Section 57
Chapter 56,015

Supervising athletic trainers' perceptions of professional socialization of graduate assistant athletic trainers in the collegiate setting

Thrasher, A.B.; Walker, S.E.; Hankemeier, D.A.; Pitney, W.A.

Journal of Athletic Training 50(3): 321-333


ISSN/ISBN: 1062-6050
PMID: 25347237
DOI: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.67
Accession: 056014739

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Many newly credentialed athletic trainers gain initial employment as graduate assistants (GAs) in the collegiate setting, yet their socialization into their role is unknown. Exploring the socialization process of GAs in the collegiate setting could provide insight into how that process occurs. To explore the professional socialization of GAs in the collegiate setting to determine how GAs are socialized and developed as athletic trainers. Qualitative study. Individual phone interviews. Athletic trainers (N = 21) who had supervised GAs in the collegiate setting for a minimum of 8 years (16 men [76%], 5 women [24%]; years of supervision experience = 14.6 ± 6.6). Data were collected via phone interviews, which were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed by a 4-person consensus team with a consensual qualitative-research design. The team independently coded the data and compared ideas until a consensus was reached, and a codebook was created. Trustworthiness was established through member checks and multianalyst triangulation. Four themes emerged: (1) role orientation, (2) professional development and support, (3) role expectations, and (4) success. Role orientation occurred both formally (eg, review of policies and procedures) and informally (eg, immediate role immersion). Professional development and support consisted of the supervisor mentoring and intervening when appropriate. Role expectations included decision-making ability, independent practice, and professionalism; however, supervisors often expected GAs to function as experienced, full-time staff. Success of the GAs depended on their adaptability and on the proper selection of GAs by supervisors. Supervisors socialize GAs into the collegiate setting by providing orientation, professional development, mentoring, and intervention when necessary. Supervisors are encouraged to use these socialization tactics to enhance the professional development of GAs in the collegiate setting.

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