Athletic Trainers’ Perceptions and Frequency of Use of Health Care Core Competencies

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice






16 (1-13)


Purpose: Core competencies (CCs) have been standard for all health care professions since 2001 but have only recently been integrated into professional-level education in athletic training. Currently, there is no research showing perceptions or frequency of use in various subgroups of athletic trainers based on experience. Method: We evaluated athletic trainer (AT) perceptions and frequency of use of CCs and perceived preparedness by professional-level education. A cross-sectional web-based survey was completed by 644 clinically practicing ATs. The survey included demographics (5 items), perceived use for CCs (22 items), perception of educational preparedness (6 items), and perceived frequency of use within patient encounters (PEs; 6 items). Data Analysis: Descriptive statistics were calculated for overall perception of importance and frequency of use in clinical practice. We conducted a one-way ANOVA to compare perceived preparedness for each of the CCs on years of experience (5 year intervals up to 25+). Results: ATs strongly agreed patient-centered care is important to their clinical practice (PCCGM=3.59±0.630, Mode=4) with frequent use in 85.0±21.8% of their PEs. Evidence-based practice had the lowest perceived importance (EBPGM=3.38±0.581, Mode=3), but is still frequently used (73.3±25.6%). ATs agreed interprofessional and collaborative practice is important (IPCPGM=3.42±0.683, Mode=3) but integration into practice was low (67.0±27.7%). Health care informatics is important (HITGM=3.21±0.657, Mode=3) and frequently used in PEs (70.8±28.9%). Participants strongly agreed quality improvement is important (QIGM=3.42±0.562, Mode=4); however, is the least often used (66.1±26.27%). ATs strongly agreed professionalism (PROF) is important (PROFGM=3.42±0.562, Mode=4) and frequently used in PEs (85.9±22.9%). We identified significant differences between years of experience intervals and educational program preparation to integrate the CCs into practice. ATS that more recently completed their professional education felt more prepared. Conclusions: ATs find CCs important in practice and ATs who have less than 10 years of experience largely believe their programs have adequately prepared them. More work needs to be done to create and deliver professional development to prepare ATs to integrate CCs into practice.


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0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)

Original Publication Citation

Waterman, D. C., Welch Bacon, C. E., Cavallario, J. M., & Eberman, L. E. (2021). Athletic trainers’ perceptions and frequency of use of health care core competencies. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 19(4), 1-13, Article 16. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/ijahsp/vol19/iss4/16/