Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


American Occupational Therapy Association fellowship programs are an emerging post-professional educational opportunity aimed at developing practitioners in specialized areas of occupational therapy practice. Mentored practice is a critical and substantial component of fellowship programs; however, the experiences of mentors and fellows have not been well described in the literature. The purpose of this study was to describe the mentored practice experience from the perspectives of the fellow and mentor. This study sought to understand the perceived influence mentored practice may have on the advancement of skills and knowledge in specialty practice areas of occupational therapy. A qualitative exploratory phenomenological design was used to understand the fellowship experience. Four fellows and eight mentors from three American Occupational Therapy Association-accredited fellowship programs at a single institution participated in semi-structured interviews and provided an in-depth understanding of the mentored practice experience. Interview data was coded and analyzed for themes. Key themes emerged related to the mentoring experience, mentoring relationship, and the perceived influence of mentoring on skill and knowledge development. The mentoring experience in fellowship programs was consistently reported as beneficial by both mentors and fellows, particularly in conjunction with fellowship program learning activities. Findings suggested fellows perceive mentoring as having a positive influence on the development of skills and knowledge. Results suggested a need for improved mentor training and support as well as continued exploration of best practices for supporting the unique needs of the post-professional learner, specifically in assessment methods and feedback delivery.


Jennifer Bergstrom, Ed.D, OTR/L, BCPR is an occupational therapist working in acute care in Rochester, MN. She is a graduate from The University of Wisconsin La Crosse’s OT program and A.T. Still University’s Doctor of Education in Health Professions (EdD) degree program.

Declaration of Interest

The author has 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.