Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Human patient simulation uses technology to add advancements to learning that traditional learning methods cannot. Many programs are fast-paced and do not provide students with many hands-on experiences before clinical experiences. The literature notes the benefits of human patient simulation in other healthcare programs, yet limited studies exist in occupational therapy. This study examined student perspectives on the use of human patient simulators in occupational therapy curriculum. 146 first year master of occupational therapy students completed an open-ended survey after an evaluation experience with a physiologically based human patient simulator. Responses were collected during four consecutive years. Transcripts were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Four themes emerged and centered on the value of hands-on learning, team and family dynamics, the human experience, and relevance of clinically applicable skills. Findings indicate that students perceive this type of learning as beneficial before taking the next step towards fieldwork, and programs should consider offering a variety of simulated patient cases throughout the curriculum.


Rosanne DiZazzo-Miller, Ph.D., DrOT, OTRL, CDP, FMiOTA is an Associate Professor in the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at Wayne State University. Her research expertise is in (1) training and quality of life for caregivers of people with dementia in terms of (2) needs assessment and analysis for community-dwelling individuals living with chronic conditions, and (3) the scholarship of teaching and learning, interprofessional teaching and learning, and instructional design, delivery. She secured $38,355 internal grant funding as PI or Co-PI, and an additional $70,954 as a Co-PI. She is the lead editor of three books, author of chapters in leading textbooks in the occupational therapy profession and has published several peer-reviewed research papers based on both qualitative and quantitative methodology. Dr. DiZazzo-Miller led student research groups to win best research poster at state conferences and was awarded the highest teaching honor at Wayne State University in 2016 – The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She was named to the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association Roster of Fellows in 2017 and became an Academic Leadership Academy Fellow at WSU in 2019.

Alexandra Mariani, MS is a graduate of the Master of Occupational Therapy program at Wayne State University. She is currently working toward obtaining her national certification and Michigan license to practice as an OTR/L. Alex has experience working as a rehabilitation technician at HealthQuest Physical Therapy and as a behavior technician at University Pediatricians and LifeLab Kids Foundation.

Fredrick D. Pociask, PT, Ph.D., MS PT, OCS, FAAOMPT is an associate professor in the Department of Health Care Sciences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Pociask completed his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at Wayne State University in 2004 and his BS and MS in Physical Therapy at Oakland University in 1990 and 1996. Dr. Pociask is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists. Dr. Pociask’s research interests include the reduction of cognitive load in the design of complex instruction and the design of effective asynchronous web-based blended learning, as well as orthopedic interventions in the management of spinal and extremity disorders across the lifespan.

Declaration of Interest

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.