As awareness and energy continue to build about the Mount's newest graduate program--a Master of Athletic Training--the Admission team turned to an AT alum for a real-world perspective.
Taylor Ruder graduated in 2016 and currently works for St. Elizabeth Healthcare, where she is assigned to Dixie Heights High School in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.
Q: How did the Mount’s Athletic Training program prepare you to take on the challenges of being a new clinician after graduating?
Taylor: In addition to the classroom, lab and clinical experience in our program, which emphasized the technical skills and knowledge of injury and illness prevention and management, the program provided opportunities for me to develop my confidence over time. Like many new graduates, during the first few weeks on the job, I had doubts and questioned, “What will you do if…?”
The faculty helped me identify my weaknesses and provided me with encouragement to continue to work and grow. So, as I became acclimated in my new position, I realized that I was well prepared, that I had been given the tools and skills to respond to emergencies that I had dealt with before. I was also able to respond to new situations by returning to the basics of my training at the Mount and the way in which we were taught to critically approach any problem.
Q: One of the unique characteristics of the Mount is its sense of community. Can you describe how that influenced you while you were at the Mount, and now that you are working at an athletic trainer?
Taylor: The supportive environment from my preceptors and faculty allowed me then, and continues to allow me, to seek out help when I need it. Of the eight or nine instructors I had in all my clinicals, I am still in touch with the majority of them. I speak with a few of them almost every week - to discuss challenging clinical cases and to continue seeking guidance. During my time at the Mount, I was able to develop personal and lasting relationships with my clinical preceptors and faculty members.
We spent considerable time together in the clinic, in the classroom, and in the lab. Besides getting to know me personally, they were willing to guide and advise me. Because of the collaborative environment there were also opportunities to lead in varying ways. I served as a lab assistant my senior year, so the first year students in that class are just now about to graduate. It's great to see the Mount's AT program succeeding and growing.
Q: Potential students might think that a larger NCAA Division I college/university would offer better preparation for athletic training than a Division III college/university. What are your thoughts on this?
Taylor: Honestly, I don't think it should matter if it's a Division I or Division III college/university when working with college athletes because it’s the type of experience you get in treating the patients and learning from the preceptors. I had the opportunity to work one-on-one with patients in a college environment and I had access to all of the equipment that might be available at a larger college/university.
The pressures on the athletes might be different, but the health care with the patient should be the same regardless of their completion level. I also had the opportunity to work with high schools, outpatient rehab centers, family medicine offices, and orthopedic physician practices. The preceptor I had at the high school was my contact and reference for getting my current position with St. Elizabeth’s.
Q: What would you tell a student considering the AT Program at the Mount?
Taylor: The Mount helped me succeed both personally and professionally. The Mount encouraged me to explore areas of health care that I might not have considered otherwise. Based on my experiences in the clinic and in one of our research courses, I became more interested in ‘cupping’ which is a therapy technique that has recently gained popularity in the U.S., but has been used in Eastern medicine for centuries. Through the research process and through clinical practice, I was better able to judge for myself its clinical use.
Now I use these methods almost on a daily basis. I know that as an AT I will always be challenged to learn and use new techniques, examine the research, and then to decide for myself how best to address my patients’ needs. I learned those skills throughout my time at the Mount. Finally, I know that as a Mount AT graduate, I can always go back to Dr. Charles-Liscombe and the other program faculty if I need assistance or guidance.
Considering becoming an Athletic Trainer? Join us on March 26th at 6 pm for our next Graduate Information Session.