Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Athletic Training








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

Objective: To examine which aspects of the mentoring relationship provided the most benefit during the transition to practice of newly certified ATs.

Design: Qualitative study.

Setting: Individual phone interviews.

Patients or Other Participants: A total of 13 ATs who graduated from a professional master's program, were certified from February through July 2016, and obtained employment from July through August 2016 participated in this study (6 women, 7 men; age = 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 semistructured interview guide were conducted at 3, 8, and 12 months of work experience. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative approach. Credibility was established via investigator triangulation, peer debriefing, and member checks. Participants recognized the mentoring relationship as a foundational aspect of the transition to practice. Mentors should be available by phone, email, or text to answer questions, provide feedback, or discuss ideas. Respondents wanted honest feedback, even when that feedback was constructively critical. Feedback was sought regarding topics such as patient care, communication, and networking. Participants needed reassurance and support from their mentors to help validate and improve their self-confidence.

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


© National Athletic Trainer's Association, Inc.

Included with the kind written permission of the publisher.


0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)

Original Publication Citation

Walker, S. E., Singe, S. M., & Cavallario, J. M. (2021). The role mentoring plays in the transition to practice of newly credentialed athletic trainers. Journal of Athletic Training 56(3), 227-233.