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.
The reason that I appreciate athletic training so much is because of the holistic approach to the care that is provided. I believe that knowing the athlete before the injury is a major cause of the feeling to provide holistic care. Creating a relationship with the athlete makes it easier to invest into them personally, instead of solely investing into their injury. For example, with my rehabilitation project this semester, I know the athlete very well and was previously her teammate. This relationship that I created previously to her injury makes me feel personally invested into her healing process. I want not only her knee to heal, but for her health, both physically and mentally, to be better than it was prior to her ACL tear.
Additionally, I think that it is important to treat the entire person instead of just the injury, especially in the college athletics environment, because of the statistic of athletes with depression. I just returned back from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes - College Advance annual retreat, and many of the testimonies of the athletes there involve depression. Quite a few athletes were only able to come to the retreat because they were injured, and for most of them it is life altering, if only for a season. They explain how they feel useful and powerless because they are not able to do what they have a passion to do. They are a part of a team dynamic, and when an injury occurs, it is stripped from them. They often feel as if they are no longer apart of the team. This can very easily turn down a path of depression and self-destruction. An athletic trainer can be pivotal for the athlete during this healing process. We have the opportunity to be the person that they lean into to share what they’re going through and how their mental health is functioning.
Additionally, I feel that it is important to look at the entire athlete physically as well as mentally because other issues have the potential to arise when an athlete is performing rehab for a specific injury. Because the rehab process can be such a strenuous process, other pains may arise throughout other areas of the body that would need attention. By taking care of the entire body, the athlete may feel more cared about and more trust can established between the AT and the athlete
This week, I didn’t receive any masteries.
I feel like rehabilitation is one of the biggest roles for an athletic trainer. Much of the time spent in the clinic is with athletes who are there for rehabilitation. I feel like athletic trainers have a big advantage when it comes to rehabs because there is awareness about how their athletes operate before an injury. Knowing the athlete’s personality, work ethic, pain tolerance, and other history is very helpful in the rehab if/when an injury occurs. After an injury, an athletic trainer is responsible for diagnosis and knowledge of how to correctly create a rehabilitation plan based on the extent of the injury and the progression of injury phases. Outside of the typical rehabilitation process, I believe that it is crucial that an athletic trainer be there emotionally for the patient. I know firsthand that an injury can really put a damper on not only the patient’s athletics, but on the overall mood and lifestyle of the athlete. It was always nice to know that my athletic trainer was there for my physical health, but to also just be a friend to me, especially in the rehabilitation process.
In the beginning of a rehabilitation, the main goal is to reduce pain, swelling, and increase ROM. Once the pain has diminished according the patient, swelling has noticeably decreased, and some ROM has returned, the next step of rehab can be taken. The next step involves maintaining ROM while establishing neuromuscular control. Strengthening will be the next step as well. My patient’s main goal right now is to strengthen the involved side to equal her uninvolved side.
I feel like having knowledge over the phases of healing and being able to recognize the signs of each healing phase is crucial to knowing when to progress patients. Additionally, I feel like it is important to understand when the athlete is not being challenged enough. Knowing and investing into the athlete personally can help with this step in the rehabilitation progress in my opinion. I personally feel like I need to really improve at knowing when to progress my patients. I always have an underlying fear that I will push them too hard, but also that I might not be pushing them hard enough. I feel like this semester will help me find a balance of knowing how to progress patients through the rehab project.
This week, I received 3 attempts from the PBL in Beth’s clinical class.
As an athletic training student, I think the most obvious challenge we face is managing our time. It is very difficult to spread time between getting enough clinical hours, studying adequately for both AT classes and other prerequisite/required courses, getting enough rest, maintaining at least decent mental health by having moments to ourselves, and time for sports if we are athletes. I like that this major has demanded that I manage my time well, and I believe that it is preparing me for my future with the amount of responsibility that we are expected to uphold; however, I sometimes feel as if I am wishing this season of my life away because I far too often do not enjoy what I do unfortunately. I think it was also hard for AT students to become involved in other things on campus that they may find interesting or engage in volunteer opportunities because of the demand of the major. I am involved in many of the spiritual life activities on campus because it is a very important aspect of my life that I want to share with others, but it is at an expense of much of my study time, sleep, and other activities. Unfortunately, I believe that other athletic training students may choose to not get involved in other activities that they may be passionate about because of the stress that it may add to getting their hours, completing their clinical packet, or studying for their classes.
For the most part I do not find it difficult to manage all of my responsibilities because I feel like I do not think about all I have to do or what I may miss out on, and I just do what has to be done. The most difficult part for me personally is not engaging in some of the things that I love because I don’t have the time. For example, I would love to visit home more often, but my schedule does not allow it. I would love the opportunity to invest more heavily into the relationships and friendships that I have discovered while at Emory, but again, sometimes my schedule just won’t have it. However, I am trying to be content in the time that I have here, regardless of whether I am enjoying it at the moment or not. I have found the most help in my brothers and sisters in Christ when I find myself in a slump. They never fail to lift me up and encourage me whenever I’m feeling down or overwhelmed. Time spent with this family is time that I will never regret, and the moments that I have with them are going to be the moments that I remember most when I look back at my time at Emory.
This week I did not get any attempts or masteries.
It’s hard for me to imagine that I have already been in the program for a year and a half. This semester I plan on hopefully utilizing all the lessons I have learned, but the principal one will be understanding that there is always more going on behind what is on the surface. I hope that this semester I can truly invest into people’s lives, while also being there to help them with injuries, rehabs, etc. I would like for athletes to feel like they are going to get quality treatment when I interact with them, but also to feel as if we can work through more than just an injury together. After having the semester I had last year, I more fully understand the importance of having a strong support system. I had no idea how many people were there for me until I went through last semester. I would like to create relationships with the athletes on my rotation that they can be confident in. I can only hope that these girls know that they always have someone in their corner, both for their injury and return to play process and for any other corner of their life where they may need support and someone to have their back.
This semester I would also like to be more intentional about my learning. Last semester, it was hard for me to try to learn anything outside of what was necessary. This spring, I hate to gain my passion for learning back. Because I have a lighter course load this semester, I have a goal to review more and look at the information that I am presented with a little deeper than purely memorizing the material. As the idea of graduation gets more realistic, I am beginning to understand that my learning will soon be placed entirely in my hands, and I will have to take full responsibility and actively seek out learning. I hope that this semester I can really put forth initiative when it comes to my learning.
This week I did not sit down with Melissa to create a packet completion goal, but in the past I tried to split up the number of masteries evenly within the weeks. This has proven a couple times that it is faulty logic. Therefore, I hope to sit down with Melissa this week and potentially look at some of the syllabi from my classes in hopes of breaking down the packet and creating a more manageable completion goal.
This semester has definitely been the most difficult semester I have ever had. On the “what was good” side, I learned a lot about different patient populations and the injuries that accompany different patient populations. While working in the physical therapy clinic with Matt, I gained a lot more knowledge on geriatrics and the challenges that come with that population. This was one of my clinic goals that I set at the beginning of the semester. Additionally, going into this semester, physical therapy school was still an option on the table for me; however, after having this semester in the physical therapy clinic, I have realized that physical therapy is not the route I want to take. As much as I did enjoy the relationships that I built with the patients, I found that it was easy for me to feel bored while I was at the clinic. I also found myself often times being scared that I was going to hurt the patients with a treatment or while stretching them. I missed the intensity that one can find in the athletic training clinic with the athletes. It is usually evident that when the athletes come in, they are willing to work hard and push themselves to get better so that they can play. In the PT clinic, that same motivation is missing. I discovered that I am also much more comfortable around athletes, perhaps because we have a lot in common concerning sports.
On the other hand, this semester has been very hard for me outside academics. I experienced some personal experiences that put me in an extremely hard place, and that consequently put stress on academics and athletic training for me. There were many days over the last couple of months where I was unable to focus and work as hard as I wanted to. Things began to look up for me when I decided that I had to put myself and my health first; however, I am still feeling the effects of having to take that time to somewhat return to myself.
In the PT clinic, Matt has increasingly given me more freedom with patients and has allowed me to take the reigns on some instances with his guidance. This was very encouraging to me and was very beneficial to my growth as an ATS. It allowed me to gain confidence in my abilities and become more autonomous with decisions.
Next spring, I hope to be able to give more of my time and focus to athletic training. I will not be working as much, and my classes will be more centered around athletic training; therefore, I believe that I will be able to invest more strongly into athletic training.
This week I received 13 masteries.
As an athletic training student, I feel the least confident when treating an athlete or patient that I have not been working with, especially if they have a complicated injury or condition For example, when I am at the physical therapy clinic and I am asked to do treatment for a patient that I have not met or treated before, I become very skeptical of what I am doing. I have a million questions like, “Am I doing this correctly? How long do I do this? Is this the right exercise?” I just worry that what I am doing is different, and maybe wrong, compared to what they have had in the past. Additionally, I find treatments to be much more productive when I can comfortably communicate with the patients. When a relationship has been created from the beginning, communication is much easier and trust is more easily established. It is very important for me to have a relationship with the patients in order to feel very confident as an athletic training student. This is not as much of an issue in the athletic training clinic because I know and am familiar with many of those who come in for treatment; however, it poses more of an obstacle in the physical therapy clinic.
I am most confident in the athletic training/ physical therapy clinic when I am working with an athlete or patient that I am familiar with. Also, it helps if their injury is a shoulder. I know that many people are skeptical about the shoulder because of how complicated that it can be, but I feel really comfortable with the shoulder. When I am with someone that I have been working with already, I feel confident about the treatment that I am performing because I am familiar with how they respond to a particular treatment. Additionally, I am able to gauge the progress and the efficiency of the exercises or treatment options that I picked for that day based upon how the patient responds to it because I know how they have reacted to past treatments.
It is super encouraging when I am able to work in a setting where I am confident about my decisions, but I also feel that it is important that I am challenged. I fully believed that if you are not made uncomfortable, then growth will not occur. The more that I am put in a situation where I am less confident, the more that I realize that I need to depend more on my skills and knowledge to be able to make correct and beneficial decisions for the patients.
This week I gained attempts from the PBL from clinical class.
At the current moment, I am pursuing a career in physician assistant studies. I would like to sit for the BOC exam to become certified before continuing my education in a physician assistant program. I began to think about this track when I was considering how to best use my career in the mission field. I had a hard time trying to imagine how I could use physical therapy in missions because physical therapy is more of a long term service. Additionally, I really enjoy the idea that individuals receive experience in a plethora of different specialities, which makes choosing a speciality or changing a specialty fairly easy. Lastly, the most superficial reason is that it takes one year less to accomplish than physical therapy.
I have done a lot of research into what I need to do to accomplish this goal. Each PA program demands something a little bit different. Each program needs patient care hours, and only specific programs will accept athletic training student hours. The only program that I have found that accept ATS hours is the Medical University of South Carolina. Additionally, the prerequisites for each program seem to differ slightly. I have made my schedule for the rest of my time in undergrad to try to accommodate all of the prerequisites for each program that I am interested in, and the only issue that I have had so far is fitting in microbiology. However, if I can take organic chemistry over the summer, then I will be able to fit in all of my prerequisites for each program. I shadowed a PA from a hospital back home this summer, and I am really interested in what she does. She works in a pulmonology clinic and a family practice, and she offered up some very good advice about what I needed to focus on learning while in PA school. She advised me to ask a lot of questions about paperwork and insurance policies. Additionally, she mentioned getting my CASPA application in early to be able to start applying to schools as soon as possible.
I would like to continue feeling out which specialty that I would like to pursue because as of right now, I would like to pursue a speciality in pediatrics, but I would like to gain more experience in other areas. I feel like finding physician assistants in other specialities this summer to shadow would be very helpful for both my resume and my future decisions. I would also like to learn more about different programs that I have not heard of yet.
This week I received attempts from Beth’s PBL in clinical class and five other attempts from the PT clinic with Matt.