National Athletic Trainers’ Association helps connect certified athletic trainers with hospitals amid COVID-19 pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress the U.S. health care system, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association has teamed up with Go4Ellis, a mobile job platform, to provide short-staffed hospitals around the country with certified athletic trainers willing to help, according to a NATA press release.
The partnership will allow thousands of qualified athletic trainers, who are currently distanced from their patients, to find new roles in hospitals and pop-up health care systems nationwide.
NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC, considers athletic trainers (ATs) who are certified (ATCs) to be well-versed in the spectrum of health care services. With skills ranging from prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, ATCs often work alongside physicians in clinical settings.
“ATs are versatile,” Lindley told Healio Orthopedics. “They have a skill set along the full continuum of care. They can easily step in - and have stepped in - to work patient histories; to screen patients; to administer the tests; [and] to connect the telehealth piece between ATs, nurses and physicians; and other ATs are also engaged in the treatment side of patients who have been unfortunate enough to have the virus.”
With half of NATA’s membership in settings like high school and collegiate athletics, Lindley saw an opportunity to be part of the solution.
“These are new roles and new positions that are needed given the relative shortage, when you consider what type of stress a pandemic can put on a health care system,” Lindley said. “NATA needed to find a way to connect the athletic trainer who is ready to step up and put them in a place to do so, and that’s where our partnership with Go4Ellis came into play.”
The Go4Ellis app, which Lindley considers a two-way valve, uses the national connection of NATA with the local connections of its state associations to put ATCs in contact with hospitals in need.
“We have over 10,000 athletic trainers who are connected with and signed up on the Go4Ellis app to be able to be in a position to connect with these jobs and connect with these opportunities,” he said. “It’s been a concerted, multifaceted effort between NATA, Go4Ellis and then our grassroots effort through all 51 - including [Washington,] D.C. - state associations across the country.”
The extent to which these ATCs will be utilized as health care providers in still unclear.
“The hope is that we don’t have the need and that the need flattens out like we’ve talked about with the curve flattening out, but it’s exciting to see ATs step up, and we’re really proud of the NATA moving very quickly to be a part of the solution,” Lindley said.
“When you consider any sideline on a Friday night, a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday afternoon, the relative chaos that an athletic trainer is used to, in terms of front-line health care, is going to serve them very well in these types of environments,” Lindley said. “Some of the anecdotes and stories that we’re hearing already are really not surprising to see - to hear how well athletic trainers are able to adapt to these type of pop-up health care systems in a time of crisis.”
Nick DePhillipo, PhD, ATC, OTC, an athletic trainer with Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minnesota, noted how adaptable and useful ATCs can be, especially in emergencies.
“Athletic trainers often end up doing the jobs that they were not formally trained to do, such as health care administration, assisting orthopedic surgeons and providing emergency response. Therefore, it does not surprise me that ATCs have jumped into action during this time of crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic,” DePhillipo told Healio Orthopedics. “They tend to strive in hectic environments and are tasked with making definitive decisions under high scrutiny. This makes them a perfect fit for hospitals and clinics during this time of global crisis.”
“It’s times like these when I am proud to be a part of a profession that is constantly devoted to helping others in need,” he said. - by Max R. Wursta