Monday, November 22, 2010

Let's Talk Money

Over the weekend I had a chance to catch up on the last several months of reading the NATA News. A bus trip from Nac to Lubbock has to have a positive side, right? A hot topic was low salaries so I’ll take this opportunity to chime in on the subject.

Let me start out by saying I feel like there are very, very few athletic trainers who get paid what they are worth. I won’t even touch on the topic of the long hours we work or the immense value of what we do. Let’s just talk money.

In the August issue of NATA News Peggy Houlgum (If you don’t have her rehab book get it, fantastic) addresses the issue of AT’s continually filling low paying jobs and internships, despite knowing they are worth more. She states that AT’s commonly accept these positions as a “way to get in the door.” I completely agree that the low salaries offered for assistant positions or internships are ridiculous and there is no excuse for it. When a university gives coaches salaries in the millions I find it impossible to believe they don’t have the money for respectable salaries for their entire athletic training staff. The money is there but the management knows they don’t have to pay it because they can get quality help for peanuts just because they are a big name school.

Definitely a case of having one’s priorities out of whack. However, I do feel that there is a constructive place for interns in the collegiate setting. If an intern is used by the definition of the word and is truly receiving guidance and direction from other staff AT’s it can be a great experience for the intern.

Let’s face it -- not everyone is ready to be out on their own just because they have a degree and passed a test. An intern position can also be a way for the college’s athletic department to get a foot hold on acquiring funding for another fulltime staff member. Once a position is added it’s easy for everyone to see the value and it’s much easier to ask for a little more salary each year then an entirely new position.

With that being said the head AT must be willing to continue to push for the intern position to become a fulltime assistant with a respectable salary. Ms. Houlgum also argues AT’s should refuse to take jobs with low salaries. Easier said than done. Less than five years ago I took a low-paying, entry-level position because I was fresh out of grad school and flat broke. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. My head AT got me a small raise after my first year and then graciously helped me move on to a better paying job after two years.

It was at that low-paying job that I learned just how rewarding our job is and how much I really enjoy our profession. The intrinsic rewards of our profession easily overcome the low salaries. We just have to be our own number one advocates and not to be afraid to ask for a salary increase or move on to another job if the current employer refuses to pay us what we are worth.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Arkansas Athletic Trainers Association - Young Professionals - Christmas Service Project

On Behalf of the AATA Young Professionals Committee, I would like to take this time to invite you to participate in our Christmas Service Project. Guess What?! You can participate in person OR from the comfort of your own home!!! How you may ask?!?!? Well, it is simple! Keep reading and I will provide you with all the details!!!!

What is our Christmas Service Project?
Donating toys to the Arkansas Childrens Hospital Toy Drive -- all toys will be donated in the name of AATA!

How to Participate?
Send either money or a toy to the following address no later than DECEMBER 10th:

Erin Harmon
11314 Ethan Allen
Little Rock, AR 72211

How will this work??
All donations are accepted. If you would like to purchase a toy and mail it to us, great. For those who may not know what to buy, or only want to donate a couple of dollars, we will collect all money and then go out and purchase toys.

When is the Toy Drive?
December 17th (Time to be announced)

I am attaching a flier with more detailed information. Please, take the time to look this over!! We, as an organization, want the community to support US, so LET'S support the community!!

Thanks for your time! If you have any questions, please, do NOT hesitate to contact me!


Alison L Moore MS, LAT, ATC
Delegate At-Large, AATA Executive Board
YPC Member (personal email) (work email)
(501) 472 - 5400 (cell)

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Post - Same topic

A while ago I talked about being visible, and creating relationships with your administrators. I am going to reiterate this again. This week, we were charged with helping complete the FitnessGram. WOOOHOOO!!! For those of you that don't know about the FitnessGram, I will brief you. Dr. Cooper of the Cooper Institute felt it necessary to lobby for fitness testing of all students in the public schools in Texas. So the Texas congress again mandated another "Test", more work, more expense, and didn't give any additional funding to complete it. (jumping on a quick soap box) Just FYI, this is just one way your tax dollars, and children's education are being wasted. So much time and money are being wasted on worthless requirements(i.e.Steriod Testing, how about just Drug Testing) its a wonder schools accomplish anything meaningful anymore. If you want you can contact me directly and I have no problem expanding on this subject(Stepping down now).

Back to the topic at hand. When we(FRHS Athletic Trainers) are given a task like FitnessGram, we do it to the best of our abilities and with a smile on our face. Our principals know that they can count on us. We send a representative to every faculty meeting. We stand outside the doors between classes to be visible. We have recently been asked to do a lunch duty that takes all of 15 minutes, every other class day. So yes, I put a smile on my face and check kids into lunch detention for 15 minutes of my day, every 6 class days. When TAKS testing comes around, we deliver lunches, dictionaries, and baby sit kids in the cafeteria. Those days we typically don't have anything to do before 10:00. Pretty sweet gig I think!!!

My point is this. Yes, these are things that are "not my job". But if you look in your job description, "other duties as assigned" typically shows up somewhere. Yesterday a co-worker asked if our principal was always on our case like she was his. We told him no. He just couldn't figure out why this principal was always getting on to him about something. This person didn't go to any faculty meetings for years, shows up late to in service, complains about his 3 class load, and gripes about getting assigned an easy duty like FitnessGram(which got him out of the classroom for a few days). So when TAKS testing comes around, you know where he is? He is in a room where he has to sit quietly and do nothing but stare at kids and not talk to anyone, no computer, no IPhone, for hours on end. You know why? Because if he did what we did during TAKS, he would be bugging us and the administrators about how much time of his was being wasted. So they give him the "crap job" so they don't have to be around that kind of negativity. They give us the sweet gig.

Long story short(if you made it this far), if your higher ups give you a task to do that, "is not your job", do it to the best of your ability and with a smile on your face. Let them know you are a team player. Do not run and hide, or walk the other direction when they come your way. Walk up to them and greet them. When they ask "how are you today?" I always say "Wonderful! Busy, but we are doing great. Yeah, we have treatments, 2 classes, 5 events tonight, and track is starting up. So we're busy but making the best of it. Is there something I can do for you?" Most of the time the response is, "No, but have you seen ___, I need him to do ____ and I cant ever find him." We come out smelling like a rose!!!! Our adminstrators love us, and will stand up for us no matter what.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Susan G Komen 3 day for the cure

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining the sports medicine crew at the Susan G Komen 3 day for the cure. This was my third year to volunteer but this year was so different for several reasons. First, a very good friend was walking this year for the women in his life. It was amazing to see him walk all 3 days and finish the last day to so many hugs from family and friends. Second, it was the first year I worked the last day and was able to see the closing ceremonies. It took my breath away! You would not believe the thousands of thank yous we received! Thirdly, this was the third year to work this event with my wonderful husband Troy. We have a dear family member who is currently battling breast cancer and we have vowed to work the 3 day every year in support. Here are some of the pictures from the weekend:
The survivor celebration !!

YP Kelley Henderson hard at work!

SWATA President David Traylor walking for a cure!!