CLINICAL EDUCATION OVERVIEW
CCSU’s clinical education places a traditional and strong emphasis on providing the athletic training student with sufficient opportunities to master the desired competencies and clinical proficiencies through active participation in providing health care to student-athletes. The clinical experience is designed to provide the student with four semesters of practical experience in Central Connecticut State University’s Athletic Training facility and concludes with a fifth semester off-campus affiliation. During this time, the student will be under the direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer and other medical professionals who are either approved clinical instructors or clinical instructors. Each semester-long clinical experience is designed to provide the student with ample opportunities to progressively develop competencies in the psychomotor and clinical proficiency skills that are necessary for the entry-level athletic trainer. As a requirement of the CCSU Athletic Training Education program, the athletic training student is required to document a minimum of 800 hours of clinical hours under the direct supervision of a certified athletic trainer, which takes place over a two-year period. Hours acquired in the pre-clinical experience do not count toward fulfillment of this clinical requirement.
The clinical experience consists of two distinct components: “clinical education” and “field experience”. Clinical education provides for the integration of psychomotor, cognitive and affective skills, and clinical proficiencies within the context of patient care, with an Approved Clinical Instructor directly supervising this component. The field experience provides the student with the opportunity for informal learning and to practice and apply entry-level skills in a clinical environment under the supervision of either a clinical instructor (CI) or an Approved Clinical Instructor (ACI).
The clinical experience at CCSU provides the athletic training students with the opportunity to participate in providing health care services to student-athletes. This experience includes practice and game preparation, acute and chronic injury/illness evaluation, first aid and emergency care, follow-up care, rehabilitation, and related services. The student will have the opportunity to experience athletic practices and competitive events in both men’s and women’s sports. This experience includes observations and being physically involved in the in the immediate management and emergency care of a variety of acute athletic injuries and illnesses. Clinical experience at CCSU will include high-risk sports such as football, soccer, basketball, volleyball and lacrosse. Additional experience will be obtained while working with student-athletes participating in baseball, cross-country, golf, softball, swimming & diving, and track & field. In general, students will be assigned to sports on a three-week rotation with the various athletic teams at CCSU. In certain circumstances, students may be assigned to a sport for longer periods of time. Clinical rotations to cover teams are made on an individual basis. The athletic training student’s clinical and field experiences at CCSU can also be categorized to include upper extremity intensive sports such as baseball, softball, swimming and volleyball; lower extremity intensive sports such as soccer, cross-country, track, basketball; equipment intensive sports such as football; and general medical issues.
The pre-clinical experience provides the student with 200 clock hours of experience and familiarizes the athletic training student to the athletic training services at CCSU. The pre-clinical experience consist of observations while enrolled in EXS 112 Introduction to Athletic Training and EXS 217 Care & Treatment of Athletic Injuries, and one semester experience in CCSU’s athletic training facility. The Pre-clinical is a requirement for formal acceptance into the Athletic Training Education Program. The purpose of this first semester experience is to acquaint the athletic training student with the clinical instructors and the athletic training program as a health care facility. This experience also provides an opportunity for the clinical instructors to evaluate the readiness of the athletic training student to formally enter the clinical aspect of the education program. The criteria for performing the first semester pre-clinical experience is completion of EXS 217 Care & Treatment of Athletic Injuries with a C- or better grade, a 2.50 university GPA and a 2.50 major GPA.
The clinical experience requires the student to be formally accepted to the athletic training professional program. For the next three consecutive semesters, the clinical experience takes place during the student’s enrollment in EXS 315 Practicum I in Athletic Training, EXS 316 Practicum II in Athletic Training and EXS 319 Practicum III in Athletic Training respectively. The student must be accepted into the Athletic Training Education Program to register for all Practicum classes. Also, the athletic training student is required to participate in one entire preseason camp experience during the summer of their senior year – please refer to “clinical progression” and “attendance & outside employment” in the student’s guide for additional preseason information. In the last semester of the student’s senior year, the final clinical rotation, EXS 445 – Internship in Athletic Training is used to broaden and supplement the student’s clinical experience through an approved off-campus affiliation.