DOI: 10.4085/1947-380x-22-075 ISSN: 1947-380X

Athletic Training Students’ Perceptions of Translating Knowledge From Classroom to Clinical Practice

Cailee E. Welch Bacon, Ryan Kroskie, Alicia M. Pike Lacy, Julie M. Cavallario
  • General Chemical Engineering


As the health care landscape evolves, athletic training students (ATSs) must gain the skills necessary to effectively translate new evidence into practice to optimize patient outcomes. Knowledge translation is an iterative process that promotes the application of new knowledge by users, but little is known about how students perceive this translation process during athletic training education.


To explore ATSs’ perceptions of knowledge translation.




Web-based survey with open-ended questions.

Patients or Other Participants

A total of 255 professional ATSs accessed the survey; 168 students (118 women, 48 men, 2 missing; age = 22 ± 2.3 years) completed the entire survey (69.5% completion rate).

Data Collection and Analysis

A Web-based survey composed of 6 open-ended questions was distributed to ATSs via a recruitment e-mail forwarded by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education-accredited athletic training program director on behalf of the research team. Due to the textual nature of the data, we used a multiphased, multianalyst data analysis approach guided by the consensual qualitative research tradition to analyze responses to the open-ended items. Self-reported topics that ATSs translated into clinical practice were categorized into the preestablished practice analysis domains identified by the Board of Certification.


Topics within the examination, assessment, and diagnosis domain were most frequently reported by respondents. In addition to the topics translated, 3 themes emerged during data analysis. Students discussed their perceptions regarding the (1) application of knowledge gained in clinical practice, (2) challenges prohibiting successful knowledge translation, and (3) strategies to promote the knowledge translation process.


Findings from this study suggest a need to promote synergy between faculty and preceptors to ensure that didactically taught knowledge is aligned with what students are encountering during clinical experiences. Incorporating established knowledge translation strategies may help ATSs bridge the knowledge-to-practice gaps they perceive as current challenges inhibiting successful translation of new knowledge into the clinical environment.

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