Understanding AT’s Shared Professional Values

March 24, 2021 by Beth Sitzler

What distinctive characteristics and behaviors guide the athletic training profession and are of importance to athletic trainers? This was the question the NATA Professional Responsibility in Athletic Training Committee set out to answer when it began researching the shared professional values (PVs) of athletic training.

“There were no defined set of professional values for the athletic training profession, as is characteristic of other health care professions, that help to define professional behavior and give meaning and direction to athletic training clinical practice,” said Carrie Baker, PhD, ATC, who assisted PRAT with technical support and data extraction. “Further, PRAT was looking for a way to streamline legal, ethical and regulatory (LER) professional expectations. In 2017, the NATA Board of Directors supported PRAT’s request to identify the shared professional values of athletic training to help link the expected quality, characteristics and LER practice behaviors within the athletic training profession.”

A three-part process, research began with a pilot study and leadership survey to determine the validity of specific PVs and if they truly represented potential values in athletic training. The leadership survey also determined the importance of PVs. The PRAT research group then distributed the survey to the membership during part two. The results of that membership survey, which featured 4,837 respondents, included the importance of PVs and each value. Finally, in part three, PRAT defined the PVs and conducted a behavioral survey to identify how each PV is conveyed.

Now, with its research concluded and the PVs identified and defined, PRAT has created the Athletic Training’s Shared Professional Values infographic handout to ensure all members know and understand the five PVs of athletic training:

  • Caring and compassion: An intense concern and desire to help improve the welfare of another.
  • Integrity: A commitment that is internally motivated by an unyielding desire to do what is honest and right.
  • Respect: The act of imparting genuine and unconditional appreciation and value for all persons.
  • Competence: The ability to perform a task effectively with desirable outcomes.
  • Accountability: A willingness to be responsible for and answerable to one’s own actions.

“We ask ATs to be mindful of the shared professional values and the corresponding sample behaviors,” said PRAT Chair Gretchen Schlabach, PhD, ATC. “Further, each AT practice setting has its own distinctive culture. Therefore, we encourage members of a practice setting group to add their own specific practice setting behaviors to the PV sample behaviors’ list. Finally, regularly review shared PVs and compliance to the corresponding professional behaviors.”

Members can learn more about the PVs during the next NATA Chats at 1:30 p.m. CDT March 25 on NATA’s Facebook page. During the NATA Chats, Schlabach, Baker and PRAT Research Leader Marisa Colston, PhD, ATC, will explain what drove the committee to identify the PVs and the research conducted in order to do so. PRAT will also discuss how members can utilize the PVs.

“Our hope for the viewers is to memorize, embrace and implement these five shared professional values into their daily practice,” Colston said. “We also hope our members understand that our NATA Board of Directors believed it was important for members to be stakeholders by participating in the research. Most other health care professions used a top-down prescriptive approach. We are very proud of the fact that the values were identified through research and affirmed by the NATA leadership.”

If you miss the live discussion, you can watch it and all past NATA Chats on-demand in the NATA Chats archive.