Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Occupational therapy is a profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation, and accordingly occupation should permeate all aspects of the profession. Entry-level education is the primary means by which new members of the profession become educated about occupation and its place in occupational therapy practice. Therefore, it is essential that education reflects the core concept of the profession. To date there have been individual opinions about occupation-based education but no studies have documented the characteristics that demonstrate this approach from the perspective of professional leaders. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted to explore professional leaders’ views on, and strategies for, occupation-based entry-level education. Participants were selected through a combination of purposive and network sampling to ensure variation and depth. Six in-depth, semi-structured interviews of approximately 60 minutes duration each, were conducted with leaders from Australia, Canada, and the United States of America via telephone or internet conferencing. These interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Three themes emerged: embodied knowledge and understanding of occupation and its link to health and well-being; deliberate educators who value occupation; and rhetoric versus reality of professional practice. This research demonstrates the critical role individual academics play in the development of students’ understanding of, and passion for, occupation and how it is enacted in practice. Educators must continue to develop their knowledge and skills of occupation as well as effective ways to teach this core concept.


Georgia Canty, BOccThy(Hons) graduated from Griffith University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy with Honours. She currently works as a clinical occupational therapist for North and West Remote Health in Mount Isa, Queensland.

Melanie Roberts, MClinRehab, is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy at Griffith University in Australia. She has professional experience in Australia and the United Kingdom and over the last 10 years has been focusing on education in clinical and academic settings.

Matthew Molineux, PhD is professor and head, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. He has worked clinically, in management, and as an academic in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report not 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.