Oct 11, 2017Ready to Renovate
Who doesn’t want a new facility? More storage, more room, better equipment, an expanded rehabilitation repertoire, and pride can come along with a new athletic training room. So how do you go about getting it?
Believe it or not, it starts on your very first day at your job. How you conduct yourself everyday with coaches, administrators, parents, and athletes, your professionalism, how you manage your budget, and how involved you are with your school community all have contributing roles in getting that new facility. Do you make yourself important or valuable?
If not, one way you can do it is through documentation. While I know this has been discussed at length at every district meeting, we still have members who do not see the importance of regular, daily, and comprehensive documentation. It is important to track the number of visits to your facility, as well as the numbers and types of rehabilitation you do. Documentation is not just for providing a continuum of care and protecting all parties, it is also important for all aspects of our jobs.
While you might think documentation is a daunting task, some electronic medical records already incorporate it in their programming, and it can be as easy as setting up your own Excel spreadsheet. Don’t know how to do that? Go see a business teacher at your school and have it become a project for an advanced student. Once it’s done, you can use the data that you collect to make data-driven decisions. Oftentimes, administrators are amazed at how much we athletic trainers do on a daily basis.
Once we had shown the administration our skill set and what we were doing not just for student-athletes, but also for the maintenance staff, teachers, and coaches, we were able to have some discussions about a new athletic training space.
So back to the facility. If in fact you make yourself valuable and your administration sees this, now you need to be realistic in your goals. Will you get a brand new structure, or will you get a reassigned area that is larger than your current facility? Sometimes the stars align in your favor, but other times, it’s the luck of the draw. It all depends on how your entire school community views your value.
In my situation at Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City, Pa., we have upgraded our facilities twice in the past 18 years. I know for a fact both were because of all the proactive measures I mentioned above. We were able to show how many student-athletes we provided service to, as well as what services and what dollar value we saved the school and community since they did not have to seek services elsewhere. We also were able to show that student-athletes were missing less school due to the rehabilitation we provided on a daily basis. Again, data-driven decisions are commonplace, so you need to be able to provide the data.
Once we had shown the administration our skill set and what we were doing not just for student-athletes, but also for the maintenance staff, teachers, and coaches, we were able to have some discussions about a new athletic training space. With a seat at the table, we were able to share our vision for the new room. We kept in mind that we had to be realistic and not out of control with our desires. That meant reeling in some of the features of our “dream” facility to match the budget of the renovation.
If you have never experienced a school renovation, know that many hands are often involved, some of which will need to be educated on what athletic trainers do and why we want things a certain way. In the end, your new facility might not be the one you originally envisioned, but I am sure it will be a larger, more up-to-date space that will better serve your student-athletes and the school community.