Little is known about how athletic trainers (ATs) learn clinical documentation, but previous studies have identified that ATs desire a need for more educational resources specific to documentation.


To obtain ATs’ perspectives on learning clinical documentation.


Qualitative study.


Web-based audio interviews.

Patients or Other Participants:

29 ATs who completed two different continuing education (CE) clinical documentation modules. Participants averaged 36.2±9.0 years of age and included 16 women and 13 men representing 21 U.S. states and 8 clinical practice settings.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Participants were recruited from a group of ATs who completed one of two web-based CE clinical documentation modules. Within 3 weeks of completing the educational modules, participants were interviewed regarding their perceptions of how they learn clinical documentation, including their experiences completing the modules. Using the Consensual Qualitative Research approach, 3 researchers and 1 internal auditor inductively analyzed the data during 5 rounds of consensus coding. Trustworthiness measures included multi-analyst triangulation, data source triangulation, and peer review.


Two themes emerged from the data, including 1) mechanisms of learning documentation and 2) benefits of the educational modules. ATs primarily learn documentation through professional education and workforce training, but training appears to be inconsistent. Participants perceived both educational modules were effective at increasing their knowledge and confidence related to learning documentation. The CE modules incited a growth mindset and intention to change behavior.


ATs are satisfied with web-based CE learning experiences specific to clinical documentation and may benefit from more CE offered in these formats. Educators are encouraged to integrate clinical documentation principles throughout the curriculum, during both didactic and clinical education. Workforce training is also valuable for improving knowledge and skills related to clinical documentation, and employers should onboard and support ATs as they start new positions.