Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The increase in interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities provides an excellent opportunity for occupational therapy (OT) educators to partner with other health professions to deepen the understanding of how the OT profession adds value to future healthcare teams. The purpose of this study was to describe the development and impact of a curricular unit about the OT profession that was integrated into an established IPE program for medical, advanced practice nursing, pharmacy and social work students. A Needs Assessment was conducted by embedding an OT consultant within interprofessional student teams working in clinical environments over six weeks to observe baseline understanding of how student primary care teams work with OT professionals. From these observations, a curricular unit was designed that included lecture, interactive work stations, and case studies. Students completed pre and post surveys in order to assess their learning. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of pre and post surveys indicated a significant increase in knowledge, application of information, and confidence to refer to and utilize OT in clinical practice. Interprofessional students learned about OT scope of practice, possible interventions, and examples of appropriate referrals. The curricular unit provided an excellent example of how OT professionals can partner with health professions schools to provide content about OT when OT students are not accessible. Future improvements include assessment of longitudinal impact of the curriculum on health professions behavior, including impact on patient referrals to OT by primary care teams.


Julie Woodnorth, OTR/L, OTD, RN is a practicing OT at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her doctorate from Belmont University. Curricular development and partnership with Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL) to encourage interprofessional education was her capstone experiential component focus.

Heather A. Davidson, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Medical Education & Administration at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and served as Director for the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL) from 2010-2018. She holds a doctorate in Psychological Science with an emphasis in community psychology and program evaluation.

Declaration of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts 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.