Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Occupational therapy (OT) educators strive to design learning experiences to enhance OT students’ clinical reasoning and promote preparedness for the complexities of clinical practice. Occupational therapy programs have collaborated with the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association and taken a novel approach to the development of interprofessional experiential learning through student-led ALS Caregiver Learning Labs (CLLs). A retrospective pre-test post-test study was completed to identify outcomes related to participation in three different ALS CLLs embedded into a master’s level OT curriculum. A 6-point rating scale questionnaire was used to assess students’ perception of their clinical reasoning, clinical skills, and comfort level. Improvement was noted in the level of comfort when interacting with caregivers and students' perceptions of their clinical skills and clinical reasoning improved across all questions. In addition, students completed a case study assignment to examine clinical reasoning performance. On average, post-lab scores were higher than pre-lab scores for each question, and the differences were statistically significant with the level of significance at p < 0.05. Results suggest that a CLL experience is an effective learning method to increase students' comfort level interacting with caregivers, enhance students' perception of clinical reasoning ability, and improve clinical reasoning skills. Occupational therapy students benefited from the experience at different levels of progression, delivery methods, and opportunities for interprofessional interaction. Occupational therapy programs at other institutions may benefit from embedding a CLL into the curriculum to meet the needs of the community while improving students’ clinical reasoning and enhancing the ability to provide client-centered care.


Susan Hoey, OTD, MS, OTR/L, ATP is an associate professor in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program at Allen College. She has twenty-five years of clinical experience in a hospital setting. Dr. Hoey earned her clinical doctorate from Mount Mary University and her master’s degree from Washington University.

Jessica Henaughan, MS, OTR/L recently earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from Allen College. She is beginning her career in the skilled nursing facility setting.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

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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.