Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Clinical doctoral education for occupational therapy includes the acquisition of advanced clinical reasoning skills, leadership capacity, and opportunities for professional development and career achievement. Post-professional students represent motivated individuals seeking to enhance their education, experiences, and explore professional growth opportunities. While not required, the final semester of a clinical doctoral program typically includes a doctoral experiential component (DEC), or culminating project. The purpose of this retrospective, mixed-methods study was to examine the DEC goals and experiences of post-professional occupational therapy doctoral (POTD) students. A total of 49 student DEC proposals, each including multiple personal goals, were categorized according to one or more POTD program goals. The most frequently selected long-term DEC goals by participants in this study were developing educative roles (n = 37, 27.30%), scholarly activities (n = 31, 22.96%), and advanced clinical skills (n = 31, 22.96). The DEC goals developed by the students were also categorized according to the experience as perceived by the students. Three primary areas of growth experienced by the students during their DEC were: (1) improved self-awareness and confidence through reflection, (2) a challenging, yet fulfilling, experience and (3) translation of new knowledge and skills to practice. The outcomes of this study may offer insight for administrators and prospective students of post-professional programs and align with the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Vision 2025 to produce effective and collaborative leaders capable of implementing evidence-based, client-centered, and cost-effective treatment to influence the complexities of healthcare.


Angela M. Lampe, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University.

Vanessa D. Jewell, PhD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University.

Rebecca Dunn, OTD, Thomas Lawson, OTD, Erin Stewart, OTD and Jordane Linhart, OTD were Occupational Therapy Doctoral Students at Creighton University at the time of the study.

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.