Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) Resident Features

Clarissa Alexander who completed her athletic training residency at St Luke’s University Health Network, a CAATE-accredited athletic training residency program. Clarissa is passionate about her residency experience and shared the following insights: 

Q: What factors influenced your decision to pursue a residency program?
A: I have worked in both the secondary and collegiate settings for multiple years prior to starting this residency program. I was really burnt out and needed a new challenge which I thought would be medical school. After talking with my support system, an opportunity arose to join the residency at St. Luke’s. It was the best decision I have ever made. I have grown exponentially, both in clinical decision-making as well as evaluation of injuries. Learning how to assist in surgery was just the cherry on top. I have studied anatomy a long time and being in surgery has really changed and shaped how I see and treat the human body.

Q: In what ways has completing a residency and specializing shaped, or do you anticipate shaping, the trajectory of your career?
A: Completing a residency program has not limited my options to working “just” in the clinic setting. My evaluation skills have been finely tuned after learning from so many orthopedic physicians and surgeons. I would be even more confident if returning to the more traditional aspects of athletic training. I am also better able to describe surgical implications and post-operative protocols for the athletes/patients that I work with.

Q: How has the education and training during your residency program enhanced your clinical practice, impacting aspects such as patient satisfaction and care delivery?
A: I am a significantly better athletic trainer for my patients. I would be confident walking into any situation with any population after this year that I have completed. My evaluation skills have been finely honed with 99% diagnostic accuracy in accordance with my physicians. I am also better able to describe surgical implications and post-operative protocols for the athletes/patients that I work with.

Q: What shifts have you noticed in how your peers perceive you since completing your residency?
A: People did not understand the why when I left my collegiate athletic training position to complete this residency program. They now see how much I have grown in my evaluation skills, clinical decision making, and surgical abilities. My confidence has also increased exponentially in all the above aspects.

Visit the CAATE website to explore a career in athletic training and learn more about residency and fellowship.