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Reflecting on GLATA and Professional Development During NATM

by Bo Leonard, MS, ATC, PESLeave a Comment

I had the opportunity to attend the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association (GLATA) 51st Annual Meeting and Symposium, which is my region’s athletic training meeting that is hosted every year during National Athletic Training Month (NATM). Despite being removed from the regional atmosphere for some time, I had an invigorating experience at the event.

I was energized to see the volume of recent and soon-to-be graduates attending workshops and connecting with their peers. Many of the individuals I spoke with were getting ready to leave the security of a syllabus and venture into a world that can be unstructured, overwhelming and lacks the guidance that educational institutions have provided them since school started. While this may cause anxiety in many, I left the event hoping that some found excitement with this scenario.

Whether a new grad or a seasoned veteran athletic trainer, we all have the ability to influence the unsettling feelings noted above in order to create the career (and lifestyle) of our liking. It takes consistent effort and awareness toward your individual professional development that will give you a sense of control and vision of where you want the profession to take you.

We all passed the same certification exam. Our education should be consistent. With that said, how do you continue to elevate the care you provide your population while still promoting the field of athletic training? One way to do this is through your development as a professional, as a person and as an adult. This means different things to different people, but for me, professional development includes things outside of my education that allow me to be responsible, reliable and trustworthy. Some things that come to mind are:

  • Accountability: How are your time and task management skills? Are you where you said you would be, when you said you would be there? Are you proactive or reactive?
  • Relationship Development: What is your comfort level with meeting new people? Why is it important to be able to connect with all types of people from teenagers, to parents, to doctors, coaches and other administrative staff members? Are content with spending your time in the athletic training room, hoping people will come find you for their needs?
  • Etiquette: Does your attire reflect professionalism or a pick-up basketball game participant? Is your body language engaging and show that you have genuine concern for the health and safety of the person you are speaking with?
  • Goal Setting/Vision: What is this all for? What do you want to do, where does your energy lie? Without direction, your career as a health care professional could end up lacking purpose and intention.

We spend so much time learning how to properly assess a potential knee injury and memorizing the symptoms of a concussion that we table several key skills that enable us to become a more complete athletic trainer who elevates patient care and advocates for the field of athletic training.

The results that come from focus in these areas have the potential to spill over into personal development as well. Awareness of the bullet points above will challenge you to start exploring your vision around finances and retirement, personal health care options, what gives you joy in your personal life as well. While I am sure much of the recent conversations that have occurred around employment focused on salary, location, and setting, I would encourage everyone to investigate how potential future employers can aid in professional development as well. For example, at Athletico, athletic trainers and clinicians are offered mentorship, continuing education and leadership development opportunities to help career progression.

These are just a few of the benefits offered at Athletico. Click the link to learn more or search for career opportunities.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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Athletic TrainingGLATAGLATA 2019National Athletic Training MonthNATMNATM 2019

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