Over the past decade, there has been an increased emphasis on evidence-based practice (EBP) and the use of outcome measurement in clinical practice, however, the implementation of evidence into practice remains challenging and irregular. During fieldwork, students often experience a disconnect between the emphasis on EBP in the classroom and lack of use in the clinic. Recognizing the need to develop high-quality, evidence-based and data-driven models of practice for student training, we partnered with local fieldwork educators to develop an innovative program that guides students and simultaneously trains fieldwork educators (FWE) in the use of a systematic data driven decision making (DDDM) process to infuse evidence into practice. Using a pre-post quasi-experimental design, we evaluated the impact of this program on students’ perceived knowledge and skills in use of EBP and DDDM. A focus group with participating fieldwork educators captured their knowledge and attitudes in the use of EBP and DDDM in their clinical sites. Eleven FWEs and twenty four students participated. Results revealed significant change in students’ knowledge and skill in use of EBP and DDDM. FWEs reported the program clarified the role of occupational therapy, enhanced communication, and validated the value of occupational therapy in their clinical site. This program serves as a model for training students to implement evidence and data driven approaches in clinical practice, thus bridging the gap between classroom and clinic.


Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University. Amy is also the Promoting Environments that Measure Outcomes (PrEMO) Facilitator. E. Adel Herge, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Director of the Combined BSMS OT Program at Thomas Jefferson University. She is also the Assistant Director for Simulation for Jefferson College of Health Professions. Lindsay Johnson, OTS is an occupational therapy student at Thomas Jefferson University, with expected graduation in August 2017. She is also a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and a graduate assistant at the university. Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is a professor and the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University. She is also a faculty member for the Farber Institute of Neurosciences.

Declaration of Interest

This study was supported by Jefferson College of Health Professions Dean's Research Award.