The initiative matches students in their final semester with athletic trainers in the field to guide them through their first year as professionals. Mentors will not only continue to build on skills the students have acquired in the program, they will also help address a wide variety of topics new healthcare clinicians face as they transition to practice.
“Our mentors will provide career advice, help with personal and professional development, provide tips on how to manage work-life balance, networking, advocacy, encouragement and more in the graduates’ new career,” says Kim MacLennan, academic services coordinator for the athletic training program.
“Graduates in certain work environments may be the only healthcare provider on site. This makes having a mentor to reach out to even more important,” MacLennan says. “As a group, these mentors have over 200 combined years in the profession. They have already encountered many of the situations that the new graduates will face, and they can assist with many situations they might encounter.”
Although this is the first year of the mentorship program, preceptors, alumni and other stakeholders in the program have already embraced the mentorship program.
“Mentorship allows for the development of a relationship between a professional already working in the field and an athletic trainer transitioning to practice,” says Danielle Platt, a 2010 alumna and the athletic training program director at Troy University. “This is important because it allows the mentor to assist in the professional and personal growth of the mentee as they gain knowledge and increase their already developing skills. As a UCF alumna, I wanted to be able to provide that kind of opportunity for the future of the profession and assist a fellow Knight in figuring out how to navigate the professional world.”
Though mentorship programs are not new in higher education, this post-graduation mentorship program is a first of its kind.
“I don’t know of any other program that has an organized mentorship program that links mentors with students right before they graduate,” said Kristen Schellhase, director of the UCF Athletic Training program. “This will help students with their transition into professional practice as they will have already established a relationship with someone who is invested in their success.”