprained ankle that there could potentially be a problem with creating rehabs because I struggle with creativity. I have a desire to be innovative and offer exciting, new exercises to rehab patients, but I find it very difficult. To improve this weakness, I plan on pushing the borders of creativity and trying to grow my confidence in what I can create.
This pre-season has been substantially different than the past two pre-seasons that I have been through. When I first got into the program, I was very timid and unsure of myself, but I learned so much. The second year, I dreaded it to be honest. I was at a point in my education where I knew that athletic training was not what I wanted to pursue in graduate school, the physical therapy clinic where I was placed was not one I found very exciting, and my enthusiasm for the field was completed drained. This pre-season, however, has been the complete opposite. I always found myself dreading working with football, but I am loving being with this team. I feel like I am eager to be in the clinic and on the field again, excited about game days, and ready to grow in my knowledge. I think a major contributor for feeling this way is who I am surrounded by and even the athletes. When in the clinic now, I feel like I have freedom to ask as many questions as I need to without the fear of feeling inadequate. My preceptors encourage me and offer me guidance when it is needed all while being so easy to communicate with. This pre-season has taught me a lot about leadership and how those skills can make a difference in whatever setting I am in. Watching the leadership of my current preceptors makes me want to be a better athletic training student alongside the desire to be a better leader in the current leadership positions I am in. There is something to say about gaining experience, whether it be work experience or clinical experience, under leadership that supports you and you truly enjoy being around.
What has continued to still be a hindrance for me is the rehabilitation aspect of athletic training. This will be an area of AT that I will have to consistently be reviewing and growing in regardless of whether my current classes demand it. I feel as if this is the area where I struggle the most because it is the least interesting to me. I am fascinated by emergency care, evaluating, diagnosing, and treatment for acute issues, but chronic issues that call for in depth rehab is where my interest begins to drop. I take that fact as a prompting to lean into this topic to get better. Lastly, I feel like my growth as an AT student has made me understand that communication with my preceptors is key to having the best interactions with them. My growth as an AT student has also shown me that the psychological aspect of dealing with athletes is just as important as their physical state. If I respond the same to an athlete’s turf toe as I do with an athlete’s tib-fib fracture, the turf toe can suddenly become much more painful. I’ve found that it is best to approach each injury with a calming, relaxed demeanor.
This week, I was gaining clinical experience at a softball game. We were relocated to the field at Abingdon High School because the game was later in the evening and lights were going to be needed to finish the game. We were about half way through the first game of the double header, and there was an opportunity for a double play. An ball was hit to an infielder, the infielder threw through the ball to the third baseman, and then the third baseman made a throw to first. The throw to first base soared over the first baseman’s head because the third baseman experienced an injury at the end of the throw. The runner from second took a late slide into third base, slid up over the base, and took out the third baseman’s ankle. The player hit the ground and started rolling because of the pain. Melissa and I ran onto the field and saw that there was an obvious deformity of her ankle. Part of her ankle popped back into place on its own, but the ankle was still extremely displaced. Her foot looked as if it was dangling from the rest of her leg. I ran back to the dugout, grabbed melissa’s kit, and starting pulling out supplies to begin splinting the ankle. It was obvious that her ankle was at the least dislocated, but also a possible break. The ankle and lower leg were stabilized while the SAM splint was applied. I wrapped the ace wrap around the SAM splint to secure the splint, and then we lowered her leg and waited for EMS to arrive.
The x-ray from the hospital showed that her fibula was broken along with her medial malleolus. Up until this point, the most serious injury that I had seen during clinical was an ACL tear. This experience truly drove home how a calm disposition during emergency situations is crucial for the athlete and the mental processes for the clinician. After I saw her ankle, I had just a moment where I wanted to freak out, but instincts quickly set in. I knew that it was important to stay calm so that I could think clearly and keep the patient calm.
This week, I received approximately 25 masteries. I did multiple scenarios with my preceptors, and also was able to receive mastery from therapeutic interventions that I performed in the clinic
I do believe that my communication skills have gotten better this semester! Not only do I feel like they have improved with the team that I am placed with, but I feel that they have improved with all of the athletes that are in the clinic. I have been able to create much deeper relationships, especially with the softball team, through clinical experience. One example of this is a softball player who I somewhat knew prior to being placed with the softball team. I used to have classes with this player, but we have not had one together for about a year. This player has recently went through a traumatic death in her family, and she has been struggling with healing from that loss. She was never hesitant about mentioning the death to me, but she has opened up even more since I have been placed with her team. We have had quite a few conversation about this person in her life, and she has been able to open up to me about how she has been feeling, which included confusion, shock, guilt, responsibility for the death, but also happiness because she knows her loved in is in a better place. This was a big turning point in athletic training for me personally. I have often thought about being able to be a person that an athlete could turn to for issues that aren’t always physical, but I have never been able to practice it to this extent. The athlete admitted to me that she enjoys talking about her loved one, but sometimes feels as if she can’t talk about the loss to friends because she’s does not want pity. She also feels as if she can’t express her feelings to other family members because they do not want to speak of the event. It brought my understanding of the weight of this profession to a new level.
Additionally, I feel that I was able to improve my communication skills with my supervising preceptor. My schedule for tennis has been extremely sporadic, and it has caused changes to occur often in my availability for clinical experience. I have had to continually communicate about these changes, and also have discussed other opportunities outside of practices to receive clinical hours. Even though the cause of this increase in communication wasn’t ideal, it was beneficial in the grand scheme of things.
This week, I was able to finish my attempts in my packet.
I think for this journal I will start with the more negative and end on the positive. My biggest weakness in regards to my major is probably my lack of passion for the major. When I first began the major, I was very eager to be involved, and my passion was through the roof. However, as my desire for different career paths have increased, my passion for athletic training has decreased. I still very much enjoy the material that we learn, but being in the clinic has become more of a perceived responsibility than a potential learning experience even though I am still learning while I’m in the clinic. I am unsure about how to change this perception that has weaved it’s way into my academic life. I would love to still have the same passion that I had when I began in the program, and i do still enjoy helping the athletes, but I feel like I am at a standstill. Another weakness that has made its way into my life this semester was my inability to plan efficiently. My planner has slowly made its way out of the picture when it should have been becoming more important. Through this, I have missed important meetings or forgotten about other assignments or studying. This is solely a lack of discipline that I take responsibility for. To fix this, I just need to be more intentional about planning, whether it be through my planner or another resource like Google Calendar. I believe that I have mentioned this weakness before, but I believe I have a weakness in rehab progress. I can continue to improve in this domain by practicing with real rehabs, speaking with preceptors, and studying example protocols.
On the other hand, I believe that one of my strengths is interpersonal skills. I love making new relationships and getting on the same level as others. I feel like I can easily relate with most other people, which I find helpful during treatments with those who I do not know very well. Additionally, I feel like strength and conditioning aspects of athletic training is a strength for me (no pun intended). I have always been very interested in strength and conditioning, and I have a fairly strong background in regards to proper form for exercises. I can continue to get better by playing into my strengths and continuing to pursue knowledge in those areas.
This week, I received attempts from Beth’s PBL, and received attempts while talking with Chaypin during the tennis match.
Challenging conversations are something that I have had no choice but to get better in within the past few months. I have had to have quite a few challenging conversations, and I definitely believe that practice makes perfect. I have learned that the best way for me to handle that difficult talks is to try to approach it from the other person’s point of view. This can pertain to one’s personal life, professional life, etc. Seeing someone else’s perspective can both allow me to go into the conversation with a level head and a sense of understanding, and it can also make the other party feel more comfortable. I believe that above all, we all just want to be understand and feel like we are being heard with a sense of understanding. By putting ourselves in others’ shoes, that can oftentimes be accomplished. Unfortunately, there are other situations where a consensus cannot be mutually found. In this case, I believe that approaching the situation with a desire to know the other side of the story is extremely significant. It is important to be able to hold our own tongues and allow another person to speak. Additionally, it may sound corny, but I strongly believe in “I” statements instead of “you” statements. By using this method of communication, there can be an avoidance of a feeling of blame or pointing fingers. I believe there is a lot to say about someone who can handle conflict with empathy instead of a persona of arrogance and the “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude.
In the past, the challenging conversations with my mother have never had a calm ending. We are both pretty strong in our personalities (I come by it honestly), so we have had the tendency to butt heads. However, after having many literal come to Jesus meetings, I have learned a calm demeanor can put even the greatest qualms to rest. After learning this, I changed the way I talked to my mom about going to Nepal for example, and the conversations have been much more fruitful. I understand that she worries because she loves me, and now she understands that I feel the need to go and devote my time to a cause I care about. Even though we still don’t fully understand each other all the time, we can give each other the respect and kindness that we deserve.
This week, I have received attempts from Beth’s PBL and have been able to fill in much more of my clinical packet.
Hopping into my mental time machine gives me a lot of different options. I have been trying especially hard lately to stay present, while also attempting to stay practical in planning. This has been somewhat of a challenge, but I feel like I’m getting better at it. As of this moment, two different options come to mind when I think about my future. I can definitely see myself having gone through graduate school within the next three to four years. I will have graduated from undergrad with an athletic training degree and gone onto a physician’s assistant studies program (specifically at University of Colorado or California Baptist College - these are the two main ones on my radar at the moment). I imagine myself working in a hospital setting with a pediatrics specialty. In my wildest dreams, I would like to work at St. Judes or a hospital with a similar cause to work with pediatric oncology. A passion to make a difference in a child’s life and his or her family’s lives would be my motivating factor to get up and go to work in the mornings. My main goal in my professional life is to do as much as possible to make the greatest positive and beneficial impact on others’ lives as I can. Additionally, I imagine that a desire to help provide for my family would push me to get out of bed and encourage me to work hard.
On the other hand, I can see my life being very different from what I just describe. I do have a passion for helping patients in the medical field, but I have a burning passion unlike any other to work in the mission field. I can definitely see myself in the rather near future being a missionary in America. I have a desire to be successful, but I have any more of a desire to honor God with my life and be obedient to the calling He has given me. Right now, I feel a strong push to pour into college-aged women in America because college can be such a dark time for so many people. This could potentially mean not being in a set place and having to travel extremely often. Despite how different these two outcomes may look, I can also see how God could weave them together. There is definitely a ministry through the medical field, and that is something I would be open to if the Lord placed it on my heart.
This week, I have made more connections with some members in the ministry that I am passionate about by travelling to Campobello, SC for a gathering. Additionally, even though it be small, I studied fairly hard for the gen med test we were given. I believe that when we are faithful in the small, we will be faithful in the big. Additionally, this week I have received attempts from Beth’s PBL, a safety inspection attempt in the clinic, and attempts from the gen med test in DC’s class.
The idea behind “Compassionate Care for All” may be my favorite aspect of athletic training. I believe that this characteristic of athletic training helps set it apart and makes this profession very special and unlike others in the healthcare field. I have talked about the relational aspect of athletic training in multiple of my past journals, but it is such an important part to me about what I am being trained to do. I feel like it is easy for athletic trainers to display compassion for their athletes because there is a personal relationship between the athletes and the athletic trainer that is built over time. Even if there is not a name to name basis or a past history or communication between the two parties, the athlete is still known the athletic trainer. The athletic trainer is at every practice and game and has at least noticed the athlete at one time or another. I believe it says a lot to the patient when the healthcare provider is simply just present and easily accessible.
I feel like I embody this concept by truly having an interest in the health and overall well being of the athletes. I feel like the athletes can sense when an athletic trainer or any other healthcare provider or clinician is being present with them and truly listening to what they have to say and how they feel. This is something that I work on every time I am with a patient. I want the athlete to feel very taken care of and as if they are truly being heard. Furthermore, I take what the athlete has told me, both considering the injury and other information like family life, mental state, stress level, etc., and take all of these things into consideration while planning treatments and rehabs. I like to put myself into the athlete’s shoes and really try to experience what they are experiencing. However, sometimes that can get me into trouble. I have had to learn throughout my time in the athletic training program that it is important to be empathetic, but it is also important to stay focused and withdrawn enough to make logical and not emotionally based decisions. Finding this balance has been very beneficial to my clinical experience.
This week I received attempts from the PBL in Beth’s clinical class, and I received approximately 3 attempts from working on my packet in the clinic.
This semester, our little clinical question is, “Does tenotomy on the biceps tendon with labrum repair make athletes with overhead activity more susceptible to biceps tendinopathy after returning to play?” Sam is working with a male soccer athlete for her rehabilitation project who had labrum surgery. He is a goalie for the Emory & Henry soccer team, and his surgery consisted of a tenotomy of the biceps tendon. We suspect that this was a good option for him because he does not spend a majority of his athletic participation with his arms overhead. We have heard that the biceps tendon simply regrows, but with a different origin. This sparked our interest. Because the surgery seems to have so much success, we began to wonder if this approach to surgery would be worth the risk despite the seemingly great labrum repair results if the athlete had an increased chance of the chronic injury. Biceps tendinopathy is already a massive chronic issue that overhead athletes struggle with, so I wonder if a surgeon would take special precautions in a scenario with an overhead athlete such as a volleyball player or a tennis player for example.
For our committee, we have asked Hannah Clementson to be the athletic trainer on our team. We picked Hannah because she is athletic trainer over many overhead sports. She works with the volleyball team, the baseball team, and has previously helped with the tennis team. Hannah is also currently working with athletes who are recovering with labrum surgery. It would take further research about their surgeries, but we could potentially compare her athletes progress with those who received a tenotomy of the biceps tendon during surgery. Additionally, we believe that Hannah could offer a lot of insight into our research because of her experience. We also asked Beth Funkhouser to join our committee because we trust her knowledge of surgeries. I feel like as an athletic trainer it is important to know about the nature of surgeries that athletes go through and understand what happens to the anatomy during a surgery. I am confident of Beth’s insight when it comes to discussing surgeries and helping us get a full understanding. Additionally, Beth is very knowledge about current trends and always has useful articles to offer. Lastly, we wanted to ask Coach Caro to join our research committee. I feel like Coach Caro will be able to offer a different viewpoint to the recovery and long lasting effects of a tenotomy to the biceps tendon. I believe that this strength and conditioning perspective will help create a holistic view of the athlete’s recovery.
This week, I received 2 attempts in clinical experience and approximately two attempts from the PBL.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.