Caring for others is a central ideal of most health care professions. The ability to facilitate caring behaviors in occupational therapy students is essential to developing students who are well prepared to provide both technically and emotionally competent care. This study explored the early concepts of care of Master of Science Occupational Therapy students at the start of their graduate education through use of a questionnaire and follow-up interviews. The three most frequently identified student concepts of care were: (1) caring as it relates to time, (2) caring as a personal quality, and (3) caring through their communication with clients. Students also identified more frequently with negative past experiences in their responses but were not consciously aware of the impact of these experiences on their view of caring. Lastly, students were limited in their inclusion of social, cultural and socioeconomic factors in their responses and had difficulty resolving the conflict between treating everyone equally, and modifying care based on the impact of these factors. Results can inform occupational therapy education programs on how best to identify and facilitate comprehensive caring behaviors in students during the educational process. Further, the results provide a baseline for future evaluation of changes in these behaviors and beliefs over the course of the occupational therapy education process.
James Battaglia, MA, OTR/L, CHT is currently an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at Hofstra University. He received his Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy from NYU in 2001 and was certified in hand therapy in 2006. Mr. Battaglia is currently completing his EdD in Learning and Teaching at Hofstra University.
Declaration of Interest
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Battaglia, J. (2019). Concepts of Caring: Uncovering Early Concepts of Care in Practice for First Year Occupational Therapy Students. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 3 (1). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2019.030102
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