Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Area of Focus

Social Sciences

Abstract

Purpose: As healthcare evolves to consider the psychosocial effects of injury and disease on patient well-being, attention has turned to the impact of the patient-provider relationship. One foundational construct, the working alliance, emphasizes an emotional bond, agreement on goals, and collaboration on tasks between patient and provider. Despite emphasis on a working alliance in healthcare research, a conceptual understanding of the components of the athletic trainer-patient relationship in athletic training remains largely unexplored. The purpose of this research was to learn how athletic trainers develop and utilize the working alliance with patients.

Methods: This was a grounded theory qualitative study. Six collegiate athletic trainers (3 males, 3 females; athletic training experience = 4.33 ± 1.03 years) employed at institutions participating in NAIA (1), or NCAA athletic divisions D1 (2), D2 (1), D3 (2) were purposefully selected to allow for maximum variation. Two semi-structured 1-hour video-conference interviews were conducted with each participant. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data was analyzed and coded inductively to inform categories, sub-categories, properties and dimensions. Trustworthiness was established with prolonged engagement in the data, member checks, and use of an inquiry auditor.

Originality: Athletic trainers have a vested interest in supporting holistic patient-centered care. Currently, there is no model unifying athletic training professional practice with the concept of a working alliance. Generating understanding of a working alliance in athletic training may encourage appreciation of its role in treatment and rehabilitation and provide athletic trainers new methods to enhance patient relationships. This research aimed to achieve conceptual clarity and advance understanding of the working alliance. It also aimed to connect athletic trainers with new ways to enhance therapeutic relationships and patient outcomes to enrich care across the discipline.

Significance: This study illustrates a working alliance construct in athletic training, clarifying the suggestion that a working alliance may be universally applicable. Poor relationships between athletic trainers and patients can present a barrier to therapeutic outcomes, while athletic trainers’ skill in effectively building relationships can overcome such barriers. Connecting athletic trainers with skills to establish connection and trust, collaborate with patients can align athletic trainers with patient-centered approaches. Confidence integrating these skills into professional practice can also improve working alliances. Classroom integration of rapport-building skills, counseling techniques, and interpersonal communication proficiency can enhance students’ clinical learning and patient care experiences prior to professional practice. This can promote holistic patient-centered care and enhance professional capability. Moreover, skills in counseling, interpersonal communication, and relationship development are inherent to the preparation of counselor educators and counselors. Integrating skills training across disciplines increases skill breadth and application and arms athletic trainers with knowledge that can help them best meet patient needs.

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Apr 27th, 9:00 AM Apr 27th, 9:15 AM

The Working Alliance in Collegiate Athletic Training: Navigating Patient Care

UC Ballroom, Pod #2

Purpose: As healthcare evolves to consider the psychosocial effects of injury and disease on patient well-being, attention has turned to the impact of the patient-provider relationship. One foundational construct, the working alliance, emphasizes an emotional bond, agreement on goals, and collaboration on tasks between patient and provider. Despite emphasis on a working alliance in healthcare research, a conceptual understanding of the components of the athletic trainer-patient relationship in athletic training remains largely unexplored. The purpose of this research was to learn how athletic trainers develop and utilize the working alliance with patients.

Methods: This was a grounded theory qualitative study. Six collegiate athletic trainers (3 males, 3 females; athletic training experience = 4.33 ± 1.03 years) employed at institutions participating in NAIA (1), or NCAA athletic divisions D1 (2), D2 (1), D3 (2) were purposefully selected to allow for maximum variation. Two semi-structured 1-hour video-conference interviews were conducted with each participant. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data was analyzed and coded inductively to inform categories, sub-categories, properties and dimensions. Trustworthiness was established with prolonged engagement in the data, member checks, and use of an inquiry auditor.

Originality: Athletic trainers have a vested interest in supporting holistic patient-centered care. Currently, there is no model unifying athletic training professional practice with the concept of a working alliance. Generating understanding of a working alliance in athletic training may encourage appreciation of its role in treatment and rehabilitation and provide athletic trainers new methods to enhance patient relationships. This research aimed to achieve conceptual clarity and advance understanding of the working alliance. It also aimed to connect athletic trainers with new ways to enhance therapeutic relationships and patient outcomes to enrich care across the discipline.

Significance: This study illustrates a working alliance construct in athletic training, clarifying the suggestion that a working alliance may be universally applicable. Poor relationships between athletic trainers and patients can present a barrier to therapeutic outcomes, while athletic trainers’ skill in effectively building relationships can overcome such barriers. Connecting athletic trainers with skills to establish connection and trust, collaborate with patients can align athletic trainers with patient-centered approaches. Confidence integrating these skills into professional practice can also improve working alliances. Classroom integration of rapport-building skills, counseling techniques, and interpersonal communication proficiency can enhance students’ clinical learning and patient care experiences prior to professional practice. This can promote holistic patient-centered care and enhance professional capability. Moreover, skills in counseling, interpersonal communication, and relationship development are inherent to the preparation of counselor educators and counselors. Integrating skills training across disciplines increases skill breadth and application and arms athletic trainers with knowledge that can help them best meet patient needs.