Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Professional behaviors are critical for fieldwork success and entry-level competency. A convergent mixed-methods institutional case study was utilized as a means to enhance professional behavior outcomes. The Philadelphia Region Fieldwork Consortium (PRFC) Level I Fieldwork Student Evaluation (2nd ed.) was implemented as a pretest posttest measure, in the didactic context, to track one cohort of entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy (OT) students’ professional behavior development during their last academic semester. Students (n=46) and academic professors (n=5) completed pre and posttest ratings across one semester. Paired t-tests demonstrated significant differences between student and faculty ratings and within group difference among students at both time points. Constant comparative analysis of concurrent student journal reflections was triangulated with the PRFC (2nd ed.) categories and quantitative outcomes to gain further insight into student perceptions and experience. Results indicate that OT students’ professional behavior development is developmental and that students are receptive to education on professional behavior expectations and practice. Further research is warranted to develop: 1) a framework to best guide academicians to implement professional behavior curricula within an academic context and 2) a tool with strong psychometric properties that can be consistently utilized within an academic context to measure professionalism. This study adds to a growing body of evidence that supports the need for professional behaviors in OT programs to be consistently assessed and addressed within academia.


Courtney J. Taylor, OTD, OTR/L is an Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator at American International College. She received her BS in Human Development from Binghamton University and her MS and OTD from American International College.

Kate Barlow, OTD, OTR/L, IMH-E® is an Associate Professor at American International College and the CDC’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. Ambassador for the state of Massachusetts. She received her BS in OT from BU, and her MS and OTD from VCU. She has over 20 years of clinical experience.

Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is Professor & Post-Professional OTD Capstone Coordinator in the Division of Occupational Therapy at American International College. Her work focuses on the development and evaluation of life skill interventions and curricula for under represented populations.

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.