Providing occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) students with collaborative educational experiences can foster an understanding of role delineation and lay the foundation for positive relationships in future work environments. Offering these experiences during the didactic portion of the curriculum can provide a deeper understanding of the OT-OTA relationship and encourage greater intraprofessional collaboration in fieldwork settings and as practitioners. This project was an intraprofessional educational experience between students enrolled in a graduate OT master’s degree program and students enrolled in an OTA program. In the first phase students met and socialized with each other, discussed role delineation, completed case studies, and planned group interventions. In the second phase, students led groups at a community based work activity center for adults with intellectual disabilities and spent more time in intraprofessional collaboration as they debriefed and discussed their experience. To assess student understanding and perceptions of the learning experience, a survey was administered to all student participants for the past two years, 2016 and 2017. The majority of the 78 respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the preparatory meeting and implementation of groups increased understanding of the OT-OTA role and role delineation; the learning experience promoted a beginning working relationship between the OT-OTA; the learning experience was effective in promoting the application of learned skills/information; and they would recommend this learning experience for future OT-OTA students.
Nancy E. Carson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA has been practicing occupational therapy for over 30 years and currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy graduate program at the Medical University of SC. She earned a PhD in Public Health from the University of South Carolina.
Joy Crawford, MSRS, OTR/L has been practicing occupational therapy for over 24 years and currently serves as the OTA Program Coordinator at Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. She earned a Master’s degree from the Medical University of SC and is currently seeking the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Nadine Hanner, MSOT, OTR/L has been practicing occupational therapy for 20 years and currently serves as the OTA Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. She earned a Master’s degree from Belmont University and is currently seeking the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Carson, N. E., Crawford, J., & Hanner, N. (2018). Creating Opportunities for OT-OTA Student Learning Through Community Collaborations. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 2 (2). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2018.020208
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