IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 13, 2011 – The leadership of the Strategic Alliance, which includes the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and the Board of Certification, Inc. (BOC), has concluded that it is both appropriate and necessary to issue this formal statement to remind institutions, supervisors and students that athletic training students should provide services to patients only when directly supervised by the appropriate personnel. This includes athletic training students who travel with athletic teams.
According to the 2008 Standards for the Accreditation of Entry-Level Athletic Training Education Programs, “an approved clinical instructor or clinical instructor must be physically present and have the ability to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student to provide on-going and consistent education.”
The Strategic Alliance has a vested interest in student supervision, an issue that transcends educational programs and impacts the profession of athletic training as a whole. The CAATE is involved from an educational standpoint, the BOC is involved from the regulatory perspective, and the NATA is concerned about issues affecting the athletic training profession.
Athletic training services should be provided only by BOC-certified or otherwise regulated personnel or by students under the direct supervision of such personnel. Athletic training students should only travel with teams when directly supervised at all times by appropriately credentialed athletic trainers. The practice of an unsupervised student providing athletic training services replaces licensed athletic training staff with unregulated personnel. This is illegal in most states, and the practice is contrary to the safety and welfare of patients. Additionally, it is not in the best interests of the profession and therefore cannot be supported by the Strategic Alliance.
The direct supervision of athletic training students is in the best interest of the institutions, supervisors, students, and patients. It is required under the CAATE education standards. As stated above, the Standards stipulate a clinical instructor must be physically present and able to interact with an athletic training student at the site of the clinical experience.
The Strategic Alliance acknowledges that critical thinking and independent clinical decision-making are at the heart of good clinical supervision. Direct supervision does not preclude students’ ability to learn and exercise those key skills. Clinical instructors and supervisors should allow students the appropriate freedom to engage in critical thinking and decision-making in a suitable environment. Above all, supervision by an instructor or supervisor must be adequate to ensure that each patient receives competent and quality care and to ensure compliance with the relevant state practice act. Failure to provide adequate supervision could expose the institution and regulated professionals to liability.
The Strategic Alliance is evaluating clinical education from several perspectives and is developing additional models and tools. This collective effort will assist athletic training students and classroom and clinical instructors.
The BOC, a national credentialing agency, has been certifying Athletic Trainers and identifying, for the public, quality healthcare professionals with certainty since 1969. More than 39,000 individuals have earned the ATC® credential worldwide. The BOC is headquartered at 1415 Harney Street, Suite 200, Omaha, Nebraska 68102. For more information, call (877) 262-3926 or visit the BOC website at www.bocatc.org.