from Tiffany McGuffin...
In this month’s NATA News, there is an editorial that is once again discussing salary and one woman’s opinion on how to increase the athletic trainers’ overall worth (“Athletic Training Salaries and the Sate of Employment,” page 8). I think her solution to the problem is spot-on, not only for the promotion of the profession’s salary cap, but for the promotion of the profession itself. She addresses the need for athletic trainers at the collegiate level to be a part of the health centers, instead of the athletic departments. Her model at the University of Boston has increased salaries by what I assume is due to being competitive with the other health professionals in the building. When an athletic trainer is being compared, quite literally, side by side with other therapists and physician assistants, I can only assume that an athletic trainer’s specific skill set is highlighted and valued. When an athletic trainer is well-versed in the medical field and can converse daily with other medical professionals, it forces others to view athletic trainers as equals. Then we can demand equal pay.
But the problem is, I don’t think most athletic trainers partake in this type of dialogue with other medical professionals that would help prove our educational background and true worth. I see it often, athletic trainers, especially at the high school level, becomes subservient to orthopedics and therapists, allowing the conversation regarding a joint patient to be one-sided. As we strive to increase our salaries, I think these conversations need to increase with our colleagues from other disciplines. We still need to prove ourselves and continue to work on maintaining our health care image. As Adam (the District 2 YPC Rep) says on the next page, “our efforts are working, we just need a little more time.”
Although more ideal at the collegiate level, I believe this could work in high schools as well. Our district has a head of nursing and separate in-services with the nursing staffs. Might partnering with the school nurses serve a similar purpose? I certainly think we can bring something to the table when discussing district health concerns. There is also a district safety manager and that a partnership might make more sense than our association with the general athletic department. Aligning ourselves with the other medical staffs in the district would help define the profession with others and build the reputation we are seeking. When we achieve this recognition, our pay scale must follow suit.
I type this in the car, southbound 35, making the trek from Dallas to Corpus Christi, riding shotgun with a dog in my lap. Justin is driving, also with a dog in his lap, and we have a happy, sleeping 7 week old in the back seat. Pit stops are quite the circus! I hope all of you have a great Christmas and joyous holiday season. See you all in 2011.