Exploring Anatomy Coursework and Perceptions of Occupational Therapy Students: A Survey Study
Document Type (Journals)
Occupational therapy practitioners utilize their knowledge of human anatomy to understand underlying anatomical dysfunction and how it impacts occupational performance. However, anatomy is not a required standalone course within occupational therapy curricula. This may leave students at a disadvantage throughout occupational therapy programs, fieldwork, and as practitioners. The primary purpose of this study was to explore graduate level occupational therapy students’ previous anatomy undergraduate coursework, student perceived preparedness of anatomical knowledge, and their performance in a mandatory Analysis of Human Movement course within our university’s occupational therapy graduate programs. The secondary purpose was to determine student interest in a standalone online anatomy review course if one were offered at the start of program matriculation. Participants (n=87) completed a 14-item survey regarding demographics, prior anatomy coursework, perceived preparedness, and academic performance in a mandatory Analysis of Human Movement course. Descriptive statistics and a Pearson’s correlation were conducted. Data analysis revealed statistically significant correlations among several variables including perceived preparedness, and whether students felt they would have benefited from and participated in an online anatomy review course. No statistically significant correlations were found between academic performance and any other variable. Data analysis also revealed that regardless of prior anatomy coursework, perceived preparedness, and academic performance almost all participants (n=80; 92%) indicated that they would have benefited from and participated in an online anatomy review course. Though continued research is warranted, occupational therapy programs may consider the implementation of a standalone anatomy course to promote students’ academic and clinical success.
Ashleigh Giles, OTD graduated from Gannon University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program in August of 2020. She is passionate about and anticipates pursuing a career in pediatrics and in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Will Conrad, PT, DPT, EdD, MS is an Associate Professor at Gannon University. He has been a Physical Therapist and Anatomist for over 16 years and is a co-author of the Human Anatomy Synopsis book series. His current research involves spatial aptitude as it relates to the understanding of anatomy.
Dianna Lunsford, OTD, M.Ed., OTR/L, CHT is an associate professor and program director for Gannon University, Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program. She has been an occupational therapist for 25 years, certified hand therapist for 14 years and in academia for almost 10 years.
Kristin A. Valdes, OTD, OTR, CHT is an associate professor for Gannon University Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program. She has been an occupational therapist for over 30 years, a certified hand therapist for almost 20 years and is a past president of the American Society of Hand Therapists.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Giles, A., Conrad, W., Lunsford, D., & Valdes, K. A. (2021). Exploring Anatomy Coursework and Perceptions of Occupational Therapy Students: A Survey Study. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5 (1). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2021.050106
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