Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Athletic Training Education Journal








Context: Clinical education is the interaction between a clinical preceptor and student within the clinical setting to help the student progress as a clinician. Post-professional athletic training clinical education is especially important to improve these students' clinical knowledge and skills. However, little research has been conducted to assess the pedagogical principles for clinical education at this level or what factors are necessary to enhance the clinical skills and decision-making abilities of post-professional students. Therefore, exploring the perspectives of clinical preceptors involved in post-professional education will help educators understand what strategies are necessary to improve post-professional athletic training education programs (PPATEPs).

Objective: To qualitatively investigate clinical preceptors' perspectives and experiences regarding clinical education within PPATEPs.

Design: Consensual qualitative research (CQR) with an emergent design.

Setting: Telephone interviews were conducted with all participants.

Patients or Other Participants: Eleven collegiate post-professional clinical preceptors (7 males, 4 females; average age = 38±7.3 years; average years as an athletic trainer = 15±6.6 years) who were affiliated with a PPATEP were interviewed, representing 11 out of 16 PPATEPs.

Data Collection and Analysis: Interview transcripts were coded for themes and categories. Triangulation included a consensus process by the research team and member checking to verify the data.

Results: Data analysis yielded four themes relating to clinical education in PPATEPs: importance of clinical education, clinical preceptor responsibilities, clinical preceptor qualities, and barriers to clinical education. Participants indicated that clinical education was important for students to develop clinical skills and give them opportunities to make patient care decisions, and that several fundamental responsibilities and qualities contribute to being an effective clinical preceptor at the post-professional level.

Conclusions: Post-professional clinical preceptors recognized that an appropriate balance between autonomy and guided practice in clinical experiences fostered an effective learning environment which allowed post-professional students to improve their clinical and decision-making skills beyond their entry-level skill set. Preceptors should also demonstrate attributes of a clinician, educator, and communicator to be an effective mentor.

Original Publication Citation

Phan, K., McCarty, C. W., Mutchler, J. M., & Lunen, B. V. (2012). Clinical preceptors' perspectives on clinical education in post-professional athletic training education programs. Athletic Training Education Journal, 7(3), 103-114. doi: 10.4085/0703103