Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Standardized patient encounters are being utilized more often in occupational therapy education as a replacement for traditional fieldwork. While there is a growing body of research to support the use of this model in developing student skillsets and confidence, there remains limited information on the topic, and no studies which look at its use with occupational therapy assistant students. Twenty-four occupational therapy assistant students participated in standardized patient encounters which served as a replacement for traditional Level I fieldwork. All students completed an anonymous supplementary course evaluation regarding their experiences. A secondary analysis of the data looked at their perceptions of a standardized patient encounter model for fieldwork and how it did or did not prepare them for future Level II clinicals. Quantitative and qualitative data exposed aspects of these experiences which students found to be most and least effective. Overall, data showed moderate support for use of standardized patient encounters to support student confidence and skills in anticipation of Level II fieldwork. The student perception of these types of experiences is influenced by environmental (e.g., structure) and personal (e.g., student personality) factors. Success requires adequate preparation of all involved parties. Use of standardized patient encounters should be researched further to determine its impact on fieldwork performance evaluation scores and future employment.


Tiffany L. Benaroya, OTD, OTR/L is the academic fieldwork coordinator and an assistant professor for the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Rutgers University. Her research interests are in fieldwork education, pedagogy, and mental health.

Deborah McKernan-Ace, OTD/OTR is currently the program director for the occupational therapy assistant program at Rutgers University. Deborah received her doctoral degree from St Catherine University. She has been instructing in occupational therapy assistant education for more than 30 years and has a particular interest in curriculum design.

Sandra Rogers, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA is the OTD program director at Rutgers. She advocates for services, presents, and publishes on topics related to at-risk youth, school-based practice, and criminal justice. She is interested in improving direct care services to increase the community participation of youth with developmental disabilities in national and international communities.

Meredith Cimmino, PT, DPT is a physical therapist and PhD candidate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Rutgers University Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions. She is also an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University. Her research interests include integrated healthcare.

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.