ATHLETIC TRAINER FEATURE
Describe your setting:
I am a Clinic Coordinator and work as an AT for Dr. Peter
Millett at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. The
Steadman Clinic delivers orthopaedic care whether the
patient is an injured professional athlete or wants to be able
to walk again without pain. The clinic specializes in knee, hip,
shoulder, elbow, hand, spine, foot and ankle injuries.
How long have you worked in this setting?
I have worked in this setting for 3 years.
Describe your typical day:
I usually arrive around 7:00am or 7:30am and begin
preparing for clinic or surgery. This typically involves
reviewing the patients for the day and making sure we have
all notes and images we need for their visit. If we are having
a clinic day, we usually start by seeing the patients who
had surgery the prior day either in physical therapy or in the
hospital to make sure they are ready to go home. We then
My main responsibilities include seeing the patients initially,
formulating a differential diagnosis for new patients and
determining how surgical patients are recovering from their
surgery. I then go in with Dr. Millett and see the patient
and coordinate any follow-up care the patient may need,
including MRI, labs or surgery. We also have another AT and
2 Physician Assistants (PAs) who do the same thing. We
typically see 30 to 40 patients per day. At the end of the day,
I make sure there are no outstanding issues such as MRI
authorizations, patient phone questions and missing notes.
After that, I dictate about all of the patients I saw that day.
On surgical days, I get in about the same time and help
make sure we are ready for all of our cases for the day. We
typically do 7 to 10 cases a day. We make sure the patients
know what procedure we are performing and that they are
comfortable with the procedure. We also go over post-
operative pain management medications to make sure there
are no contraindications to the medications. I then either
scrub in and act as a first assistant in surgery or I stay in
clinic and catch up on paperwork. That way I’m available for
patients who call in with questions or concerns.
What do you like about your position?
I like being on a team of healthcare professionals who
include orthopedic surgeons, PAs and ATs. I also enjoy that
we have a fellowship program for both ATs and physicians,
with whom we can exchange knowledge.
What do you dislike about your position?
The insurance industry is getting harder and harder to get
approval from in a timely manner. As a clinic, we try to get
patients everything they need within 24 hours. Unfortunately,
insurance companies do not always see it that way.
What advice do you have about your practice setting
for a young AT looking at this setting?
I would advise young ATs to get some experience prior to
coming to this setting. This is still a relatively new setting and
role for our profession. We need to be very knowledgeable
of injuries and be able to diagnose independently and
IN-DEPTH LOOk: An AT in an Orthopaedic Clinic
Athletic Trainer Joe Cygan
Joe Cygan, MS, ATC, OTC, RMSK is a Clinic Coordinator for an orthopaedic clinic. In this role, he works as an AT
and extends the services of the physician in an orthopaedic clinic.