Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald D. Flowers, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth A. Broughton, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Carmen M. McCallum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jeff Schulz, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to understand how students experience the clinical component of their preparation and the phenomenon of integration. Integration is the application of scientific content knowledge into a setting that reflects the real world of practice. Within the athletic training literature, this concept of integration, or the bridging of didactic and clinical preparation, is often referred to as clinical integration The concept of integration has been studied, but unfortunately, it has not been studied from the perspective of athletic training students. My goal was to conduct a qualitative research study using phenomenological research methods to understand how athletic training students experienced integration. My unit of analysis for this research was seven athletic training students. I interviewed each participant to gain an understanding of his/her lifeworld and to understand three research questions:

• How do students experience and understand their didactic preparation?

• How do students experience and understand their clinical preparation?

• How do students experience and understand the connection between their didactic and clinical preparation?

Participants valued relationships formed in the classroom with their peers, and relationships formed at their clinical sites with their patients, and most notably, with their preceptors. This study found the essence of the concept of clinical integration is actually seeing in the real world that you know. When students are given the opportunity to try it out, the explicit knowledge becomes tacit through the adaptation of their reflective skills.