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Clinical Education Policy


The clinical education phase of the ATP provides each student with the opportunity to observe, practice and display competence with the clinical integrated proficiencies (CIP) concurrently instructed within the didactic portion of the program while obtaining credit hours tied to laboratory coursework. This clinical education phase of the program will not be less than 6 semesters (potentially 4 semesters for transferring students approved by the Program Director, please refer to the Transfer Policy for more details). These clinical education opportunities are arranged by the Program Director in conjunction with the Clinical Coordinator for the purpose of each student acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to practice Athletic Training upon completion of the Program. Each required clinical education opportunity is first established via a completed affiliated agreement and is designed to have a preceptor provide direct supervision of an athletic training student with regular instruction and guided practice opportunity. Only preceptors will have the authority to approve competency of any clinical integrated proficiency required as part of the ISU Competency and Proficiency Matrix. This Matrix is issued to each student at the beginning of the didactic portion of the program. However, any preceptor may evaluate the performance of an athletic training student based on their current level in the program and the subsequent skill set they have acquired. It is the goal of these clinical experiences for the athletic training student to perform clinical skills while supervised and to receive constructive, regular feedback so the student is made aware of ways he or she may improve.


It is the responsibility of the student to:
  1. Comply with all portions of the ISU Athletic Training Student Handbook including all ATP policies and procedures.

  2. Follow the instructions of the preceptor assigned to supervise your clinical experience as assigned by the program.

  3. Complete the required evaluation forms and clinical hour logs as directed.  This will be completed via your online ATrack portal.

  4. Be responsible for additional costs incurred by their participation within the program. (E.g. room and board during academic breaks, lab fees, clothing fees, professional liability insurance, CPR fees, NATA Membership fees, etc.)

  5. Play an active role on obtaining experiences that are provided to you. Evening, weekend and time during academic breaks are requirements of the program and therefore part of the clinical experience. 

  6. Understand that any unsupervised activities are not required nor allowed to occur within the ATP.   A preceptor must be physically present and have the ability to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student to provide on-going and consistent education during clinical hour’s experience.  


It is the responsibility of the preceptor to:


  1. Comply with all portions of the ISU preceptor handbook including all policies and procedures.  This document will be distributed to all students in the program.

  2. Provide a positive learning environment for athletic training students while offering regular, constructive feedback. Be able to assimilate teaching to different learning styles of the students in order to provide the optimal environment free of bias or discrimination.

  3. Provide supervised clinical education opportunities, the preceptor must be physically present and have the ability to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student to provide on-going and consistent education. 

  4. Maintain professional behavior according to the standards set forth by applicable professional organization’s ethical conduct standards.

  5. Maintain regular communication with the Clinical Coordinator of the Iowa State Athletic Training Program.

  6. Accurately assess and evaluate the student’s ability to perform clinical proficiencies.


Clinical Hours 


Athletic training students should expect to obtain a significant number of clinical education hours over the course of their three years in the ATP. Gathering this number of hours of experience is beneficial to the advancement of the clinical education experience of the student. Clinical skill assimilation occurs via repetition and exposure to common scenarios the student will eventually be faced upon completion of the ATP.


Clinical Hours Policy Statement


Observation hours during the pre-professional phase of the ATP will be assigned by the Program Director in conjunction with the Introductory Athletic Training Course (ATr 221, 222). These hours will be recorded on the provided “Observation Hours Log” and submitted to the Program Director prior to the end of the Spring Semester in which the applicant is applying. These observation hours are not to be less than 75 hours nor more than 200 hours over the course of the semester and will be recorded in the student’s clinical hours summary if approved for acceptance in the ATP.


Once accepted to the ATP, the student will continue to acquire clinical experience hours over the course of a minimum of 6 semesters (4 for approved transfer students) at various affiliated sites. These sites will be assigned to the student by the Program Director in conjunction with the Clinical Coordinator. All hours will be supervised by a preceptor on record with the ATP. Each semester of clinical experience will be tied to an academic credit via the appropriate practicum for the student’s level in the ATP.   The following is an approximate breakdown of how those hours will be obtained. This policy is to be consistent across all clinical sites.


SOPHOMORE (First Year)

Responsibilities: approximately 10-15 hours/week*

Not to be less than 200 hours per 16 week semester


JUNIOR (Second Year)

Responsibilities: approximately 15-20 hours/week *

Not to be less than 200 hours per 16 week semester


SENIOR (Third Year)

Responsibilities: approximately 20+ hours/week*

Not to be less than 200 hours per 16 week semester


*Any hours acquired while classes are not in session and/or ISU is on a break are to be recorded separately and not to be included in the semester total. Clinical hours are to be reported to the Clinical Coordinator by the 10th day of the following month the hours are completed. Any students weekly total may not exceed 40 minus the student’s credit load expressed as hours for the current semester. (i.e., 40 – 15 credits=25 hours maximum) Hours are to be separated between clinical hours (time spent treating, rehabilitating, counseling, practice coverage, applying first aid and practicing clinical skills) and administrative hours (time spent with documentation, practice or treatment preparation, maintenance or repair of equipment, stocking supplies and communication with coaches). Please do not include study time, traveling time or other idle time.


Clinical Relief Days


Students at all of the affiliated sites are to be granted one scheduled relief day per seven day week. This day is to be mutually agreed upon between the preceptor and student. The scheduled relief day may vary within the seven day period but it should be indicated on the students recorded hours log. This policy is to be consistent across all clinical sites.  


Each student is to be aware that athletic training is a profession requiring non-traditional work schedules involving early mornings and evenings, weekend and holiday hours as well as greater than 40 hours of work per week. It is not a requirement of the student to be present at all times the staff are present but it is hoped the student will have the desire to participate in enough of the clinical experiences in order to seek mastery of education competencies and clinical integrated proficiencies expected of each student. This is the best way a student may assimilate to the professional requirements of athletic training. 


Clinical Supervision


All athletic training students enrolled in the CAATE (Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education) accredited Iowa State University Athletic Training Program must adhere to certain guidelines while performing athletic training skills. These skills are to be limited to the athletic training students’ level in the program. Supervision of the athletic training student is to be done by the preceptor. The preceptor must be physically present and have the ability to intervene on behalf of the athletic training student and the patient. The athletic training student’s assigned preceptor will properly evaluate and test the student in their education competencies and clinical integrated proficiency. This will be documented in the athletic training student’s clinical proficiency book and maintained by the athletic training program following the student’s completion of the program. The preceptor must supervise the students during clinical and/or field experiences, have regular communication with the appropriate ATP administrator, and demonstrate understanding of, and compliance, with the policies and procedures of the ATP (CAATE Standard B3.5, B3.51, B3.52, and B3.53). The preceptor will also evaluate an assigned student’s Affective, Cognitive, Psychomotor and overall performance during their assignment.

Communicable Disease Policy


The following policy and procedures have been developed for the attainment and control of communicable diseases.  Any prospective or enrolled athletic training student diagnosed with having a communicable disease of any form is required to report that disease to the Program Director of the Athletic Training Program and the Thielen Student Health Center. Students that contract a communicable disease are required to obey prescribed guidelines by his/her attending physician and the recommendations of the university affiliated physicians at the Thielen Student Health Center. Students may be excluded from participation in clinical rotations and field experiences during the  time they are affected by the communicable disease and may not return to clinical participation until allowed by the attending physician. Click here for the full Communicable Disease Policy.


First Aid and CPR Certification


All athletic training students must provide evidence of current certification in Professional Rescuer CPR/AED by the first day of clinical exposure. This certification may be through the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, or comparable organization. In addition, all athletic training students must take H S 305 Instructor’s First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. Although all students must obtain these certifications, there is no duty, implied or otherwise, for students to perform first aid in association neither with their clinical assignments nor as a clinical volunteer. All emergency care protocols will be reviewed on an annual basis for all clinical sites and the student will become incorporated into the delivery of emergency care as appropriate, but not as an employee with implicit duties toward the patient.


First responder roles are not part of the required academic/clinical experience and any athletic training student privately contracting for these roles are not required or supported by the CAATE.  Students may not be referred to as Athletic Trainers or Athletic Training Students if such positions are held as they are not participating in the requirements of the ISU Athletic Training Program.  If you have any questions or concerns, please see the Athletic Training Program Director or the Athletic Training Clinical Coordinator.


Student Travel


Travel associated with affiliate sites or with ISU intercollegiate athletics may be involved under the supervision of an athletic training student’s preceptor.   Unsupervised travel for athletic training students is not permitted by the CAATE or by the ATP at ISU. 


Student Cost


Iowa State University athletic training students incur additional costs in the form of purchasing personal liability insurance, NATA membership, and the option of purchasing discounted Nike clothing for wear in the clinical setting. Students can select what items and the quantity of what they wish to purchase. In addition, students will need to be certified in Professional Rescuer CPR/AED and they are responsible for travel expenses to off site clinical sites, meals and housing.


Student and Faculty Grievances


Iowa State students who believe a faculty member (in his or her academic capacity) has behaved unfairly or unprofessionally may have their grievance reviewed through the procedure described below. A student may not initiate an appeal more than one year following completion of the course, and may not initiate the appeal of a course grade beyond midterm of the semester following completion of the course.  Click here for the full Iowa State Policy on Appeal of Academic Grievances.


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