Monday, January 30, 2012

What's in a Name?

The regular debate on changing the title of our profession has fired up once again.  I think the movement is an interesting one and I understand the impetus behind it. 

That said, I can't imagine undoing the 60+ years of history and work and our most recent public relations successes just to start over. 

Athletic training is gaining ground in our battle.  Proper terminology by our practitioners, patients and the media is leading to a wider understanding of our skill set and state legislation related to concussions is shining a light on the lack of adequate health care in many secondary schools.

CNN has become a great advocate for athletic training, most recently highlighting our profession in Dr. Sanjay Gupta (a neurosurgeon, by the way) documentary on concussions: Big Hits, Broken Dreams.

Dr. Gupta even goes so far, on his blog, to say the following:
"...There are ways to play football more safely, and still win.

Whether it is the mandatory presence of athletic trainers who can diagnose concussions and are empowered to sit a player out..."

An endorsement of our skills from a widely recognized neurosurgeon!  That's big.
A year ago I posted this...JUSTIFIED and I feel in one year we have made even more progress.

Are we there yet? No, but I don't think a name change is going to bridge the gap.

What name would adequately encapsulate our skills and give us the recognition we so desire?
Sports Therapist or Athletic Therapist?
Active Sports Medicine Therapist and First Responder?
Preventative Athletic Rehabilitator?

Even if we do make a change, we would be referenced like this: "the athletic therapist, formerly athletic trainer..."

Do we really want to be known as "the profession formerly known as athletic trainer?"

Instead of focusing on the name, how about we continue our push for public recognition and the ground we are gaining won't be lost.

The one thing I want to leave my children is an honorable name.

Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What would you do?

As many of you know, watching live television is generally not much of an option for athletic trainers. My husband (also an athletic trainer) and I have reverted to our old favorites on DVD and ‘ER’ is the current choice. Just the other night we were watching an early episode that focused on the hospital being a ‘teaching hospital.’ As a teaching focused medical center, monthly or weekly the resident physicians would all gather with the chief attending and discuss cases. To begin a resident physician would present the case and how they treated the patient, then the question was asked to the rest of the group, "What would you do?" As you can imagine some of the physicians were defensive but at the end of the day everyone was able to learn from each situation.

I know that our profession is improving in sharing and discussing different topics and situations especially through the message boards, blogs and published case studies, but I wonder, how often do you sit down with your fellow colleagues and ask,

“What would you do?”

And are you prepared for an answer that is completely different that yours?

By allowing discussion we can all grow, as students we often read and presented case studies, after only 3 years in the profession on my own, I have noticed that I have fallen out of the practice of asking another athletic trainer about their ideas or other innovative ways to do something. It is difficult for me to have someone critique the care that I chose to provide for a patient but I firmly believe that by continually learning, and sharing and asking for critique we can ensure that the best care is given.

So I would like to ask if there are any of you that as a group of professionals regularly present cases and discuss different treatment options and if this is a positive model for athletic trainers?