Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training


Online ahead-of-print


22 pp.


Context: Mentoring has been identified as an important method to support newly credentialed athletic trainers during their transition to practice. Gaining a better understanding of this relationship could provide valuable insights that may assist employers and professional programs to develop a plan, which could better facilitate the transition.

Objective: To examine what aspects of the mentoring relationship provided the most benefit during transition to practice.

Design: Grounded theory.

Setting: Individual phone interviews.

Patients or Other Participants: 13 athletic trainers who graduated from a professional master's program, were certified between February and July of 2016, and obtained employment between July to August 11 of 2016 participated in this study (6 female, 7 male, 26±3 years; work settings included professional sports, college, secondary and middle school, and clinic). Data saturation guided the number of participants.

Data Collection and Analysis: Phone interviews using a semi-structured interview guide were conducted at 3, 8 and twelve months of work experience. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative approach. Credibility was established through investigator triangulation, peer debriefing, and member checks.

Results: Participants recognized the mentoring relationship as a foundational aspect of the transition to practice. Mentors should be available by phone, email, and/or text and to answer questions, provide feedback and/or discuss ideas. Participants want honest feedback, even when that feedback is constructively critical. Feedback was sought regarding topics such as patient care, communication, and networking. Participants needed reassurance and support from their mentor which helped to validate and improve confidence.

Conclusions: Newly credentialed athletic trainers should seek a mentor who will be available to communicate in various ways and provide regular and constructive feedback. Future research should investigate how mentoring relationships influence other aspects of the transition such as patient care, overall job performance, turnover, and satisfaction.


© by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.

Included with the kind written permission of the publisher.

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Original Publication Citation

Walker, S. E., Mazerolle Singe, S., & Cavallario, J. M. (2020). The role mentoring plays in the transition to practice of newly credentialed athletic trainers. Journal of Athletic Training, 22 pp.


0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)