Program Administrators' Perceived Challenges Associated With Developing Preceptors

Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Athletic Training Education Journal








Context: Understanding potential barriers that prevent program administrators from providing high-quality preceptor development opportunities will help inform strategies of preceptor development.

Objective: To explore the challenges program administrators encounter when developing preceptors for graduate, professional athletic training programs.

Design: Consensual qualitative research.

Setting: Individual semistructured phone interviews.

Patients or Other Participants: Eighteen program administrators (17 coordinators of clinical education, 1 program director; 5.92 ± 4.19 years of experience) participated in this study. Data saturation guided the number of participants.

Data Collection and Analysis: Semistructured interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A 4-person research team used a consensus process to analyze data and identify emergent themes. A consensual codebook was created after researchers independently coded the data and discussed emergent themes. Credibility of the findings was established through multiple researchers, an external auditor, and member checks.

Results: Two themes emerged, delivery and content. How to deliver development posed a challenge, with work schedules and geographical spread inhibiting the ability to schedule one in-person group meeting. Lastly, participants struggled to balance their own workloads to overcome the challenges of curating and delivering multiple preceptor development opportunities in addition to their existing academic obligations. Identifying which content to include that was relevant and useful to a variety of preceptors regardless of setting or experience was also a challenge for our participants. Participants felt that some preceptors were reticent to learn about program policies, accreditation requirements, or newly included clinical skills, making large-group development opportunities more challenging.

Conclusions: Administrators may need multiple preceptor development options to accommodate the varying levels of experience, desired content, and geographical locations of preceptors; however, this subsequently increases workload challenges. Educating institutional administrators about the demands of developing preceptors may open dialogue regarding workload and provision of necessary resources associated with preceptor development.


© National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

Link included with the kind written permission of the copyright holder.


0000-0003-3171-9141 (Cavallario)

Original Publication Citation

Huett, J. L., Cavallario, J., Hankemeier, D. A., Welch Bacon, C. E., & Walker, S. E. (2022). Program administrators' perceived challenges associated with developing preceptors. Athletic Training Education Journal, 17(3), 221-230.