Athletic training clinical instructor perceptions of communicative adaptability

Elizabeth Helen Swann

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the self-reported communicative adaptability of athletic training clinical instructors in regard to interaction with their undergraduate students. Additionally, responses to open-ended questions regarding perceived effective interpersonal communication between clinical instructors and athletic training students were investigated. The researcher developed the Clinical Instructor Communication Survey (CI-CS ) through a search of interpersonal communication and allied health education literature. The instrument included five subscales: Social Experience, Social Confirmation, Social Composure, Articulation, and Wit. The Clinical Instructor Communication Survey ( CI-CS ) was mailed to 35 CAAHEP-accredited undergraduate athletic training education programs in which the clinical instructors responded to an electronic mail request to participate. The total number of CI-CS surveys requested was 204, There were 114 CI-CS surveys returned which yielded a 56% return rate. The statistical analysis was performed on each quantitative research question to determine any significant differences in the areas of communicative adaptability. The variables examined where gender, level of education, teacher's certification and years of experience. The p < 0.05 level of significance was utilized. The qualitative research question responses were content coded and then categorized according to the emerging trends and support from the literature. There was a statistically significant difference between level of education and communicative adaptability (F (10,216) = 1.99 p = .035) (p < .05). It was found that Social Composure was the area of communicative adaptability that showed significance (F (2,111) = 5.89, p = .004), ( p < .05). The mean scores for the bachelors degree were lower than the mean scores for the masters and doctorate. The more education one had achieved, the greater the impact on the Social Composure of the clinical instructor. The conclusion drawn from the qualitative research questions was that clinical instructors feel that approachability, honesty/trust and respect are all desired qualities needed for effective communication between the clinical instructor and the athletic training student. As the profession continues to modify the curriculum education for athletic training students, the relationship between the clinical instructor and the student can become a positive and constructive teaching environment by including formal training in interpersonal communication.