As the 65th National Athletic Trainers Association has now come to a close we would like to first thank all involved in planning and coordinating this event. Thank you to all who presented their research and expertise as a means to decrease knowledge gaps within our professional education. Special thanks also goes out to those who volunteered their time to make this event happen. Within the convention we were able to see first-hand some of the issues that we have previously addressed on this blog being addressed and also a few new positive and negative ones. As mostly young professionals who were first-time attendees we feel as if the solutions to these issues start with us. We are the next generations of leaders and changes can be implemented by us to help make everyone’s convention experience the best that it can be to further influence our ability to be front-runners in health care.
We are hoping that your Indy experience was a time of learning and connecting with both new, old and future fellow health care providers. Even though the convention is over, your learning does not need to stop. Always be looking for a seminar or current research to decrease your knowledge gap. See you in St. Louis! If you have any additional suggestions/comments feel free to leave them and we will hope to highlight those on the blog at some point as well.
The new evidence-based practice continuing education unit requirements received some feedback in both directions during the conference. While it is a step in the right direction, the presentations to obtain this required CEU should be more frequent and accessible. In all honesty, every presentation at the symposium should be evidence-based. Information that is being spilled to thousands in our profession should have credibility and I believe for the most part this was accomplished, yet anecdotal stories are a thing of the past in athletic training. Multiple presentations that I attended provided information that accomplished EBP standards, but did not count for the CEU requirements because it was not included in the title. EBP provides clinicians with the most current and effective information which improves the overall quality care of patients which should be a goal of every clinician. This new requirement needs to be expanded at the next convention and continue to be at the forefront of all presentations. EBP is not something to be mocked or seen as another task you are mandated to do. It should be the guidance you seek to continue improving the healthcare you provide for life and sport.
Zachary Winkelmann, LAT, ATC
Graduate Assistant, Indiana State University Men’s Basketball
Second-Year PPAT Student
PROS AND CONS OF THE CONVENTION
While it is great that last year was the most attended convention overall, for first timers the decreased number this year speaks more about the destination nature of last year’s convention. While we all would agree that summer is our vacation time and it is appropriate to have to maintain a work-life balance the overall point of this trip is to better ourselves and our co-workers by learning as much as we can which will improve our patient care. That is not to say that you should be buried in meetings all day, but just like anything else it is important to find a balance and allow for learning and for vacation aspects.
One of the biggest attractions during the attendance of these meetings is the ability to attend presentations by some of the biggest names in the profession or seeing them accept awards. This allows us to put a person’s face to the name in all those research papers. It also gives us an insight into what has gone into their professional lives to make them as successful for as they are and provides us with something to aspire to. Being around these people can stimulate our creative research ideas or spark a new interest. These great professionals are willing to take time out of their busy convention to answer questions and provide a new connection for us younger professionals later down the road as well.
Beth Neil, LAT, ATC
Graduate Assistant, Terre Haute North High School
Second-Year PPAT Student
EXPERIENCE FROM THE EYES OF AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT
My first time attending the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Clinical Symposia & AT Expo was an amazing and eye opening experience. The AT expo was a great opportunity for me, as an undergraduate AT student, to see the many different types of products and tools Athletic Trainers may deal with in our profession. The symposiums were a great way to keep up to date on evidence based research that plays a critical role in our practice. I would have liked the conference to be more tailored towards undergrad AT students. I felt like it was about 80/20 in reference to the conference being built around Certified Athletic Trainers. For young professionals to be interested in professional development activities such as the NATA Conference, there needs to be a more inviting agenda, such as learning labs be made available to students, or have taping competitions that could attract more students. I registered for the NATA conference expecting it to be a great learning experience, and it was far more than that. Overall I had a great time and was well reminded why I am proud and excited to be a future Athletic Trainer.
Zachary Manley, Senior Athletic Training Student
Indiana State University
EXPERIENCE FROM A FIRST-TIME ATTENDEE
As I stepped into the convention hall for the first time at a NATA Symposium I was not sure what to expect, but once I sat down in my first meeting I immediately relaxed as I realized I was surrounded by my peers who were just as interested in trying to become the best athletic trainer they could be by learning new information. The pens and paper came out and attention focused to the speakers at hand and I began to look around and realize how one profession can bring so many people of different backgrounds and ideals together for one common goal. Throughout the experience I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and exchanging information from different seminars with co-workers. The ability to see former classmates and co-workers was exciting as well to continue old connections and establish new ones. From my experience I believe that when my season comes around again I will have new ideas all around that will allow me to improve my personal patient care and the student’s that work under me the abilities to provide care as well. Another highlight was being able to attend presentations that pertained to my research area sparking new ideas and current improvements to my study. I already look forward to next year in St. Louis!
Justin Police, LAT, ATC
Graduate Assistant, Indiana State University Track and Field
Second-Year PPAT Student