Winter Wednesdays– In the Clinic

The football season is officially over, however that does not mean the concussion risk is gone.  Yes, it will be reduced slightly, but awareness is continued and the importance of an athletic trainer is underscored more.  During the winter months we will spend time blogging about the life of an athletic trainer, what I do, and what we can do for schools.

Dustin has written some about his “days in the life” and with National Athletic Training Month upon us, I thought I’d share what my current job is like as well. 

Like Dustin, I am an athletic trainer working in a physical therapy clinic and providing outreach services to local high schools.  I have worked a large amount of hours in the fitness centers, but I also spend a good amount of time working in the physical therapy area as well.  This is in addition to being at the high school one day week plus varsity games.  Now that spring season has begun (yesterday here in Illinois) things will begin to pick up; running between baseball, softball, girls’ soccer, and the occasional track practice.  But I have more recently added additional responsibilities in the physical therapy clinic.

As many surely know, athletic trainers are not “billable” providers in the physical therapy setting, but in our particular clinic we are beginning to realize the benefits of having an athletic trainer available.  Helping out with therapy as a “PT Aide” technically is one thing, but athletic trainers provide benefits that physical therapists do not always realize until it actually occurs.  I work in a very busy PT clinic and the therapists are very hands-on and involved in each patient’s treatment.  This sometimes means they are on a one-track mindset of doing everything they can for that particular patient.  This is definitely good for that patient, but it does not always set up success in the “big picture.”  This is where I have been utilized more and more in recent weeks.

I have become largely responsible for the management of the clinic environment, in that I am helping the therapists to move patients from place to place, get things set up or broken down, and supervise the entire place so things run as smoothly as possible.  We have been a busy clinic in the past and like all things in healthcare there are the ups and downs, but now we are very busy and continue to expand.  The physical therapists and physical therapist assistants do not all understand the workings of a fast-paced facility and that’s where an athletic trainer becomes invaluable.  Even for me, being right out of college, I am used to a fast-paced environment unlike many of my co-workers.  Athletic Trainers have the ability to triage and determine priority and equipment needs.  We keep the business moving along making sure our therapists are able to provide the best treatment for each patient every visit.

The athletic trainer can be used utilized in many more facets than the “traditional” setting, become aware of how the athletic trainer can help you.

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