BACKGROUND: Characteristics of transformational and servant leadership appear highly similar to traits of mentorship. Clinical educator mentorship is an expectation of preceptors and is associated with first-attempt success on the national certification exam for athletic trainers. This study aimed to determine if athletic training graduates associate leadership in clinical education with mentorship. METHODS: Board of Certification research services distributed an email invitation to complete the researcher-developed online Leadership in Clinical Education survey (LCE) to 4500 athletic trainers who had certified within the prior two years. One-hundred ninety (4%) graduates responded. The survey contains statements about 16 leadership behaviors written as Likert-type items that are replicated into 2 scales: a behavior agreement scale and a behavior frequency scale. Both scales demonstrated excellent reliability as was determined by Cronbach’s alpha (.960 for agreement scale, .946 for frequency scale). Frequency and agreement scales are summed for an overall leadership score and respondents use a sliding scale to indicate the extent to which they consider the preceptor from whom they learned the most about leadership to be their mentor. Pearson correlation analyzed the relationship between perceptions of leadership and mentorship. RESULTS: Pearson correlation revealed a moderate positive correlation between overall leadership score and mentorship score as was determined by the sliding scale response, r(188)=.384, p<.001. Not all data were normally distributed, as was determined by Shapiro-Wilk’s test (p<.001), but the sample size was adequate to lessen any impact of non-normality. CONCLUSIONS: Athletic training graduates seem to consider preceptors who display more leadership behaviors more frequently in clinical education to be mentors. To foster mentoring relationships between athletic training students and their preceptors, athletic training programs may choose to consider clinical education placements with preceptors who exhibit more leadership characteristics.

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