Clinical Education

Freshmen year
Students must complete admission requirements (SpSc 122: Practicum in Athletic Training I; SpSc 201: Basic Athletic Training).  As part of SpSc 122, students must complete 50 hours of Athletic Training Observation (Module X1).  In addition to the admission requirements, students must submit admission materials to the Program Director by April 1.

Admission materials will be reviewed by the Athletic Training Staff and the Medical Director. Students will be notified of admission status on or around May 1.  All admission materials can be found in the Simpson College Athletic Training Education Program Handbook, online, or from the Program Director. (Style of Learning Assessment Forms will be reviewed by the Athletic Training Staff to best apply each student’s learning style).

As part of SpSc 122: Practicum in Athletic Training I, students are given a copy of the Athletic Training Educational Competencies and Clinical Proficiencies.  Clinical Proficiencies are evaluated by ACIs (Approved Clinical Instructors) using a VAS or visual analog scale (copy in handbook), which analyzes skill, accuracy, and efficiency.


Sophomore year (Level I)
Once accepted into the Athletic Training Education Program, students must complete Modules X4-X9 as part of their clinical education and a requirement of SpSc 221: Practicum in Athletic Training II and SpSc 222: Practicum in Athletic Training III.  Prior to beginning their clinical education, students must return a signed duty description.

The students are assigned and rotated through different sports on the Simpson College Campus where they are exposed to three of the four clinical education requirements for Athletic Training (Equipment-intensive, Upper extremity, Lower extremity, General Medicine).  Students are evaluated with the assistance of upper level students, or peers.  Students advance to Level II by performing well on their clinical education evaluation and completing the requirements of SpSc 221 and 222.  Level I students rely on Level II and Level III students as peers to assist in cultivating their skills and advance to the next level.  In turn, Level II and Level III students refine their skills as they become peer-teachers throughout the curriculum. This enhances the learning over time concept.

Level I Clinical Outcomes

  1. General knowledge of modalities (set up, length of treatment, goals of treatment)
  2. Location, filing, and storage of athlete documentation
  3. Understanding and appreciating the importance of confidentiality  with medial documentation
  4. Presenting yourself to staff, athletes and coaches in an acceptable and professional manner
  5. Demonstrating skills that are involved working with others
  6. Becoming comfortable in applying correct taping & wrapping procedures
  7. Understand & apply the concept of RICE and first aid techniques
  8. Become familiar with Simpson College’s Emergency Action Plan
  9. Demonstrate the proper use of and applying assistive devices and braces
  10. Become familiar with and complying with the program’s Policies & Procedures manual
  11. Become familiar with the medical services here at Simpson College
  12. Exhibit positive personal and administrative traits associated with Athletic Training
  13. Become familiar with the peer-teaching approach

Juniors (Level II) and Seniors (Level III)
Once students reach this level, they have met the necessary competencies & proficiencies to begin team athletic training student duties.  Athletic training students are required to complete Modules X11, X12 (2), & X13. The two assignments for Module X12 are to be completed on campus, whereas Module X13 can be completed on campus or at a Simpson College Athletic Training Education Program Affiliated Site.  Off campus affiliated sites include Indianola High School, Norwalk High School, Waukee High School, Iowa Barnstormers, and Des Moines Buccaneers are options for some students.  Each athletic training student is assigned to a clinical preceptor and routinely evaluated as part of SpSc 322: Practicum in Athletic Training IV, SpSc 323: Practicum in Athletic Training V, SpSc 351: Practicum in Athletic Training VI, and SpSc 352: Practicum in Athletic Training VII.  Each athletic training student must complete three clinical experiences; one of which must be football or hockey. Module X11 is a required sports medicine clinic experience that fulfills several clinical proficiency objectives. The students’ clinical education must include all four exposure requirements (Equipment-intensive, upper extremity, lower extremity, and general medical).

Each clinical preceptor is assigned a minimum of two athletic training students to share the primary duties for that particular sport.  This enhances the communication process (interpersonal communication and documentation), fosters continuity of care, and prevents stress & burnout during the season.  Each athletic training student is evaluated by their clinical preceptor at mid-season and at the end of the season outlining their strengths and weaknesses.  Students who receive 4/5 and/or 5/5 on their evaluation and performs well with that respective course advances with Honors.  A student receiving a 2/5 anywhere on their evaluation or performs badly in that respective course cannot advance until they are re-evaluated and perform the task with competency.

In addition to meeting the General Medical Requirement as part of SpSc 390: Screening for Health Conditions, each athletic training student is required to complete a two-hour exposure rotation at Unity Point Health-Urbandale with the team physician.  Athletic Training Students also must complete Module I-1: Surgical Observation with Des Moines Orthopedic Surgery, with the team Orthopedic Doctor.

Level II Clinical Outcomes

  1. Execute proper first aid and basic treatment of athletic injuries
  2. Demonstrate adequate taping, wrapping, and bracing skills
  3. Demonstrate knowledge in evaluation of athletic injuries
  4. Understanding the basic concepts of the use of modalities
  5. Exhibit positive personal and administrative traits associated with Athletic Training
  6. Complying with the program’s Policies & Procedures manual
  7. Utilizing the peer-teaching approach

Level III Clinical Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate proper first aid and effective injury care
  2. Effective taping, wrapping, padding and bracing skills
  3. Effective evaluation skills
  4. Effective use and knowledge of modalities
  5. Become familiar with rehabilitation of athletic injuries
  6. Exhibit positive personal and administrative traits associated with Athletic Training
  7. Appreciate the roles and tasks of medical and allied health personnel
  8. Complying with the program’s Policies & Procedures manual
  9. Utilizing the peer-teaching approach

Each student is required to complete an exit evaluation, which includes; interview with Program Director, final ACI evaluation and a final self-evaluation.

Level IV Clinical Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate proper first aid and effective injury care & management of athletic injuries
  2. Demonstrate effective taping, wrapping, padding and bracing skills
  3. Demonstrate proper evaluation skills and using these skills to integrate critical thinking and decision-making
  4. Proper use and knowledge of modalities
  5. Effective use of rehabilitation skills while demonstrating critical thinking and decision-making
  6. Understanding and appreciating the administrative tasks associated with Athletic Training
  7. Utilizing the peer-teaching approach
  8. Become familiar with Healthcare communication
  9. Integrate the NATA Educational Competencies and Clinical Proficiencies to enhance the student’s decision-making process
  10. Apply the minimal skills and professional traits for an Entry-Level Athletic Trainer
  11. Demonstrate an ability to discern which evaluative tests to complete
  12. Effective use of rehabilitation skills while demonstrating critical thinking & decision-making
  13. Apply evaluation results, treatment records, rehabilitative outcomes into a functional assessment when determining return back to participation or physical activity
  14. An ability to manage administrative issues

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Education Council Clinical Education Definitions:

Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE) “Usually the Program Director or another athletic training faculty member.Duties of the ACCE are; developing, implementing, and evaluating athletic training clinical education experiences”.

Approved Clinical Instructor  “An approved clinical instructor, or ACI is an NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer with a minimum of one year of work experience as an athletic trainer and who has completed the clinical instructor training.  An ACI provides formal instruction and evaluation of clinical proficiencies in the classroom, laboratory, and/or in clinical education experiences through direct supervision of athletic training students”.

ATC Certified Athletic Trainer

ATS Athletic Training Student (*Responsibilities of an athletic training student in Iowa; 152-D-4.1, “Students of Athletic Training who practice Athletic Training under the supervision of a licensed athletic trainer in connection with the regular course instruction at a school providing athletic training instruction”.

Clinical Instructor “A clinical instructor, or CI is an NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer or other qualified health care professional with a minimum of one year work experience in their respective academic or clinical area.  Clinical Instructors teach, evaluate, and supervise athletic training students in the field experiences.  A clinical instructor is not charged with the final formal evaluation of athletic training students’ integration of clinical proficiencies”.

Clinical Education “Clinical education represents the athletic training students’ formal acquisition, practice, and ACI evaluation of the Entry-Level Athletic Training Clinical Proficiencies through classroom, laboratory, and clinical education experiences under the direct supervision of an ACI or Clinical Instructor”.  Clinical Education is made up of clinical experiences and field experiences.  Students must be  exposed to equipment-intensive sports (FB, Hockey), upper extremity sports (Baseball, Softball, Volleyball), lower extremity sports (Basketball, Wrestling, Soccer, Track & Field) and general medical (exposure to physicians or physician’s assistants) A student’s clinical education must be completed in a minimum of 2 academic years and is associated with course credit.

Direct Supervision “This applies to the instruction and evaluation of the clinical proficiencies by an ACI.  Constant visual and auditory interaction between the student and the ACI. The instructor shall be physically present for proficiency instruction and evaluation”.

Supervision “This applies to the field experiences under the direction of a clinical instructor. Daily personal/verbal contact at the site of supervision between the athletic training student and the ACI or CI who plans, directs, advises, and evaluates the students’ athletic training experience”.

Clinical Experiences “Clinical education experience provides an opportunity for integration of psychomotor, cognitive, and affective competencies and clinical proficiencies within the context of direct patient care. An ACI must directly supervise formal clinical experience”.

Clinical Proficiencies “The entry-level athletic training educational proficiencies define the Common set of skills that entry-level athletic trainers should possess and redefine the structure of clinical education from a quantitative approach to an outcomes-based qualitative system”.

Field Experience “Field experience provides the student with the opportunity for informal learning and to practice and apply the Entry-Level Athletic Training Clinical Proficiencies in a clinical environment under the supervision of a CI or ACI.  The primary settings for field experiences must include athletic training rooms, athletic practices, and competitive events.  Ample opportunity should be provided for supervised student experience working with athletic practices, and competitive events in both men’s and women’s sports.  There shall be exposure to upper extremity, lower extremity, equipment-intensive, and general medical experiences of both genders”.

Educational Competencies “The educational content required of entry-level athletic training programs. These competencies should be used to develop the curriculum and educational experiences of students enrolled in CAAHEP-accredited entry-level athletic training programs”.  These competencies are divided into three areas:

Cognitive - the understanding, theory, science, and techniques related to the Clinical Proficiencies.
Psychomotor - skills that the ATS must demonstrate or perform.
Affective - associated with the ethical and professional factors associated with professional practice

Learning Over Time “The learning-over-time (LOT) concept is the documented continuous process
of skill acquisition, progression, and student reflection. LOT involves the
demonstration of systematic progression through the cognitive, psychomotor,
and affective taxonomies within different contextual environments. Assessment
of LOT is built around multiple indicators involving a move away from a quantitative-
based learning module toward a proficiency-based mastery of learning.

This Capstone project/paper involves a writing component (12-page/3000-word paper)
that describes and explains a specific sports medicine injury that corresponds with their
didactic and clinical level within the program.

This concept of learning-over-time and its assessment is not based on skills alone, but
incorporates many specific psychomotor, cognitive, and affective competencies into
meaningful clinical outcomes. Structuring their didactic and clinical education experiences
to ensure that students make effective progress from the acquisition of cognitive
knowledge to the application of clinical skills using the development and integration
of critical thinking and decision-making skills).

The learning-over-time project involves the consolidation of a written description and
explanation of a particular portion of sports medicine that corresponds with the specific
course for which they are enrolled. As the student progresses to the next course, the content,
as well as the depth and breadth of their learning is expanded, and thereby developing skills
that will be utilized from the classroom setting to the clinical setting. With each class involved
in this program project, the instructor provides students with written and/or oral feedback.
At the end of the program and as part of the last class in the curriculum, each student provides a
12-page/3000-word paper that integrates this information into a formal, final project. Students
are given the opportunity to resubmit once the instructor provides adequate and timely feedback.”


Setting Coordinator of Clinical Education (SCCE)  “Coordinator of clinical experiences in accordance with the clinical education objectives determined by the ACCE”. - Source:  NATA Education Council