Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Occupational therapy (OT) educators have recognized the need to facilitate student professional development along a continuum of behavior that leads them toward professionalism. Reflection has often been a tool assisting in that process. The teaching of professional behavior has been a curricular thread throughout entry-level OT programs. Few studies exist, however, that have measured use of a self-assessment tool for reflection and development of professional behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine how self-perception of professional behaviors changed in two cohorts of an entry-level occupational therapy program. Investigators compared two cohorts of students at two points in time for both longitudinal and cross-sectional differences. Participants demonstrated significant increase from Time 1 to Time 2 in a greater number of professional behaviors in the area of Fieldwork vs. Academics. Students demonstrated unequal growth in categories, suggesting that academic environments may prompt growth in different professional behaviors than do fieldwork environments. In comparing the two cohorts, the second-year cohort demonstrated significantly higher scores in clinical reasoning (at Time 1), communication, and responsibility and reliability (at Time 2). Qualitative data suggested that students perceived reflection as a valuable tool for observing improvement and goal-setting in professional behaviors. Investigators summarized that self-reflection prompted awareness of changes in professional behaviors among entry-level OT students. Authors recommend utilizing both quantitative and qualitative means of self-reflection, with individualized review with academic advisors, in order to facilitate growth in professional behaviors.


Brenda S. Howard, DHSc, OTR is Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Indianapolis. She currently serves as the Member-At-Large on the AOTA Ethics Commission.

Rebecca Barton, DHS, OTR, FAOTA is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at the University of Indianapolis. She currently serves on the Indiana Professional Licensing Board Occupational Therapy Committee.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.