November 07, 2015

SLU AT Student Getting Excellent Professional Development Experience at Parkway West HS

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Parkway West High School
By: Rachel Spika (SLU MAT Class of 2016)

For my final year in the SLU Athletic Training Program, I have the privilege of spending my full-year clinical rotation at Parkway West High School. West is a school of about 1280 students, many of whom participate in highly competitive classes of Missouri high school athletics. We are in the midst of finishing up our fall sports season and gearing up for winter sports. This fall I gained experience working with athletes and injuries in football, soccer, softball, cross country, field hockey, swimming, volleyball, and tennis.  

Each day I work under the supervision and direction of my preceptor, Matt Berning M.AT, LAT, ATC. I enjoy working with and learning from him because he recognizes the stage I am at in my education and therefore gives me a lot of responsibility. He provides me with many hands-on learning opportunities by expecting me to work on my own whether it be with injury evaluations, rehab protocols, documentation, return to play decisions, or communication with coaches and other staff members. He is always there to assist me if needed and give me constructive criticism, and we have had some great conversations about how to provide the best care for our athletes. This process has been very instrumental in my professional development, because it forces me to ask myself what I would do in certain situations if I were on my own without a preceptor, as will be the case next year after I graduate.

When I say that I am privileged to have been placed at West, it is no exaggeration. The entire community – coaches, staff, athletes – have been extremely welcoming. Ever since I started on the first day of fall sports, I have been treated like a valued member of the staff. Being seen by others as a health care professional, combined with the autonomy granted to me by my preceptor, has increased not only my confidence and skill set but my professionalism as well. I am growing as a student and person each day I am at West, and I look forward to all I have yet to learn and experience over the course of the school year.

This is one of a series of posts by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training students featuring their clinical site and their preceptors. The number, quality and diversity of clinical instruction are major assets for the SLU AT Program.

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