Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


In response to COVID-19, the widespread cancellation of professional practice placements, and the increased uptake of telehealth, Monash University Department of Occupational Therapy developed a simulated clinical placement adapted for online delivery. This paper describes the placement, and reports on the benefits and challenges of participating from the student perspective. This exploratory, descriptive study used a cross-sectional design with a web-based survey administered to students who completed the placement. Participants were first year Master of Occupational Therapy Practice students (n = 33), and second year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy students (n = 32). Numerical data were analyzed descriptively. Content of the open text responses were analyzed using content analysis. The majority of students reported they found the placement either extremely useful or moderately useful. The aspect reported as being the most useful was receiving immediate supervisor feedback, followed by interviewing a patient and interviewing a stakeholder. Working in a telehealth environment was identified as extremely or moderately useful by most students. Four content categories were identified: An incredible chance to practice in a safe environment; The good and the bad about working in groups; Too many tasks to juggle; and Online delivery prepares for working in telehealth. Use of telehealth in occupational therapy practice will continue into the future. Educators therefore need to ensure their graduates have the skills needed for this practice area. Participating in a simulated clinical placement delivered online enables students to practice communication in a safe environment, while gaining valuable skills to prepare for working in telehealth.


Linda Barclay, PhD, MOT, BAppSc (OT) is a Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator of the Masters of Occupational Therapy Practice at Monash University. She has been involved in developing curriculum and has taught extensively in both undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Barclay's research interests include community integration outcomes for people with spinal cord injury.

Eli Chu, PhD, GCHE, BSc (OT) has extensive clinical experiences in pain management; rehabilitation for adults with rheumatism, neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries and complex geriatric care before her academic career in 2012. Dr. Chu has extensive experience in curriculum design, and is passionate about using simulation and experiential learning in teaching and educational research. Her main research interests include health related quality of life studies, rehabilitation, pain management, and educational research.

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.