Athletic trainers (AT) are health care professionals typically found on the sidelines of sporting events, ready to take action and provide immediate medical care to athletes that acquire an injury. However, an athletic trainer’s scope reaches far beyond acute care of injuries. ATs in the field can also implement injury prevention tactics, clinically diagnose injuries, provide therapeutic interventions, and educate patients to better provide patient centered care.
Here at Missoula Bone & Joint we recognize the wide scope of an athletic trainer. We not only have ATs serving at high schools across Western Montana and other local sporting events, but we have also integrated their skills within the clinic setting. By utilizing ATs in the clinic, it improves the general flow of a patient’s visit and allows for thorough and quality care. Our goal is to ensure a patient’s questions have been answered before they leave their clinic visit.
One of the ways athletic trainers help to achieve this goal is in the physician extender role. In this position, ATs meet with patients after they see a provider and give instruction on home exercise programs, education before and/or after surgery, and assistive device training (eg. how to safely use crutches). These ATs work in close conjunction with the goals of the physicians and physician assistants to provide the most accurate and pertinent information to patients. Your time with the AT in the physician extender role is part of a clinic visit charge. If patients are in need of some instruction on how to care for their injury before committing to physical therapy, this service is a great stepping stone between injury and formalized physical therapy.
The utilization of athletic trainers at Missoula Bone & Joint doesn’t stop with physician extenders. We have athletic trainers that work as Orthopedic Assistants, as DME assistants (fitting braces and supplying cold therapy units), or as Physical Therapists that obtain dual credentials.
Along with all of these roles, the integration of athletic trainers at Missoula Bone & Joint is continuing to expand. ATs will soon be part of the medical team at the new Outpatient Surgery Center teaching pre-surgery total joint classes. These classes will educate patients and help them to prepare prior to surgery in order to have the best experience and outcome for every procedure. The athletic training staff has been closely coordinating with physicians, PAs, and other staff to develop the Total Joint Classes that will provide in depth and pertinent information to patients prior to these major surgeries. We are all looking forward to being integrated in a new and exciting way at Missoula Bone & Joint.
Most importantly, we are delighted to continue serving patients in the variety of ways both inside and outside the clinic.
Bella Callis, MS, ATC, LAT, Missoula Bone & Joint Athletic Trainer